Last Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Well, it’s official. Facebook’s gone Meta. Ever since Zuckerberg’s hour-long keynote speech where he introduced Meta, the term ‘metaverse’ has seen plenty of interest.

So what is the metaverse, exactly? Zuckerberg said that it’s, “The successor to the mobile internet. It’s an embodied internet where you aren’t just on it. You’re in it.”  

Okay. That’s his version of it. But what is it, exactly?

Just to be clear, the metaverse and the company Meta aren’t the same thing. The metaverse is an immersive digital world, where people can live and interact with each other through devices. Sounds like a tech company’s dream come true!

A complete metaverse, or the one that tech CEOs are foreseeing, doesn’t exist just yet, but its building blocks are already present, like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). 

Still, the concept of the metaverse is still very much abstract. One writer said that you could sub in the word “internet” for “metaverse” and the meaning wouldn’t change that much. For now, you can think of it as the next stage in the internet.

Nobody owns it, but the infrastructure needed will be built by tech companies. Meta, Nvidia, Epic Games, and Google have already invested billions into the metaverse. Shopify president Harley Finkelstein says that the metaverse can usher in the era of “retail everywhere.” It’s omnichannel selling taken to a whole new level.

Whether or not Zuckerberg gets to fulfill his version of metaverse utopia where he gets to harvest all of our data in exchange for virtual ping-pong games remains to be seen. Still, there are still some exciting things in store for ecommerce and other online businesses as it could potentially shift, or at least add to the customer experience that people have now.

So what does the metaverse mean for ecommerce? And what should you do right now to get your business ready? Let’s dive in and find out now.

Exploring the Metaverse

Reuters defines the term metaverse as, “…a shared virtual world environment which people can access via the internet. The term can refer to digital spaces which are made more lifelike by the use of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). Some people also use the word metaverse to describe gaming worlds, in which users have a character that can walk around and interact with other players.”

Zuckerberg says that the defining point of the metaverse is a “feeling of presence,” which screened devices can’t give 100%. Many folks are already comfortable sharing their lives on social media and sharing experiences through virtual events. The metaverse aims to make things like this feel as real as possible. 

This will be aided by Meta’s Oculus VR headsets. Users will have avatars of themselves in the metaverse that can share experiences with other people. Your avatar can attend a concert with your best friend’s avatar, and you can attend work meetings with your colleagues’ avatars. 

There are also hand-held motion sensors that can translate your physical world hand movements straight into the metaverse. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said, “We’ll be able to almost feel like we’re there with each other.” 

Is this thing as big as the tech companies are promising (hoping)? Maybe. But probably not. Google Glass seemed like a promising invention back in the day, but never really took off. I doubt there will be a version of the internet that replaces real-life 100%.

That might be a tech company’s ideal world, but it’s not exactly a dream for most of us. Of course, it’s still too soon to tell exactly what’s going to catch on, and what’s going to end up just being a bunch of hype. 

Still, some of these innovations are exciting and it’ll be fun to see where this goes, and there are a number of things that will continue to shift as tech continues to advance.

One area where the metaverse is making strong strides is gaming. Gamers seem to be the early adopters of the metaverse, with games like Fortnite, the Sims, and Second Life featuring virtual worlds where people create communities and hang out with each other. 

(One of Meta’s visions for the metaverse. Is it virtual ping-pong? Source: YouTube)

What Does This Mean for Ecommerce?

So onto ecommerce. There are a number of ways that immersive virtual experiences can shift shopping habits as well. 

Consumers seem to be on board with more immersive experiences, for the most part. Think With Google data shows that 66% of people are interested in using AR for shopping. In 2020, Shopify tweeted that products with AR content showed a 94% higher conversion rate than those that don’t use it. 

Aside from selling real-life products in a more immersive way, digital goods that exist only in the metaverse are also being sold. For example, luxury brand Gucci created digital collections for sale within video games like Tennis Clash and Drest.

“Mixed reality will be increasingly accessible to businesses and consumers, transforming our lives over the next few years,” said Keith Jordan, vice president of innovation at Mastercard’s Labs. “We will move through these hybrid worlds with different experiences in different dimensions in a paradigm shift enabled by a tsunami of tech changes over the next decade.” 

(Source: Shopify Twitter)

What Will Shopping Look Like in the Metaverse?

Savvy retailers have already been taking advantage of tech innovations to offer 3D shopping experiences to consumers. We’re seeing more virtual showrooms, virtual try-ons, and 360-degree views of products. 

Amazon has an AR app with a “View in Your Room” functionality, allowing users to see if a piece of furniture or home decor fits their space. For physical lifestyle items like furniture, clothes, and jewelry, VR/AR is a great way to offer a personalized, immersive experience. 

From a user’s perspective, it can remove many of the doubts and hesitations before purchasing. It might be the beginning of the end of buyer’s remorse, as consumers will know what to expect and will be more satisfied with the purchase. It’s also a big win for retailers if this can help solve the problem of returns. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), $428 billion worth of merchandise was returned in 2020.  

Here’s a look at Amazon’s AR showroom:

(Source: Amazon)

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has digital booths which feature either livestream shopping or AR displays:

(Source: Alibaba)

Business consultant Nick Pringle told Smart OSC, “In terms of AR, I think the big opportunity is in merging virtual and physical product experiences. Take sneakers, when I buy a physical sneaker it should unlock the virtual version and vice versa. The Roblox/Fortnite generation will look for brands that blend the real and unreal, and let them show that off to friends–repping your virtual style in the real world is a solid use case for AR.” 

