Social Commerce in the Metaverse: What Brand Owners Need to Know
It’s digital. It’s physical. And it’s personal. The metaverse is about to change the way we sleep, eat, and breathe the Internet into a totally customised shopping experience. From the digital, 2D technology of yesteryear, we’re stepping into a brave new frontier that is going to take social commerce to the next level.
What is Social Commerce?
Social Commerce is its own entity but it supports ecommerce brands.
If you’re a brand owner on Shopify or another ecommerce space, you’re likely already tapping into social commerce––a shopping experience that gives consumers full and easy access to see, click, and buy anything in record time.
(If you’re not yet tapping into it, we’re ecommerce website specialists and can help you get started––contact us here).
Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are the three main players in social commerce. They allow brand owners to sell products directly on social media. See a sweet leather jacket on Insta? Get the specs, read the reviews, and buy it directly in the app in a matter of minutes.
Bear in mind––social commerce isn’t social media marketing. It doesn’t lead buyers from Facebook to your Shopify site. In-app purchases happen directly on your social media platform. It’s also not social selling, which is about relationship building through social media. Social commerce is a living, breathing thing unto itself.
According to Facebook, even before the pandemic, 81% of shoppers were using social media to discover brands and research products. It just makes good business sense to give them the option to buy directly in the app. After all, you wouldn’t advertise your product in one building and sell it in another.
Not Taking Advantage of Social Commerce?
You should be. Especially with the metaverse luring us into VR and AR spaces that give buyers the opportunity to grab and test out what they want, without issue.
If you aren’t selling your products on your social media pages, you’re missing out on a slice of the projected 45.74 billion USD from social commerce sales (source).
The first step is getting into the social commerce sphere. The second, arguably major step, is learning how to leverage VR technology for a strong presence in the metaverse.
That leather jacket you saw on Insta? Soon buyers are going to want to try it on in different colours and sizes, to customise features, and more, before they buy it.
This is the direction we’re headed in the ecommerce / social commerce world. There is a growing demand for this kind of shopping experience, so learning to leverage VR technology to grow your brand and give you a highly competitive edge is critical.
Grow Your Digital Brand in the Metaverse
Meta (Formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg describes the metaverse as “a virtual reality construct intended to supplant the internet, merge virtual life with real-life and create endless new playgrounds for everyone.”
In short, now is the “meta-moment” to get your brand to the next level.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) explains that the metaverse “includes any digital experience on the internet that is persistent, immersive, three-dimensional (3D), and virtual, as in, not happening in the physical world.” Experiences in the metaverse offer consumers opportunities to play, work, connect, or buy real or virtual products.
Borne from the gaming and entertainment industries, major companies are pioneering the movement. Gaming platforms that have been on the scene a while have provided a platform for users to play and socialize in a virtual setting. But it’s become even more sophisticated with game creation systems like Roblox, through which users create immersive worlds then play in and even monetize them.
Another example is Decentraland, a 3D virtual world browser-based platform, powered by the Ethereum blockchain. It’s owned by its users who create virtual NFT-inspired entertainment spaces that they charge people to use. Companies like MetaVRse and Unity are accelerating brand and gaming studios and AR and VR content creation.
How does this affect commercial brands? According to HBR, social commerce is starting to take the lead in ecommerce, with a projected $36 billion in 2021 in the US market (source). From connecting on social media to entering an immersive space, consumers can buy physical goods in a virtual world, as well as virtual goods, such as NFTs.
Like any business development strategy, experimentation is key:
Meet your audience where they’re at.
How can you appeal to a younger generation––the demographic spending more time in the metaverse than any other age group? Studying their behaviour will help you ascertain how quickly you need to get your brand up to speed in the meta-reality.
Look for opportunities to enact ESGs.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria set standards for business operations. Investors use ESGs to assess a company’s sustainability efforts for potential investments. How can your brand test out new strategies in the metaverse towards its long-term sustainability goals?
Choose the right time.
You don’t want to throw your brand in without having a clear idea of how you’re going to present it. Brand exposure should be carefully and precisely planned before you make an entrance into the metaverse to avoid the pitfalls of poorly-timed business moves. Check in with holding companies, which study mass media behaviour and trends to assess the right time to make your entrance.
Know the Risks…
As you know, there’s no success in business without a good dose of risk-taking. Exposing your brand to the metaverse is no different. Do your due diligence, but understand that it's risky business. There are a ton of projections and few certainties. Listen to the experts. Listen to contrary opinions. Weigh everything, but ultimately you’ll have to take the dive, probably sooner than feels comfortable.
The metaverse has the potential to be the (your) money making machine of a lifetime. If you want expert guidance on brand exposure in the metaverse, we’re ecommerce website specialists and we’re just a phone call away. We’re also here to help you launch a social commerce strategy. Contact us for a free strategy session.
February 21, 2022