Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to speak to you today about the metaverse, an emerging technology that is set to transform the world of ecommerce as we know it. For those of you who are new to this concept, the metaverse is a virtual world where users can interact with each other and with digital objects and environments, blurring the line between the physical and digital worlds.
As a leading expert in the virtual reality space, I can confidently say that the metaverse represents a unique and exciting opportunity for businesses to create immersive, interactive, and engaging experiences for their customers. My team and I have been working in this space for over 20 years and have developed a deep understanding of the technology and its potential to drive growth and innovation in the ecommerce industry.
Through our work with major clients such as the banks, McKinsey and Company, Glencore, and AGCO, we have seen first-hand the power of the metaverse to drive engagement, build loyalty, and increase sales. We have helped our clients create virtual storefronts, develop virtual events and experiences, and leverage cutting-edge technologies such as AI, AR, and VR to create truly unforgettable customer experiences.
The metaverse is a virtual world that is constantly evolving and expanding, where users can interact with each other and with digital objects and environments. It’s a collective space that blurs the line between the physical and digital worlds.
I want to take a moment to share with you a powerful example of the potential of the metaverse to transform our understanding of reality. Recently, we had the pleasure of hosting Derrik Watts, a well-known personality, at our offices to experience a virtual reality metaverse experience.
Despite his reputation as a tough guy, within less than a minute of entering the virtual world, Derrik was completely immersed and believed that what he saw was real. This experience is a testament to the power of the metaverse to create immersive, interactive, and lifelike experiences that blur the line between the physical and digital worlds.
But this is just the beginning. As we look ahead to the next 5, 10, 20, or even 100 years, the potential of the metaverse is truly staggering. With advancements in virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies, the metaverse is poised to become more real than ever before, to the point where people may prefer living in a virtual world over the real world.
The implications of this are profound, and will require us to rethink many of the assumptions that we have about what it means to be human, to live, and to connect with others. But with the right approach, the metaverse can be a transformative force for good, enabling us to explore new worlds, connect with others in unprecedented ways, and unlock new levels of creativity and innovation.
In the context of ecommerce, the metaverse presents an opportunity to create new shopping experiences and enhance the way people buy and sell products. In a virtual world, you can interact with virtual products as if it is present in your space, you can move around it, pick it up and interact with it, like any real-world product.
With the growing popularity of virtual marketplaces, online retailers can create a virtual storefront in the metaverse.
Let me show you how real a virtual shop looks like, similar to the Derik experience earlier, when people are in this space, they believe what they see is real. I purposely want to showcase our work to show that in South Africa we have the expertise necessary to take South African Businesses online into the metaverse locally and internationally.
Thus, allowing customers to browse and purchase products in a more immersive and interactive way without the actual store even being physically in the same country as the client.
For example, customers can enter a virtual store and interact with products in a 3D space, try on virtual clothes or accessories, and even customize products to their liking. The opportunity is 3 Folded, in the Metaverse you can sell real world products, as well as virtual products, for example people use avatars in the metaverse, these avatars need accessories like Jeep T-Shirts, Louis Viton handbags or veldskoen vellies.
We created a 3D Scanner, that allows us to scan real people and convert them into avatars. These avatars can be used in advertising and augmented reality, where clients can place the object or person into their physical environment to get a closer look at the product. This technology works on a website, on a smartphone, on a desktop computer and virtual reality goggles, so you can cater for both non metaverse users and present and future metaverse clients.
Selling homes in virtual reality is easier than ever, especially for someone that gets transferred from Johannesburg to Cape Town, or even someone immigrating to New Zealand. With Virtual Tours it is easy to see what a space looks like even if you can’t be physically present.
It is also a great tool for people that wants to sell something that currently doesn’t exists. In architecture you can create the environment digitally before it is created physically, saving time on design errors, showcasing the project to potential buyers or investors.
Another great example is selling products that cannot be moved easily. Like the experience we created for a 3D Road scanning company. They have these large trucks with advanced technologies that goes onto roads and 3D scan these roads. Instead of flying people in to show them the trucks in real life, they use metaverse technologies to showcase these trucks to potential clients, in the comfort of their own offices as if they are standing Infront of these trucks! – It saves on airline tickets, accommodation, time and decommissioning the working trucks to be showcased in real life, saving the company lots of money.
It’s difficult to predict an exact timeline for when the metaverse will become mainstream, as it depends on a variety of factors such as technological advancements, user adoption, and cultural acceptance.
However, there are already signs that the metaverse is gaining momentum and moving towards mainstream acceptance. For example, many large tech companies are investing in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies that could help bring the metaverse to life, and we are seeing more and more virtual experiences and social platforms emerge.
Current statistics show that there is at least 60 million high-end virtual reality headsets out there. This means the market is already bigger than the South African population put together. Which for us in South Africa is potentially a bigger market than South Africa itself.
This market is only going to GROW, and we can decide if we are going to be consumers or owners of this technologies, businesses and online ecommerce empires!
as more people become accustomed to living, working, and socializing online, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there is a demand for richer and more immersive online experiences. The pandemic has also accelerated the shift to digital experiences, making it more likely that people will continue to explore and adopt virtual worlds and metaverse-like environments.
How can Retailers Enter the Metaverse
Retailers can enter the metaverse by creating a virtual storefront or virtual experience within existing virtual worlds or by creating their own virtual worlds.
To get started, retailers can identify the virtual platforms that are most relevant to their target audience and brand, and explore how they can establish a presence on these platforms. For example, some virtual platforms that could be suitable for ecommerce include Second Life, VRChat, Decentraland, and Roblox.
Once a virtual platform has been chosen, the retailer can start creating their virtual storefront or virtual experience. This can involve designing a 3D store or environment, creating avatars or digital representations of their products, and integrating virtual payment systems.
It’s important for retailers to ensure that their virtual storefront or experience is engaging and immersive, and that it aligns with their brand and messaging. This can involve offering virtual experiences, such as events or product demonstrations, that go beyond just selling products.
Just like with physical stores, retailers need to approach the metaverse as a serious business opportunity and invest the time and resources required to create a compelling and successful presence.
this involves identifying a suitable virtual platform, creating a virtual storefront or experience, branding the store, and selecting the right products to sell. Additionally, retailers should leverage emerging technologies such as AI, AR, and VR to enhance the user experience and improve their ability to sell products within the metaverse.
It’s also important to note that retailers need to constantly experiment and iterate their approach to the metaverse, just as they would with a physical store. This can involve testing new features and technologies, experimenting with different marketing tactics, and continuously gathering feedback from users to improve the experience and stay ahead of the competition.
Overall, the metaverse presents a unique and exciting opportunity for retailers, but it requires a strategic and proactive approach to be successful. By treating the metaverse like a real-world business opportunity and leveraging the latest technologies, retailers can create an engaging and immersive experience that drives sales and builds customer loyalty.
For any business looking to enter the metaverse, I would encourage you to get in touch with me and my team. We can provide you with the guidance, expertise, and support you need to create a successful metaverse strategy that maximizes your return on investment and delivers real business results. The future of ecommerce is here, and the metaverse is the key to unlocking its full potential.
You can find us at virtual-reality.co.za or geraldferreira.com