Experiential Shopping in the Metaverse. Amazon about to get REKT

Buying clothes on Amazon has never been enjoyable, with a user experience that has forever overlooked the unique demands of apparel shoppers. Amazon serves up the same half-assed (and generally static) visual representations of apparel, resulting in a shopping experience that is neither cohesive nor compelling for its customers. Not only is shopping on Amazon not fun – it is seldom comfortable. Reviews are not to be trusted: faking Amazon reviews has become a business unto itself, notwithstanding the frequent rigging of the “Verified Purchase” designation.

The Amazon’s of the world are due for a major shakeup, as interactive and immersive shopping experiences—where customers can wander into a virtual store with their digital avatar to try on the freshest fashions—begin to disrupt and displace the old world of online commerce.

Online fashion buyers have become increasingly sophisticated. They are delighted when their shopping experience is gamified, hyper-personalized, and inclusive. Buying clothes online is intimidating, but when prospective clothes buyers have the ability to share their shopping experience with friends and family in real time, a great deal of awkwardness is removed from the dynamics of commerce. Buyers want to establish a rich sense of camaraderie with their fellow shoppers, to say, “Hey! How does this look? Will my boyfriend dig this?” Shopping must become a collaborative effort, where friends window shop together and try on clothes over their virtual avatars with the help of augmented reality (AR). Clothing designers that set up point-of-sale applications, not wanting to miss out on the greatest branding bonanza of the last 20+ years, will move their primary shopping experiences into the metaverse.

Shopping in the Metaverse
Virtual Store Powered by Obsess

The uncomfortable and often embarrassing experiences associated with physical in-store fitting rooms will give way to virtual try-ons. AI assistants, designed with compassion and humor, will be available twenty-four-seven to guide prospective purchasers into what fits them best. These assistants will have been programmed to recognize what looks good on everyone—across all categories of ages, sizes, races, and other vital demographics. Instead of shoppers relying on imagination and instinct, they will be able to virtually interact with and audition any piece of clothing, getting a 360 degree view of their favorite garments in a 3D fitting room.  

Until now, premium clothing brands and fashion companies have limited their metaverse activity to pure branding plays, the most visible being the Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW), which was hosted on Decentraland in March of this year. More than 70 premium brands, artists, and designers—including Selfridges, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, and Philipp Plein revealed their products to the world on virtual social media, giving the Decentraland community a wondrous peek into the destiny of online commerce. Despite MVFW’s conspicuous lack of actual shopping or try-on capabilities, fashion fans were able to virtually engage with their favorite brands and designers in ways that strengthened their bonds and loyalty to the labels they loved.  

The metaverse will become the go-to platform for luxury and high-end fashion brands over the next two to three years. The world’s largest online retailers will turn to experiential commerce—bringing their shopping journey into the metaverse and implementing AR/VR shopping—if they are to thrive over the next decade. Major global brands have already begun to understand the value of shopping adventures that connect physical products with virtual experiences and digital ownership via NFTs. In our attention-based economy, sellers slow to adopt a metaverse strategy run the risk of losing permanent relevancy.  

Meanwhile, Amazon seems content to stand on the sidelines of metaverse shopping while it concurrently sits on one of the largest troves of consumer intelligence in the world. With their boundless data collection  on demographics and purchase history, one would think that the world’s leader in online shopping would be blazing the trail on VR/AR shopping experiences. However, Amazon chooses to cling to their humdrum shopping processes, with personalized recommendations powered by a cluster of “shopping basket” algorithms that have become outdated and ineffective.

Blockster is dumbfounded by Amazon’s inability to gain even marginal traction in what is now projected to be an $800 billion market opportunity. This is especially startling given that many brands Amazon represents (we see you Louie V) are embracing the metaverse and NFTs to develop holistic virtual shopping experiences.

Throw us a bone Amazon: give us Amazon Prime access NFTs; open a help desk in Decentraland. Show us you get it, or prepare to suffer a steep decline in revenue from clothing sales. You are about to get REKT.

William Laurent is Blockster’s Editor in Chief. Widely published throughout his career, Will is regularly featured in American Banker, Foundry, and Tech for Good to name a few. He’s advised over 30 Fortune 500 companies across North America and Asia on content strategy, data visualization, and digital/cultural transformation. He is an influential educator, writer, artist, crypto dad, and husband. His artwork and NFTs are sought-after collectibles. Connect with William on DeSo and LinkedIn.

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