The MetaMall: The Next Big Retail Development Will Be in Cyberspace

Metaverse Mall metamall

Two unrelated events took place 30 years ago in 1992 that altered our world. The first involved Charles M. Stack who started Book Stacks Unlimited, the first online bookstore, selling books via a dial-up bulletin board based in Cleveland. This predates Mr. Bezos’s endeavour by three years. The other curious occurrence taking place that same year was the authorship of a science fiction novel, entitled Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Stephenson penned the portmanteau of “meta” and “universe” to create “metaverse,” a word that would become associated with the blending of virtual and physical space. Fast forward three decades and Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg refers to the Metaverse as an “embodied internet.”

Now this convergence is expanding the notion of “the great cyber-store” to include the concept of a metaverse mall; you knew it had to happen. Adryenn Ashley, global blockchain influencer and co-founder of the Billionaire Zombies Club decentralized NFT art community, believes retailers and developers will need to claim an early stake in the still nascent metaverse mall market to be competitive when meta becomes ubiquitous.

The Mall in Cyberspace

One of these meta incarnations comes by way of developer Dan Reitzik, CEO of TerraZero Technologies. It has acquired a 185-parcel of “virtual estate” in Decentraland, described as the first-ever virtual world owned by its users. TerraZero plans to build an immersive “digital destination” experience which includes concerts, film screenings, shopping, and educational and cultural experiencesReitzik describes shopping in the metaverse as where consumers use augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology to digitally engage with each other and their surroundings, with crossovers into the physical world.

“Shopping in the metaverse operates with your avatar going into a store, such as an art gallery, where your avatar can click and buy a digital NFT asset (such as artwork) and/or also place an order to have a real-world item bought and shipped to you in the real world.” Retailers operating stores in Decentraland will need to rent space, and Reitzik currently has paying tenants. Reitzik goes on to explain that payments are made in-world.

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