Modern Life

How will we shop in the metaverse?

Brands are setting up a blended reality retail environment that will be like nothing consumers have experienced before.

By Nick Easen — May 17, 2022

Everyone from Walmart (filing trademarks for NFTs, creating its own cryptocurrency) to Gucci (opening a virtual multi-store in Roblox) has been trying to imagine what the metaverse will look like. Brands that get it right will bring digital wallets, gaming, and mixed realities together, along with digital storytelling and new forms of engagement — a kind of 360-degree retail.

Brands are banking on the metaverse as the platform that will leave digital catalogs (even that well-used Amazon app) in the dust, one not confined by device, medium, or channel. Some are already filling their digital shelves with products that will get your crypto wallet twitching. They’re developing creative and interactive experiences where the pixelated sky’s the limit.


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Why? To excite the next generation, already buried in their smartphones and video games, about shopping for goods, services, and even real estate in an entirely new way. You’ll access and immerse yourself in this world with lightweight, affordable VR and AR headsets, a voice assistant obeying your every command. Our real-life and digital selves merge into one representation, and our avatars become us—a so-called phygital, along with data on our tastes and preferences. Brands will tap into this, merging the virtual and digital worlds into a seamless shopping experience.

What does retail look like in the metaverse? Here’s our guide to how we might shop ’til we drop in the future.

Meta mall

Visit app stores or digital marketplaces in virtual space. Drop into awe-inspiring digital hangouts to see concerts, entertainment, and fashion shows. Be enticed by storefronts and personalized offers. Browse with friends away from crowded physical malls.

Virtual real estate

Retailers buy prime digital plots in the metaverse. The “land” will be used to develop metaverse commerce projects or fully immersive digital shopping centers. Republic Realm, a metaverse real estate firm, recently paid Sandbox $4.3 million for a plot of virtual land, the largest public virtual real-estate deal ever.

Decentralized commerce

So-called d-commerce allows metaverse transactions to happen peer-to-peer, just like in the real world, without relying on a centralized intermediary. It will allow communities to evolve new experiences and pop-ups, while people will be able to create new value, enabled by smart contracts.


Gaming is now a major sales platform for retailers where real-world and digital goods are bought, gifted, and exchanged. In 2020, around $54 billion was spent on virtual goods, skins, and lives.

Illustration by Jaedoo Lee

Virtual clothing

The possibilities are truly limitless for new fashions. Think exclusive or even one-of-a-kind digital clothes, shoes, makeup, and accessories. Trends are sparked by virtual fads, and all products are verified using NFTs.

Digital workers and salespeople

Salespeople that are created using AI will interact with real-life virtual versions of ourselves. Businesses will fill the metaverse with a digital workforce that humans will converse with.

Influencer avatars

The digital doppelgängers of stars and social media influencers guide shoppers around stores, encouraging them to try out products that they use or recommend, or are simply branded with their faces.

Livestreamed shopping assistants

Expect real-life expertise on retail in the virtual world, where human-assistants-as-avatars offer advice on your real-world wardrobe, give out discount coupons, and inform shoppers of the latest sale. They also push personalized content to customers who then purchase a physical outfit. The metaverse knows your measurements, body shape, and preferences.

Book a vacation

With a virtual travel agency, you can ski the mountain, tour your resort or hotel room before you book, sit in different rows on the plane, and get a preview of what you’ll see on a cruise or safari. Then have the avatar agent help you choose destinations and book flights and accommodations.

Paying for goods

Seamlessly connect your real-life bank account to your digital avatar. Use biometrics to authenticate that it’s physically you. Click to make payments using open banking.

Virtual purchase, physical product

View a piece of digital art on the wall of your virtual home, or test out a digital tennis racket. See what it looks like, buy it online. It turns up on your actual doorstep, ready to hang on your wall or take to the court.