Meta-Retail: We're Going Shopping!


The year is 2040, and cognitive cities have redefined urban life in the last decade. But that’s not all. People fell in love with the metaverse and its versatility and, once perfected, welcomed it into their homes and lives. The metaverse promises to enhance the futuristic utopia from virtual medical appointments to virtual World Cups. And the telecom giants are kings of the virtual world. Here’s a snippet of one of the most polarizing activities: Shopping!

Clothes for You and the Mini-You

The metaverse complements real life; it doesn’t replace it. As a result, the new and exciting virtual world enhances the most mundane aspects of our lives as well as our favorite parts of it. Most of us find joy in owning and often wearing pretty things, be it online or in real life (IRL). There would likely be two types of department stores: one for you and one for the mini-you (your avatar).

The extended reality (XR) device would scan your exact IRL measures, and whatever clothes you choose to preview are shown with an approximation of how they might look on you. They would then be tailored to your exact measurements to ensure the best fit possible. Goodbye, short-pants-on-tall-people! Hello, fits-me-like-a-glove!

As for the mini-you, we can expect cartoon physics all the way. I’m talking virtual world cartoon physics circa the early 2010s, like a melted ice cream cone hat, floating stars around your head, working fairy wings, etc. If you are skeptical of the future, look at the present video game skin market. It has recently reached the status of a 50-billion-dollar industry! Can you imagine how whimsical the avatar clothing lines are going to be? Being able to defy gravity or faithfully replicate vintage designer pieces like pieces from Alexander McQueen’s La Poupée (Spring/Summer 1997) sounds mind-blowing to me. With that in mind, can you imagine the retail price?

And telcos could be the instigators of this digital fashion evolution by adopting blockchain technology to secure transactions in the metaverse because those highly creative items would retail for a ridiculously high price. Telecom companies worldwide would secure their places as pillars of the Meta-retail.

Made for You

Clothing is not the only thing made specifically for you in the Meta-retail: Ads are tailored to your distinctive taste, down to the hair ties you prefer. The XR devices in the metaverse have sensors that pick up your eye movements, facial expressions, and body language. As a result, it can determine your reactions to certain things you encounter. For example, it would detect the look of disgust on your face when you see that obnoxious color you absolutely cannot stand and, from then on, no longer show it as an option for any item. Or it could register the dilation of your pupils looking at a gravity-defying Comme des Garçons piece. Heck! The ads will call you by name! I’d imagine the newer versions of the technology would have cilia-like parts under the fingers to translate the feel of fabrics as if they were real. One fabric I can’t wear without questioning my life choices is polyester. No more polyester recommendations!

Where does telecom come in? Data storage and collection. Being in the metaverse would generate data like pollen: by the billions. They have to be stored somewhere, right? Where would you store a virtually infinite number of data other than the cloud? And who better to operate and maintain it other than telcos? Multiple servers scattered across the globe would collect, store, and appropriately utilize the endless data to customize everything for you. The virtual world would efficiently revolve around you, as far as you are concerned!

Your Request; The Manufacturer’s Command

Prêt-à-porter aside, you can easily furnish your house or build your own PC according to your niche specifications through Meta-retail. Oh! Do you want a floor lamp that fits in that weirdly shaped corner in your living room because you can’t find anything you like? Look no more. Scan the area with a standard item for scale, upload the data to the meta-retail, visit “Meta-IKEA,” and have fun with the build. Do you want a statement piece for your Meta-home? You can get physics-defying “glass” pieces for your foyer. Maybe a floating Tinkerbelle-lookalike?

Such details would rely heavily on the connection provided by telco giants. The connection must be fast and reliable to avoid lag and transposition errors. Not to mention, such experiences would require better quality and, by extension, more expensive XR equipment. Telcos would be uniquely positioned to offer discounts and offers for their subscribers.

Closing Thoughts 

Just like our real world relies on resources, the metaverse would essentially rely on the telecom industry. As a result, telecom giants will hold the keys to the kingdom. Meta-retail is a profitable venture for companies and independent vendors. There are so many ventures to dive into when it comes to retail, be it for your IRL or virtual self. Treat Yourself! You Deserve it!

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