In today’s consumerist culture, e-commerce and digital shopping experiences have become central for numerous societies across the globe. Factoring in the concept of the metaverse—which has gained considerable traction over the last year and is said to be the next evolutionary step of the internet—shopping as we know might potentially experience drastic changes in the future. This research paper aims to forecast these changes, trying to decipher the metaverse’s shopping trajectory through the following main research question: What shopping experiences could the metaverse offer by 2032? For that purpose, we approached various theoretical concepts, helping us understand the metaverse’s potential trajectory from a tecno-economic and customer experience perspective; through that, a conceptual model was built that considers how the metaverse might evolve as an innovation, what new affordances this innovation will allow for shopping, and how retailers will utilize these affordances to overhaul their corresponding customer experience. By approaching such theory, and deriving a thematically relevant set of questions from it, we then approached a select list of ten experts—interviewing them, and transcribing said interviews, for the purpose of extracting useful knowledge from their expertise. With that newfound knowledge, we were then able to uncover important themes surrounding shopping in the metaverse—identifying key stakeholders, trends, and uncertainties—and used that knowledge to create four distinct scenarios. In terms of trends, those that were deemed as central were the gamification of shopping, safety concerns regarding the metaverse, hybrid metaverse shopping, multi-metaverse shopping, and increased brand presence. Additionally, the key stakeholders that were identified were metaverse providers, brands, retailers, meta-creators, and consumers. Finally, these scenarios are based on two critical uncertainties—the maturity of metaverse technology and the degree of metaverse public acceptance—incorporating them with the aforementioned trends and stakeholders to achieve detailed and in-dept forecasts. While no single scenario offers a definite depiction of what shopping experiences might exist in the metaverse, by 2032, collectively they offer realistic approximations, allowing for a holistic appreciation of how this thought-provoking innovation might develop in the future when concerning shopping—ranging from the extremely positive, to the extremely negative, and everything in between.

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Matthijs Leendertse
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Dimitrios Fragkiskos Semsis. (2022, June 27). Shops and the Metaverse: What does the future hold?. Media & Business. Retrieved from