Tomorrow is a retail revolution? | The Gazette Nord-Pas de Calais

Despite impressive stock market crashes, cryptocurrencies and NFTs will structure tomorrow’s trading, according to experts from Echangeur BNP Paribas Personal Finance. During a recent online conference, Nicolas Diacono, Analyst, and Guillaume Rio, Tech Trends Manager at Echangeur, presented the results of the annual Commercial Reboot survey. Topics covered include commerce in the Web 3.0 era. The latter combines several technological directions that are already working. Immersive universes (“metaverses”). As for cryptocurrencies, these digital currencies are issued on a peer-to-peer basis. And finally, blockchain technology for storing and transmitting information.

Young people under 25 years of age, a priority target

According to the study, the foundations for the revolution have already been laid. Young people under 25 are ready for the metaverse: already 80% of them frequent “gaming” platforms. The latter are places of social interaction and trade. Thus, the market for “skins” – clothes for avatars – weighs 40 billion dollars. Cryptocurrencies are starting to spread: they are owned by 5% of the French and 10% of the Spaniards.

According to experts, this new Web3 should be built around blockchain and NFT, a non-fungible token. The latter consist of a cryptographic token, which is an object (often digital) to which a digital identity (associated with at least one owner) is attached. Everything is stored and authenticated within blockchains. Illustration with Nicholas Diacono. He scanned his body, resulting in a three-dimensional representation, and inserted this information into a token stored in a wallet that was itself integrated into the blockchain. “I can contact the Nike brand and give them temporary access to this token so that they know my exact measurements and offer me the appropriate product. For the brand, this eliminates returns due to a size error, which is costly,” says the analyst. You can also integrate cryptocurrencies into your wallet and thus complete the entire transaction. Thus, the same device can be presented to access financial services; incidental access to personal information may be permitted by the respective service provider.

Innovative brands

A variety of innovative brands have already begun to explore the various possibilities of this “network 3”. This allows you to “transform the customer experience beyond the transaction”, – analyzes Guillaume Rio. Decathlon example. Last April, the distributor made a splash when it sold a limited edition of 2008 copies.

footwear for street football players. The operation was carried out with Sean Garnier, a world champion in this discipline, with whom the shoe buyer could meet in the virtual space. Another example, more operational, is at Alfa Romeo. The company is leveraging the potential of NTF’s authentication and traceability to maintain a vehicle maintenance log. Each time you visit the dealership, the dynamic token saves information. “When I want to sell my car, I can attest that I took good care of it. This ensures transparency for new buyers,” says Guillaume Rio. Another advantage for the brand: having learned about the deal, it can put forward a new commercial offer…

LVHM has applied these new technologies once again: “real object tokenization”. The luxury group has “tokenized” cognac bottles, which are being sold as digital tokens. In fact, this is a financial investment, a glass bottle and the precious liquid remaining in it are stored in a safe. Other experiments are carried out in immersive worlds. In fact, they are an attempt to reach out to young people in a playful way. However, new practices are emerging: Alpine releases digital duplicates of its cars that can be used in online games.

In addition, “the metaverse can interact with physical trade,” adds Guillaume Rio. Example: buy clothes for your avatar to go to an interview that takes place in the immersive world, and at the same time order the same clothes in the material version. The transaction can take place in the immersive world or in a physical store, always with NFT…

South Korea at the forefront

In South Korea, this future has already become a reality: social media has an abundance of virtual influencers, in some stores, customers are greeted with avatars… In 2020, in this country that is already very focused on technology and innovation, the government has created a New Deal, highlighted on $50 billion, focused on new technologies. “South Korea is entering the world of tomorrow, the metaverse. Specifically, the $186.7 million investment that will be channeled into the country’s ecosystem metaverse called “Expanded Virtual World” will stimulate, inter alia, the development and growth of the virtual city, education, and media industry in the country. It is clear that South Korea has entered the world stage and will want to impose its future rules on tomorrow’s world of trade,” comments Guillaume Rio. The country’s industrial giants such as Samsung and LG are already positioning themselves in these markets.

Despite the pioneering example of Korea, there are many obstacles to the mass deployment of this trade of tomorrow. Starting with many immersive worlds that come in three types: video games (eg Fortnite), Gafam (eg Facebook) and new ones coming through the blockchain (Sandbox, Somnium space…). However, “each of these immersive worlds is separate. There is no interaction between them,” notes Guillaume Rio. Currently, the tech giants are trying to promote a single standard. “For trade, the stakes are huge,” the expert emphasizes. Another important project is NFT regulation. “Today is a bit like the Wild West,” admits Guillaume Rio. The European Union is working on this issue.

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