Metaverse shopping: expectations vs reality

Metaverse
The Metaverse might be a thing of the future, but new ideas about speed and sustainability are already here.

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A recent article published by InternetRetailing tries to imagine how eCommerce will evolve if the Metaverse rises up to its promise. 

The author, Oliver Turner, evokes a future in which our digital ID will constantly shift between recording what we do in real life and how experiences, information, and offers from the Metaverse might enhance and satisfy our consumerist cravings. 

More interestingly, he describes a new commerce in which, when we search for something, every item will become a marketplace, with brands competing for better pricing, more immersive presentations, and convenient delivery. 

When referring to last-mile delivery the author describes: “….an auction for retailers to bid and compete for completing the consumer’s delivery. Predictive AI and fluidity between warehouses guarantee the product is already nearby, enabling instant delivery systems to function”.

Thinking about what’s next, usually comes with the idea of speed: fictional spaceships jumping from one planet to the other, drones flying to your window with a hot Starbucks coffee, and Hyperloop trains going at 700mph. Logisticians know that we have more chances of visiting Mars on a space cruise than of receiving a parcel from a drone in downtown New York. 

retailers

Turner’s prevision of “instant delivery” comes at a time when quick commerce startups are bankrupting on a weekly basis, forcing Retailers to put delivery speed aside. Even GoPuff, a strong promoter of instant deliveries, has now launched scheduled deliveries.

When the article states to “take sustainability seriously as sustainable lifestyles are on the rise”, it hits the right mark. It is true that shoppers are becoming much more sensible about CO2 emissions and ethical manufacturing. Sustainability, though, is diametrically opposed to instant deliveries, especially when thinking of transport optimization. 

“Predictive AI and fluidity” do have an important place, not in the future but now, especially in last-mile logistics. Milkman Technologies has been working since 2015, maximizing machine learning and continuous intelligence to design a software solution that effectively saves remarkable amounts of mileage, space, and cost. The use of smart appointments of day/time gives businesses, that rely on proprietary transportation fleets to manage deliveries, the critical advantage of influencing recipient behavior, by incentivizing emptier slots or de-incentivizing fuller ones. 

This is not science fiction, it’s a hard-won reality and makes much more sense, even outside of the Metaverse.  

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