On Cyber Monday, one of the oldest grocery retailers in America, Albertsons, started selling and delivering tangible items in the metaverse. Metaverse, a platform for augmented reality, enables users to build interactive experience that combine the virtual and real worlds.
Metaverse is very popular in online video games, like Fortnite by Epic Games, and offers immersive digital gaming and social space that is an example of a real-life metaverse-like environment.
As the other retailers, fashion brands and restaurants have been experimenting with connecting the metaverse to real life shopping, Albertsons is the first in the grocery space.
Its pilot program, called the “Meta Mega Deal”, was launched on Decentraland, a 3D virtual browser-based platform. Albertsons offered Signature Select pretzels, peanut butter cups and a six-pack of mini coke as a bundle, all for $1 with free delivery. Users of Decentraland simply scan a QR code, pay by credit card and get items delivered in 45 minutes.
Albertsons, who oversees more than a dozen grocery store brands including Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco and Acme will closely analyze the Meta Mega Deal pilot program to understand the on-line interactive behaviors of its younger customers.
Metaverse was announced to be the next big thing at CES 2023. According to McKinsey & Company it is predicted that by 2030, the metaverse may generate up to $5 trillion in sales as an alternative to physical brick-and-mortar store shopping.
One of the big differences in the Metaverse shopping vs traditional on-line shopping is the buyer is not simply looking at an on-line catalog of static photos of items. It is an interactive experience that presents a real-life view of actually being in a location and uses either the actions of the on-screen avatar or a simple QR code to enable the e-commerce activity.