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Strategies for the ecommerce journey metaverse

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With all the hype around the metaverse, you might think we’re just days away from plugging in and living in the Matrix. More seriously, the metaverse will be transformative and an enormous opportunity for ecommerce, but we’re only at the beginning of that journey.

Many foundational technology components in the metaverse stack, including artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality(VR), and nonfungible tokenss (NFTs), are now available. Merchants are spending heavily on them.

IDC estimates that retail spending on AI is expected to grow at a more than 25% compound annual growth rate between 2021 and 2025. It is estimated that from 2019 to 2023, AR/VR will see a 77% compound annual growth rate. This year alone (2022), experts estimate $1.8 billion in retail and marketing spend on VR. The consumer sector alone is more than 50% of spending in AR and VR.

Research shows that deploying even simple AI, AR or VR can substantially grow customer engagement and conversion. These technologies also reduce the staggering $428 billion in product returns annually. These foundational technologies are a great way to get to the inevitable popularity and appeal of the metaverse. But only if they can be tuned to maximize fundamental human behavior.

Humans demand personalization, new experiences and less friction

Ecommerce has always relied on technology matching basic human needs (which rarely change) to succeed in any “verse”. There is an insatiable need for new experiences, experiences that are personal and useful. We are becoming more impatient and demand instant satisfaction with as little friction as possible. These basic needs are the basis for the best foundational technologies.

For example, 60% of people want to visualize how a product fits into their lives. AI can use advanced algorithms to analyze patterns in our lives and suggest products based on past purchases, browsing history, geography, etc. AR/VR then can provide an intuitive visualization of the environment.

IKEA’s popular Place is an AR app that meets much of these criteria by showcasing the company’s products and helping consumers choose and place furniture in their homes. This app not only delivers personalization but also reduces returns.

Fashion has many similar apps that allow users to try on and size themselves. Simple technology like FitFinder technology helps buyers personalize their sizing experience by taking the data of a brand or item they know fits them and using an algorithm to compare the measurements accurately. Stoney Clover Lane (which just collaborated with Target) offers VR renderings of its designs to customers on its website. Advanced 3D modeling technology allows for more inclusive shopping experiences, especially for customers who don’t fall within the stereotyping sizing range. 3D modeling is already a feature that merchants add to their websites.

Where foundational metaverse tech struggles

These technologies are used to bridge virtual and physical experiences. However, the technology still falls short in many areas.

Geographical, and old-fashioned habits of the physical environment still cause stumbles across tech stack. It is still difficult to understand the variety of sizes in different geographies and brands. Buyers still struggle to understand the differences in U.S. and EU sizing. Even sizes that are “larger” can differ significantly among manufacturers within the same country. If this baseline data isn’t normalized and standardized then AI, AR, and 3D modeling can recreate the experience consumers have. Anyone who has ordered identical shoes from different sellers in an attempt to find the right fit will know the pain.

Bots is another example of foundational tech that has yet to meet the crucial match between basic needs and technology. Although bots are efficient for merchants, they can be frustrating and ineffective for consumers. Research shows that a single bad experience can easily drive away even the most loyal customer. Merchants are still figuring out when bots work best and when it’s more beneficial to have a human contact.

Finally, sensory experiences can’t still be reproduced in virtual reality beyond basic haptic responses. It is impossible to “feel” the fabric or smell the spices, nor can you engage in any other sensory experiences. Virtual reality is not able to match the enjoyment and evaluation of touching the fabric or sitting on the couch.

Deploy the tech with best immediate impact

Opinions and estimates vary on how big and fast the metaverse ecommerce gold rush could be. It’s important to make the metaverse more than a sales channel. Don’t delay to start. Choose the technologies that will both drive immediate ecommerce gains (i.e. customer experience and satisfaction) as well as being the inevitable building blocks for the metaverse. This will give merchants a competitive advantage regardless of whether the metaverse becomes a fully-fledged commerce environment.

Make sure you match the technology with baseline human needs. Otherwise, you are just creating another bad bot.

Zohar Gilad is the cofounder of Fast Simon, Inc.

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign


Author: Mark Hachman
, Senior Editor

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon


Author: Michael Crider
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Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more
Google Pixel watch



The Google Pixel Watch is incoming
(Image credit: Google)

We’re expecting the Google Pixel Watch to make its full debut on Thursday, October 6 – alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro – but in the meantime a major leak has revealed much more about the upcoming smartwatch.

Seasoned tipster @OnLeaks (opens in new tab) has posted the haul, which shows off some of the color options and band styles that we can look forward to next week. We also get a few shots of the watch interface and a picture of it being synced with a smartphone.

Watch faces are included in the leak too, covering a variety of different approaches to displaying the time – both in analog and digital formats. Another image shows the watch being used to take an ECG reading to assess heartbeat rate.

Just got my hands on a bunch of #Google #PixelWatch promo material showing all color options and Watch Bands for the first time. Some details revealed as well…@Slashleaks 👉🏻 https://t.co/HzbWeGGSKP pic.twitter.com/N0uiKaKXo0October 1, 2022

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Full colors

If the leak is accurate, then we’ve got four silicone straps on the way: black, gray, white, and what seems to be a very pale green. Leather straps look to cover black, orange, green and white, while there’s also a fabric option in red, black and green.

We already know that the Pixel Watch is going to work in tandem with the Fitbit app for logging all your vital statistics, and included in the leaked pictures is an image of the Pixel Watch alongside the Fitbit app running on an Android phone.

There’s plenty of material to look through here if you can’t wait until the big day – and we will of course be bringing you all the news and announcements as the Google event unfolds. It gets underway at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST / 12am AEDT (October 7).


Analysis: a big moment for Google

It’s been a fair while since Google launched itself into a new hardware category, and you could argue that there’s more riding on the Pixel Watch than there is on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro – as Google has been making phones for years at this point.

While Wear OS has been around for a considerable amount of time, Google has been leaving it to third-party manufacturers and partners to make the actual hardware. Samsung recently made the switch back to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, for example.

Deciding to go through with its own smartwatch is therefore a big step, and it’s clear that Google is envious of the success of the Apple Watch. It’s the obvious choice for a wearable for anyone who owns an iPhone, and Google will be hoping that Pixel phones and Pixel Watches will have a similar sort of relationship.

What’s intriguing is how Fitbit fits in – the company is now run by Google, but so far we haven’t seen many signs of the Fitbit and the Pixel lines merging, even if the Pixel Watch is going to come with support for the Fitbit app.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

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