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Consumers may not understand the metaverse, but they would shop in it. A survey gauges consumer reaction to the technology reshaping retail.
By Jo Hamilton
Published: May 3, 2022
We’ve been exploring the way the metaverse, social commerce and digital retail are colliding as technology advances and e-commerce grows. Brands are constantly experimenting in this space. 
But are consumers ready for those experiments? A recent report by CommerceNext, in partnership with Bizrate and The Commerce Experience Collective (CommX), explored whether consumers are really engaging with the metaverse, social commerce and livestream shopping.
Here’s what the study found: 
The study found 48% of consumers have never heard of the metaverse and just 5% are familiar and keen to use it. The remaining 47% have a limited understanding.
Some 82% of respondents say they never use virtual gaming worlds such as Second Life, Roblox or Fortnite. Generation Z was the most avid demographic to play, with 26% saying they do so.
Still, 41% of all respondents said they’d like to be able to shop for real-life products in 3D or virtual worlds in the future, which makes the metaverse a promising future channel for retailers. 
Some 43% of online shoppers say they buy products promoted via social media and 19% purchase products featured on TikTok, Instagram or Talkshop Live. 
Gen Z shoppers are the most likely to buy products featured on TikTok, Instagram or Talkshop Live. 
About 54% of shoppers haven’t heard of livestream shopping, 32% recognize the term, 10% have watched livestream shopping and 4% have made purchases via the channel. 
Among those who do watch livestream shopping, the top reasons for doing so are to find out more about products or discover new ones, and uncover great deals.
The report reveals social commerce is a channel where shoppers are eager to engage with brands, but consumer adoption of the metaverse and livestream shopping is lagging behind the hype. 
However, this doesn’t mean marketers shouldn’t be preparing. 
“Get in early,” advises Raj De Datta, CEO at Bloomreach, which chairs The Commerce Experience Collective. “Initially it was thought that digital goods and services would make up the lion’s share of revenue in the metaverse. But what we’re actually seeing is a crossover from the digital world into the physical, with consumers spending real money on physical products.”
One of the most important things marketers can do now to prepare for increased consumer interest is to test different strategies, De Datta said.
“Whether we’re talking about traditional brick-and-mortar, e-comm or the metaverse, brands that focus on a personalized, tailored experience are the ones that will end up rising to the top,” De Datta said. 
He recommends testing ideas with your existing customer base. 
“You might consider a digital pop-up shop that caters to a specific existing customer who has already exhibited certain preferences in your e-commerce environment,” he noted. “This kind of cross-pollination is a highly strategic way to engage in a test.” 
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