Virtual Goods in a Virtual World



Avatars


Time to get your avatar and go do some shopping! Wait, what? Can I have an avatar to play Pretty Woman on Rodeo Drive? I am running, see you in a bit…


Today you can get different types of avatars. Some can be very realistic, taken from a picture or AI-generated, others less, leaving more creativity to whoever you want to be or pretend to be. You create it from scratch picking its different attributes. Whatever you choose, the avatar is your pseudo in the digital world, aka the Metaverse.


You can bring your avatar outside of games and use them to chat, attend virtual events, collaborate, or even travel. Their environment is no longer a game but merges with the physical world.



Virtual Goods


These avatars are pluri-functional and you can go everywhere with them, even go shopping.


One can argue that we could already buy accessories for them in many video games. What is the difference between buying goods in Minecraft or armory in Assassin Creed and buying goods in the Metaverse? In those cases, you bought goods for your avatar but now you can buy those virtual goods for both your avatar and yourself. Wearing a virtual dress is no longer a futuristic concept that exists only in movies. I want to wear this gorgeous Chanel top at a virtual event, let it be!


These virtual products are called NFT, using blockchain technology, making them unique and impossible to reproduce. They are made available on specialized marketplaces, where you can buy unique digital designer clothes or fashion clothes. The products are created in a digital format only, as an NFT, and can be used in ‘’real-life’’ or ported into a metaverse world.


The trading currency for digital products is however different. I do not pay using my dollars or using the game currency but I pay with Cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are becoming a real trading currency and are the currency to buy NFTs. NFTs are mainly tradeable with Ethereum. Some other cryptocurrencies can be accepted but Ethereum represents over 80% of the NFTs trading capacity.



This is how you can maybe afford a very unique digital Gucci dress that you would have never been able to afford in the physical world. For example, $12 for digital Gucci Sneakers vs. $1,300 physical ones…not really the same budget (not really the same product either yet). In the real world, most second-hand products lose value, while as an NFT, they gain value as they get resold and resold.



V-Commerce


As virtual goods are becoming more popular, V-commerce will become more mainstream. Retail is evolving and is about to enter a new era: the web 3.0 with V-commerce.


V-commerce presents different shopping variations:
  • Buy virtual goods for the real world,

  • Buy virtual goods for virtual worlds,

  • Buy virtually physical products.

While AR and VR support the latest, NFTs support the first ones.


Why is V-commerce a new revolution for retail?
  1. The technologies that support V-commerce are different. Building virtual goods is done using Unity (it is the main platform but there are others) and not a dotnet SaaS platform. Payments gateways and currencies are moving to cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

  2. The user experience is very different when you start incorporating 3D elements. Browsing in V-commerce is different than in e-commerce as an example; adding to a cart is not done the same way; you do not click on products but you use motion.

  3. The data is greater. Measuring clicks, cart abandonment, and conversion are no longer enough. With V-commerce, we will need to measure view, touch, and when purchased, how often the product is used or for how long it is owned. What would inventory management and fulfillment mean? Would it even exist anymore?

  4. Marketing will not use skyscrapers ads but might use virtual billboards, announcements, and influencers.



Virtual Influencers


Influencers are going to be even more important for virtual goods. Google estimates that 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would follow influencers’ recommendations. The market share of micro-influencers continues to grow. One billion individuals self-identify as content creators. As we move more to virtual goods, the phenomenon will continue to grow.


Three major trends will exist:
  • Influencers will start experimenting with NFTs by minting their content. I believe that influencers like Holy Nichols, for example, do have content perfect for minting.

  • Companies will start collaborating with influencers to produce NFT collections. Adidas already leveraged Karlie Kloss to create a unique digital product.

  • Purely virtual influencers, some of which today already have up to 5M followers, will be taking on social media. They are avatars, posting about their virtual lives, setting trends, and advertising products.



As people work from home, international borders are getting closer, technology expands, while interactions are more than ever demanded, virtuality is slowly entering our current reality, redefining what being, communicating and shopping mean.