The metaverse is a universe within a universe — meta, I know.
It is a virtual and alternate reality where people exist in online spaces, play games, meet people, and build their versions of reality. It’s a relatively new concept, but, as with many emerging platforms, it poses opportunities for businesses as it does for consumers.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the metaverse and its relation to sales.
What are metaverse sales?
Metaverse sales are sales that occur within an online alternate reality world. The metaverse is an emerging sales channel, so there is really no set way to say yes; this type of sale will happen, or no that type of sale won’t happen.
However, sales that currently happen in the metaverse vary from the traditional sales you might be used to. For example, you won’t be in contact with enterprise businesses and selling SaaS in the metaverse. You’re more likely to be selling to individual consumers, and the sales will be for things like non-fungible tokens (which we’ll discuss below) or exclusive merchandise.
A great example of metaverse sales can be seen with Spotify and the launch of Spotify Island in Roblox’s metaverse. Artists and their fans play interactive games and quests and buy exclusive merch from their favorite performers — a metaverse sale.
Gartner predicts that, over the next five years, one in four people will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse for various reasons, including shopping. It also predicts that 30% of businesses will have some sort of product or service available, so it makes sense that it will become a standout (yet unique) sales channel to use in the coming years.
Which metaverses can you sell in?
Four popular metaverses are Horizon Worlds, The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Roblox.
1. Horizon Worlds
Horizon Worlds is Meta’s metaverse, and it has said it is available for people to make sales on the platform. Creators can sell accessories for users to dress their characters within their worlds, and there are creator fees of up to 47.5%.
2. The Sandbox
The Sandbox first existed as a video game when it came to life in 2018 but has since become one of the most popular metaverses. In it, people can create characters and games, participate in events, and purchase land.
Roblox is an online gaming and game creation platform that evolved into a metaverse where people can purchase in-game objects and digital assets. It offers real-life simulations, which can be great for salespeople hoping to mimic an irl experience online.
Metaverse Sales Opportunities
As mentioned above, sales in the metaverse will be significantly different from sales in the real world. Let’s discuss some of the current opportunities in the space.
Real estate has recently become a significant pillar of metaverse sales. It’s not simply replicating real-life properties in the virtual world — it’s actually selling pieces of land within the metaverse that people own and can use to build their domain.
Real estate sales in the metaverse topped $500 million last year, and BrandEssence says that the metaverse real estate market is expected to grow at a rate of 31% per year from 2022 to 2028. Angelica Saldaña is a crypto investor who spent $11,325.13 on metaverse properties in 2021.
When it comes to making a profit, Saldaña says that she can earn passive income from them: “I’ll soon be able to rent my properties out in NFT Worlds to people who need the space to make a game or something like that.”
Non-fungible tokens, popularly known as NFTs, are commonly sold in the metaverse. Brands and creators sell one-of-a-kind NFTs to individual owners that cannot be legally replicated or used by anyone else. It’s a unique opportunity for businesses to generate excitement for one-of-a-kind products that are personalized to each buyer.
Stjepan Gric, HubSpot Team Lead at Digital Reach Online Solutions, says that, in the metaverse, businesses can “Create personalized virtual events on-demand with gamification elements where participants can enjoy a sales opportunity.”
Sellers can create virtual showrooms for buyers to exist in, browse, learn more about products, and purchase exclusive items. Luxury fashion house Gucci recently opened its world and NFT collections, Vault, on the platform.
How to Become a Metaverse Salesperson
Given that there is untapped opportunity within the metaverse, you may be wondering how to get in on it.
Becoming a metaverse salesperson requires many of the same skills for irl sales. You need to be a compelling storyteller, have communication skills, understand your prospects and their needs, problem solve, negotiate, collaborate, etc.
What differs is that your skills will need to transfer to a virtual world. So, while you know how to speak to someone face to face, can you translate this ability into an environment where you may never exchange words or text with a prospect?
Salespeople will likely also need to be adept marketers, as part of the job is attracting users to your world and enticing them to buy what you’re selling. You don’t have the opportunity to make sales pitches or speak directly to users; you can only market what you offer.
As the metaverse is a unique channel, it does require specific knowledge. Here are some qualifications listed in metaverse sales job descriptions:
- Experience with the metaverse and its key building blocks like web3, extended reality, and virtual reality.
- Understanding of technologies related to the metaverse like multiparty systems, blockchain, tokenization, and NFTs.
- Technology expertise for data privacy, cybersecurity, digital identity, and blockchain content moderation.
- Understand risks and policy standards for virtual worlds.
- Experience leveraging emerging technologies and growing platform impact.
- Business development experience.
- Willingness to test new channels and constantly iterate.
- Experience selling at in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.
- Gaming and social media experience.
Tips for Selling in the Metaverse
Stephanie Baiocchi, Director of Memberships & Events at IMPACT, says that being successful at selling in the metaverse rides on being able to build and inspire community.
She says, “As with many opportunities online, the way in is through community...a blatant sales pitch would be off-putting. But if you can build relationships with people through a shared topic or passion, this is the foot in the door for sales.” As metaverse sales opportunities are quite new, she adds that focusing on building and engaging with communities will always be the right path as things grow.
At the moment, it seems like selling on the metaverse will focus on creating opportunities to drive sales with things that make sense for the metaverse. This is why real estate sales have taken off, as many of the worlds are vast and open for people to build their own communities. This is also why brands like Gucci have made space selling clothing that people can use to dress their metaverse avatars.
Cons of Metaverse Sales
Although metaverse sales pose a unique opportunity, there are also some drawbacks to be aware of.
Most significantly, using the metaverse requires knowledge of the metaverse. Not every business is experienced in the channel, much less every salesperson. Therefore, it can be challenging to balance building a presence on the channel while also learning about it as it is relatively new and there is no roadmap for salespeople to follow.
In addition, the cryptocurrencies needed to make sales in the universe have a detrimental effect on the environment. For example, Ethereum, one of the most popular currencies, uses 238.22 kilowatt-hours of energy for one single transaction, whereas Visa uses 148-kilowatt-hours for 100,000 transactions. This means that cryptocurrencies use a lot of energy, and high energy usage contributes CO2 to the environment.
The impacts are clear, but organizations like Crypto Climate Accord are working to decarbonize the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. So if you’re hoping to get in on metaverse sales, it’s worth following the discussions to learn more about reducing your carbon footprint.
Is selling in the metaverse worth it?
Forbes notes that the metaverse will grow significantly over the next three years and offer a profit of over 1 trillion dollars. This, coupled with the fact that many real-life experiences are increasingly becoming more and more embedded with online elements, shows real potential for sales opportunities in the metaverse, probably in more ways than just selling NFTs or real estate.
As with all emerging channels, the choice is always yours. It’s experimental and there’s no roadmap to success, meaning that there is a risk. If you have the time to experiment and can take a chance that won’t be detrimental to your sales goals, it’s worth trying a virtual world. If you start early, you can reap the benefits of becoming comfortable with the platform and be ready and able to jump into action as opportunities grow.
The risk is there, though. A sales strategy that has not yet been perfected but relies heavily on metaverse sales has the potential to fall through. If that is your situation, it may be best to wait until the channel has become more traveled by other salespeople before you sign on.
Regardless, jumping into new, experimental channels can be fun. You can try it out, see how you like it, and assess if you’ll be able to find opportunities within virtual worlds.