Imagine the metaverse became a reality: the lines of the digital and the physical are completely blurred with virtual objects superimposed onto our real-world. How would you picture a Metaverse Mall of the 2030s in a real-world scenario?
Key insights from this (sci-fi short) story
- A metaverse mall is not necessarily an online 3D shopping center
- Such a Meta Mall is primarily a physical, social “Smart Space”
- A blend of digital personal companions and physical public sensors
In a world where the lines between the digital and the physical are blurred, shopping malls will most likely be a chaotic blend of the two.
As you walk through the doors of the mall, you are greeted by a cacophony of sights and sounds. The floors are crowded with people moving in every direction, some of them walking while others glide through the air on floating platforms. In the center of the mall, a giant holographic screen displays advertisements and promotions for the latest products and services.
The stores in the mall are a mix of physical storefronts and virtual reality experiences. Some of them are traditional brick-and-mortar shops, with shelves stocked with products and employees ready to help customers. Others are entirely virtual, with customers donning VR headsets to enter a digital world where they can browse and purchase products.
There are also interactive displays scattered throughout the mall, allowing customers to virtually try on clothes, test out makeup, or even take a virtual vacation. And for those who want a break from the hustle and bustle of the mall, there are peaceful virtual gardens and parks where they can relax and unwind.
As you make your way through the mall, you are constantly bombarded by notifications and advertisements. Your virtual assistant offers personalized recommendations based on your browsing history and preferences, while augmented reality posters and signs offer deals and promotions that are hard to resist.
So, Metaverse Malls are likely a blend of the digital and the physical, offering endless possibilities for shopping, entertainment, and exploration.
Is a Meta Mall the Future of Retail?
Well, I am no fan of supermalls for starters, but also not of statically sitting somewhere with a head-mounted device on, isolated from my direct surroundings.
When you ask somebody today in almost 2023 how a mall in the metaverse will look like, most will answer it’s an online 3D shopping center such as MetaVRse. Although I highly respect the people and technologies of these kinds of virtual worlds, I strongly believe the biggest paradigm shift will arise when those almost magical technological advancements come to life in our physical realm.
In conclusion: no, a Meta Mall in the strict sense of an online 3D virtual shopping center will not be the future of retail. Even today you see traditional brick-and-mortar shops doing more and more commerce on the web and the click-and-mortar (web)shops opening colocated or even their own physical stores.
The Future of Retail will be those companies or partnerships that get the best out of both worlds: a life online and live offline. In other words: