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The Disruption of Fashion and the Metaverse

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  • Post last modified:27/10/2023
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From fashion e-commerce to fashion meta-commerce

The fashion world is fast being disrupted and transformed by the growing influence of the metaverse. We have entered the beginning of a online shopping craze era. While the pandemic aided the widespread and fast adoption of e-commerce, rapid developments in new-age digital technologies like augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are seeing shoppers embrace the concept of fashion meta-commerce. Recent forecasts by Morgan Stanley peg the virtual fashion market to be worth over $55 billion by 2030.

How the Metaverse is transforming how we shop for clothes online

The universe of fashion meta-commerce has an advantage over the world of fashion e-commerce as it solves shoppers’ long-standing challenge of touching, feeling, and trying on clothes before making the final purchase. Despite the advantage of buying from the comfort of one’s home, e-commerce falls short of providing this touch-and-feel experience to buyers.

Unlike the world of fashion e-commerce, fashion in the metaverse promises immersive, 3D, and interconnected virtual environments that are far more engaging and experiential than the present-day experience of online shopping in the e-commerce world. 

With further advancements in AR, VR, and artificial intelligence (AI) fashion meta-commerce is going to redefine the shopping experience of buyers purchasing clothes and accessories online. 

Pritzy Ecommere cyber-monday - credits: karolina grabowska
Credits: Karolina Grabowska

More and more consumers are experimenting and exploring VR. Globally, almost one-third of consumers surveyed have used VR in the past six months. VR was most popular in China, India and Qatar, according to data from PwC’s latest Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey. 

Further findings of the survey show that 32% of VR users have purchased products as a result of testing them or browsing in stores via VR and 19% have used VR to purchase luxury goods. The recent statistics prove fashion meta-commerce is fast becoming popular with buyers and going to redefine the shopper experience.

Greater market accessibility and reach

Fashion meta-commerce paves the way for buyers to shop beyond space and time. Shoppers sitting in any corner of the world can access brands and products across fashion categories at the click of a button. Putting on a virtual headset, shoppers can walk through virtual stores, and try on clothes online through a 3D fitting room to get a 360-degree view of what selected outfits will look like.

Pritzy e-commerce online shopping - credits: rdne-stock-project
Credits: RDNE

Immersive shopping experiences through virtual reality

With direct-to-consumer sales, shoppers will have quick access to actual products in a real (virtual) setting.  The good and exciting part is that VR in shopping will make shoppers’ buying journey will become more immersive. VR technology will allow brands to engage consumers with a simulated environment through head-mounted gears. 

Buyers, particularly generation Z (Gen Z) and millennials are increasingly adopting VR for shopping. McKinsey & Company estimates annual global spending by consumers and businesses related to the metaverse could reach $5 trillion by 2030. Going forward, shoppers in the metaverse will have a real-life experience exploring virtual stores and browsing through a wide range of products.

Fun and ease of buying virtual clothing 

Fashion meta-commerce is giving rise to a new buying category of virtual clothing. With people especially Gen Z spending more and more time online, they will have the option and the luxury of exploring and investing in virtual clothing.

As in real life, in the virtual world too, buyers will don different avatars and looks by donning virtual clothing. Consumers will invest in virtual clothing as they would want their online avatars to be their best versions carrying versatile looks. Virtual clothing too will define individual fashion tastes. 

Experiment with fashion

Unlike physical stores which have a select collection and size options owing to limited retail space, fashion in the metaverse will offer buyers an opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of clothing online. They will have more options to experience more designs, styles, and cuts in myriad fabrics unlike in the real world where brands offer limited collections. 

With no wastage of fabric and other resources in fashion meta-commerce, consumers will have the luxury to ask brands to create real-life exclusive pieces and ask them to create Metaverse-only versions of their iconic in-house designs. 

From below of anonymous girl standing with hands raised while experiencing virtual reality in studio
Credits: Vanessa Loring

Getting the size and fit right

Unlike in the physical and fashion e-commerce world, shoppers in the fashion meta-commerce have the option of donning different avatars – 3D representations of themselves that is an imaginary or identical avatars of one’s real self. Buyers can crossover with these avatars into virtual dressing rooms and try on different items of clothing from a brand’s offering. 

Black and White Box Beside White Metal Rack
Credits: Nataliya Vaitkevich

With the help of mixed reality (MR) a technology that combines elements of both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) shoppers can combine the imagery of themselves to try on clothing in different shapes and sizes. This saves them the pain of going in for a limited or only the available product size that may not be the best fit for them.

Shoppers in the Metaverse have the advantage of receiving accurate size recommendations thanks to MR. They can enjoy the shopping experience by mixing and matching dresses in different sizes.

Higher personalisation 

The rise of fashion meta-commerce will delight buyers as it will allow them to access fashion as an individual rather than embracing it as part of the masses. This is possible in the metaverse because here brands have the resources and digital tools to create “custom’ fashion apparel that can be personalised for each individual or the virtual avatars of buyers. 

This ability for personalisation will add value to the shopper experience as buyers increasingly look for one-of-a-kind garments. Fashion is one category where every individual wants to stand out in the crowd by sporting a unique style

AI technology in the metaverse allows brands to take personalisation to the next level by tracking a customer’s activity, purchase history, taste, and demographic profile. Brands and sellers can leverage this vast pool of data to make it unique, and tailor-made for shoppers. 

Shoppers in the metaverse can further enjoy personalisation with AI store assistants assessing buyer preferences and basis that offer shoppers personalised style advice based on buyers’ past purchase history.

Woman Sitting in Chair and Using VR Headset
Credits: SHVETS production

Inclusive and comprehensive shopping experiences

With metaverse supporting virtual avatars the entire shopping experience will become more inclusive. The adoption of virtual avatars will facilitate shopping experiences with family and friends. It will be an experience that can be had in large groups as is the case in the real world with AI sales assistants leading the buyer group through the virtual store, offering product recommendations and sales assistance

Driven by digital technologies fashion meta-commerce offers buyers a unified and consistent shopping experience enabling buyers to move between different virtual worlds. 

Final Thoughts

The world of metaverse offers fashionistas a greater sense of convenience and engagement by eliminating the barrier between real physical shopping and online buying. Fashion meta-commerce will take the engagement level of shoppers to another level altogether, promising a better customer satisfaction with a 360-degree product experience for buyers in the purchase phase. The overall shopping experience in the metaverse will be real-time, more comprehensive, and engaging. 

In the future, digital technologies coupled with AI algorithms that are getting more creative, fashion meta-commerce will see brands and designers offer shoppers new digital outfits. Buyers in fashion meta-commerce will in the coming years get to experience completely new and exciting fashion experiences.

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