Retail in the Metaverse: Are shoppers ready? 

Retail in the Metaverse: Are shoppers ready? 

We can’t go a day without seeing a reference to the Metaverse lately. It’s exploding beyond traditional boundaries; even the apparel industry debuted a first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week this past March. Closer to home, retailers across industries exchanged thoughts on virtual commerce at the 2022 Shoptalk event, envisioning how they might bridge the physical and digital experiences all wrapped within the metaverse. 

In the retail industry, it’s not a question of if or when retailers and brands will capitalize and commercialize themselves in the great unknown, but how. Will there be shoppers in the metaverse who want to buy?    

Two years ago, InContext fielded initial research exploring the potential for v-commerce – a metaverse shopping experience. We focused on a meal occasion by creating a Breakfast Store (a cultivated virtual store that incorporated multiple categories and brands, featuring items shoppers might expect for breakfast), then had test shoppers react to the virtual online shopping experience. The results were clear: 

  • The majority of shoppers loved the virtual shopping experience and believed that having the option to shop virtually would increase their purchase behavior, make shopping easier, and possibly drive loyalty to retailers.
  • More than half of shoppers said they would shop in a virtual store if given the chance when shopping online. 
  • The virtual store experience could be thematic, something different from what exists in real life. Shoppers embraced the limited, but focused, assortment.  

This metaverse experience didn’t require a headset. It didn’t require gaming expertise. These were average primary grocery shoppers, shopping off their laptops. What it showed us in 2020 is that consumers were ready for metaverse shopping—so we wanted to check in again to see how things have evolved in 2022, and what we can expect in the future. The results from our latest study are even more eye-opening.

 We’ll be sharing what we learned over the coming weeks, but here are a few quick tidbits to get you started: 

  • 81% of shoppers like the set and 85% believed it was easy to shop. More importantly, more than 2 out of 3 shoppers felt shopping virtually was fun.  
  • 70% of shoppers say they prefer the virtual shopping experience or would shop the v-commerce and current e-commerce experience equally.   
  • Several consumer categories show promise for v-commerce. Over half of shoppers said they’d use v-commerce for household supplies, shelf stable groceries, personal care, non-alcoholic beverages, and OTC health products. 

This is just a sneak peak of our preliminary findings. More to come in the following weeks about who the v-commerce shopper is, what they want out of the v-commerce experience, and what that means for brands and retailers who are ready to take the plunge into the metaverse of 3D online shopping. Sign up for our newsletter below, so you don’t miss any updates! 

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