Does looking through pages of grocery store products make your head spin? Walmart creates a virtual reality shopping experience that makes shopping from home feel more like a game and less like a chore:

(Source: YouTube)

Concerns About the Metaverse (And Meta)

It’s tricky to sell an idea that seems straight out of science fiction and even Zuckerberg himself admits that, “There’s a ton that we don’t know yet.” (Wait. Did he just brag about how humble he is?)

The concept of metaverse has its critics. In his Vice article, Zuckerberg Announces Fantasy World Where Facebook Is Not a Horrible Company, Jason Koebler writes that:

“He [Zuckerberg] is pitching products that don’t exist for a reality that does not exist in a desperate attempt to change the narrative as it exists in reality, where we all actually live.”


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After some of the scandals that have plagued Facebook in recent years, that statement resonates with many of us.

What we do know, though, is that the building blocks are already here and ecommerce entrepreneurs can take steps now to get used to the internet’s evolution. Whether Facebook will be able to live up to the hype though, remains to be seen.

At the end of the day, it depends a great deal on whether they’re hoping to accomplish something, and whether this is all hype. Or, as the cynical might say: an elaborate attempt to distract from the problems of the present. 

Still, even if Facebook doesn’t manage to step up to the plate, there are a number of immersive experiences, things that you could call part of the metaverse, that are slowly starting to become more mainstream. Here’s a look at a few things you might want to keep in mind as things become increasingly virtual.

How to Start Adapting to the Metaverse

Getting ready for the metaverse doesn’t mean you have to start selling digital goods or virtual products right away, but some changes in your strategy might be needed. Here are some tips on upgrading your ecommerce strategy:

Augmented Reality (AR)

Shopify stores can now have access to 3D/AR capabilities and shops using it are seeing great results. AR adopter Gunner Kennels saw a 3% increase in cart conversion rate, 40% increase in order conversion rate and a 5% reduction in return rates. To start, you would need 3D models of your products. You can do this with paid apps like Tinkercad, Fusion 360, Blender, or with free apps like Sketchfab or

Here’s what Gunner Kennels’ product page looks like:

(Source: Gunner)

For apparel retailers, Wanna is a virtual try-on AR solution. Some of their clients include Gucci, Adidas, and Puma:

(Source: Wanna)

Content Development and User Experience

Your digital space in a 3D world will be different from your normal website. Visual assets and auditory experiences will be crucial in the metaverse. Invest in high-quality graphics, images, and videos. Consider working with people who do this professionally so you can focus on the tasks you do best.

Before going out and spending on the latest tech and web engineers to build your 3D shop, keep in mind that not everyone will have the latest smartphone or lightning-fast internet connection. On a normal website, a delay of a few seconds isn’t a big deal but a lag on an AR/VR setting can ruin the experience. Make sure to consider your target age group, too. 

Here is Shopify data on which age groups use AR the most:

(Source: Shopify)


The rise of video gaming has turned it into another great platform not just for advertising, but also for selling. Luxury brands are already taking advantage of gamification to reach audiences by launching branded games or collaborating with gaming sites. Burberry launched Ratberry, and there’s also Gucci Arcade. Louis Vuitton has released physical and virtual products on League of Legends and Puma is collaborating with interactive fashion game Drest.

(Source: Charged Retail)


Personalized customer experiences drive sales by giving customers the right recommendations and offers at the right time. It also improves the buying journey and increases brand loyalty

Mastercard’s Global Marketer Elisabeth Riedl says, “We expect to see new forms of e-commerce emerge. Brands will offer their customers hyper-personalized experiences without worrying about the physical world’s many barriers.

Individuals can choose how they want to experience the world, the games they wish to attend, the stores they want to shop in, anywhere and anytime. With these reality innovations, we are moving from simply telling stories to actually living inside them. 

Get creative with AR and VR to create experiences and offers that improve the buyer’s journey. Nike, an early adopter of the metaverse, offers personalized virtual experiences through their game Nikeland on Roblox. Users can join the Nike community, participate in games, and customize their own space. Nike also lets customers experience a crossover of their virtual and real-world experiences through their House of Innovation stores.

(Source: Hypebeast)

Warby Parker also uses technology to hyper personalize the customer journey, using AR and facial recognition to offer the best fitting frames to consumers:

(Source: Immersive Technology)

Community-First Approach

The growth of social media has given back a lot of power to consumers. Positive social proof or viral videos can drive sales and trust, while a string of bad reviews and customer complaints can spell doom for a company. Customer-centeredness and strong community engagement will increasingly be important for a brand’s success. 

Serial entrepreneur Alex Ikonn grew his online shop into a 7-figure ecommerce business thanks to the power of community. He told Virgin Start Up, “We have built a successful ecommerce business entirely because of our social media community across social media channels like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Our biggest channel and contribution to our business is YouTube with over 2,000,000 subscribers all around the world and over 220,000,000 views to date.”

The power of communities will continue to cross over to the metaverse, so create content and activities that always put your customers and communities first. Continue investing in influencer partnerships, create educational content, hold virtual events, run challenges and contests. 

The Next Steps:

Just because something’s new, doesn’t mean that it’s better. So be careful spending resources on something just because it’s different. And with trends shifting so quickly in recent months, there’s a good chance that it’ll be gone just as soon too. 

So names are changing, VR’s getting hyped up, and there’s a lot of trends that will likely be flooding the ecommerce space soon. My suggestion? Don’t rip up your current marketing strategy just yet, but do try to keep up-to-date on some of these new fads. There’s a lot of noise out there, but every so often, you’ll hear about something that’ll just make sense for your business. Those are the trends that you want to pay closer attention to. 

If you’d like to discover how you can scale your company, then reach out today for your no-cost, 20-minute consultation. Let’s find strategies that you can start implementing that will help you to take your business to the next level. 

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