People are currently buzzing about the metaverse and the digital future of our society. At this point, there is still quite a bit of confusion about what the metaverse is.
Even though the concept of the metaverse is still relatively new, B2B businesses are wise to start considering this technology for their future strategies and advances.
In this article, we’ll explain what the metaverse is and how it could affect B2B trade in the coming years.
The metaverse is a vague reference to online worlds or digital realities that exist in parallel to the real world. Typically, this includes any 3D or virtual reality experiences, especially those that foster social interaction and connectivity.
The term has recently become a hot topic in conversation after Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, changed the name of Facebook, Inc. to Meta Platforms, Inc. This transition has sparked the conversation about the future of technology and social interactions.1
There is a common misconception that Zuckerberg owns the entire metaverse. Although he owns Meta Platforms, Inc., the company is not the only metaverse. This confusion comes with the fact that Zuckerberg often refers to all of the integrated technology owned by Meta Platforms, Inc., both digital and physical, as a metaverse.2
Even though the internet has been along for several decades, we are still relatively close to the birth of technology. The immense value of the internet has proven over the past few years when digitalization kept much of the world afloat during the pandemic.
Since the metaverse is so vast, there are a lot of potential intersections with e-commerce. As the concept of metaverse continues to grow and manifest in different ways, e-commerce will shift and grow with it.
Currently, the effects of the metaverse on B2B e-commerce only seem positive. In fact, metaverse-related technology could open a lot of doors for B2B sellers.3 Some of the top opportunities include:
As if the benefits aren’t attractive enough, there is another key reason why you should get on board as a B2B seller: your competitors are doing it. If your competitors are moving forward and embracing the evolution, you have to evolve, as well.
B2B suppliers who aren’t yet evolving with digital technology like the metaverse should certainly consider it.
The metaverse and related technology are slowly trickling into the B2B trade. However, there is a great chance that those technologies will eventually become commonplace in the B2B trade.
Here are a few other digital developments that wholesalers and manufacturers should keep up with to future-proof their businesses.
Virtual reality (VR) is exactly what it sounds like: a reality that exists totally in the digital world or metaverse. VR technology allows users to travel to a metaverse where they can walk around and interact with others simply by putting on a headset.
VR technology is becoming more and more valuable in both manufacturing and B2B trade.4 VR is great for hosting virtual events and opening attendance to people from around the world. It makes it easier for suppliers to make valuable connections with buyers both near and far.
Augmented reality (AR), which is a type of virtual reality, can be used to facilitate manufacturing by creating simulations, facilitating remote collaboration, and more. This helps to reduce costs and improve productivity.5
Cryptocurrency is another development related to the metaverse that could revolutionize B2B trade, especially when it comes to exporting.
If you’re not familiar, cryptocurrency is encrypted data that can be used as currency. This currency is not regulated by or attached to any particular governing body.
Cryptocurrency uses a technology called blockchain to maintain the digital assets in online databases. This currency can be accessed through digital wallets that use unique credentials for advanced security.
Since cryptocurrency has no nationality or government ties, B2B exporters can carry out deals without worrying about exchange rates or international exchange fees. Plus, cryptocurrency transfers are fast, so there is less time spent waiting for a payment to clear.6
Non-fungible tokens, or “NFTs” for short, have grown in popularity simultaneous to the growth of the metaverse. NFTs can come in the form of a variety of digital files, including videos, images, text, and sounds. When someone buys an NFT, they have sole ownership of that digital asset.7
NFTs use the same blockchain technology as cryptocurrency to manage ownership and existence of the digital assets.
Some NFTs have something called “utility” which acts as an access key or membership for something. This is likely where NFTs and B2B trade could overlap.
For example, an exclusive organization that supports B2B sellers might offer an NFT that grants membership to the organization. This could be a marketplace, a networking group, or something similar.
Although the company has not explicitly used the term “metaverse” to describe its digital efforts in B2B trade, the virtual components of Alibaba.com are very much aligned with the metaverse concept.
Alibaba.com, an e-commerce platform that is focused on B2B trade, uses live streaming as a tool to boost B2B sellers and help them better connect with potential buyers. Alibaba Group’s success with live commerce has inspired a slew of other digital platforms to adopt the technology, as well.
Live streaming creates virtual interactions that mimic those that we have in real life. This technology makes it possible for B2B sellers to connect with potential buyers from around the world with product demos, tutorials, Q&As, and manufacturing plant tours.
Alibaba.com uses live streaming during special sales events, virtual tradeshows, and more.
Looking to go digital with your B2B wholesaling business? Sign up for Alibaba.com to prepare your business for the enhanced digitalization of the future.