A mall in the metaverse? It’s already arrived

Shopping malls have now become a central meeting place and a hub of important social interactions between people from different backgrounds and age groups. Now imagine your weekly trip to a mall being replaced by a virtual mall in the metaverse where you can hang out for hours, meet your friends and interact with them in a café in real time without worrying about booking a taxi or going out. from your place. A virtual mall is coming soon and it’s becoming a reality, thanks to metaverse real estate seller Metamall.

“It’s between the physical mall and traditional e-commerce,” Serge Gianchandani, co-founder of Metamall, simplified what he means by a virtual mall in the metaverse. Gianchandani said the idea is to combine what you see on an online shopping site with a better visual experience, where users can enter a mall in virtual reality and interact with real people.

“It will be more progressive,” Gianchandani said. indianexpress.com when asked what the physiological impact would be on consumers when they enter a mall in a virtual space above a local mall they already know.

A virtual mall would immediately become attractive to consumers, brands, businesses or someone who wants to invest in NFTs or non-fungible tokens. (Image credit: Metamall)

Shopping malls became the symbol of Americanization in the 1950s, becoming the center of Western consumer culture. Then came e-commerce and the rise of Amazon. But retail, as it is known today, is changing. Traditional malls aren’t dying, but as the conversation in the metaverse begins to pick up steam, a virtual mall would immediately become attractive to consumers, brands, businesses, or anyone who wants to invest in NFT or non-fungible tokens.

Gianchandani’s Metamall, the company he co-founded in 2021, is billed as a virtual real estate developer that helps users buy real estate in the metaverse. The Metamall, a metaverse mall, is a platform built on the Solana, a user-generated, blockchain-based virtual world. “You can buy or rent a space in the Metamall and the location becomes yours,” says Sahan Ray, Business Development Manager at Metamall.

Initially, Metamall will have 20 odd brands, from flagship department stores to major cosmetics brands when the platform goes live in April. The plan is to increase this number to 200 to 250 brands over the next six months. Ray sees Metamall as a multi-purpose mall that will also include office spaces as well as separate gaming areas. “It’s basically like a city where you can be a passive investor, own real estate and earn income from it,” he explained. The cost of owning real estate starts at $225 for a 900 square foot space and goes up to $27,000 for a large space.

metaverse, mall in metaverse, metaverse retail, VR mall, internet mall, what is metaverse, Serge Gianchandani The cost of owning real estate starts at $225 for a 900 square foot space and goes up to $27,000 for a large space. (Image credit: Metamall)

“We are the developers of the project,” Ray said, adding that the company will sell this land but not manage it. “If I had built Age of Empires, I would have had rights and licenses to Age of Empires. two, you have that right in governance.

“Each space is an NFT and has a specific number. If you want to sell it, you have to go to the market. Depending on the demand, people will buy and pay for the space,” Gianchandani said. “It’s a code,” Ray added. “If we give that key to someone, and they have the key, they can transfer the key and there’s a mechanism in place when we transfer the key to someone. Once that happens, we we no longer have any rights there,” he explained.

Gianchandani said the potential benefits of setting up a store or experiential store at Metamall are huge in the long term and if not immediate and brands are aware of this. Because they are not bound by the laws of physics, they are free to experiment with store design and provide a more unique and immersive experience. Brands are free to pick design templates themselves, hire a team of engineers, and turn shopping into a 3D experience.

Gianchandani admits that brands that invest early in the Metaverse now see it as an exercise in branding and PR, but somewhere they also know that if they’re late, it’s going to be a costly affair.

Metaverse real estate sales reached $501 million in 2021, according to MetaMetric Solutions. In fact, sales in January exceeded $85 million and could reach nearly $1 billion in 2022. Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, and Somnium are the major players in this market.

metaverse, mall in metaverse, metaverse retail, VR mall, internet mall, what is metaverse, Serge Gianchandani Serge Gianchandani is CEO and CPO of Metamall.

Is the end of mall culture near? Probably not. “Metaverse will not replace the traditional retail marketplace, but will act as an additional layer, similar to how e-commerce exists,” Gianchandani said. For now, the virtual mall concept will have no impact on large retail chains and large-scale malls. “The impact will come when we integrate commerce into the interaction with the digital and the real world,” he said.

Gianchandani noted that virtual reality (VR) technology has yet to mature, which is why a headset is optional to enter the Metamall. “In the next two years, we don’t see people exclusively using VR headsets to enter the metaverse,” he said.

The future of digital retail is changing, people are buying digital clothes and sneakers using NFT. The buzz around the metaverse, as many tech companies like to call the next version of the internet that combines multiple virtual worlds, is quickly becoming the battleground of internet technology. Some say it’s overrated and could end up being a costly failure. “It’s not just a trend,” Gianchandani said. “In the next three years, we don’t know exactly how it will evolve and how many users will use it, but we do know that it will [Metaverse] will be there and will be functional.

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