Amazon is now letting customers buy real goods from storefronts in virtual worlds.
The e-tail giant is introducing Amazon Anywhere, an offering which enables customers to shop and buy physical products from Amazon for the first time within virtual environments, such as video games, augmented reality (AR), and third-party mobile apps.
Amazon is launching the feature within Peridot, a new mobile game from Niantic that features artificial intelligence AI-powered virtual pets and overlays AR imagery on “real world” environments. After seamlessly linking their Amazon account to Peridot, customers can discover and purchase Peridot-branded products on Amazon directly from the game.
Items available for purchase include t-shirts, hoodies, phone accessories, and throw pillows. Customers will see product details, images, availability, Prime eligibility, price and estimated delivery date in the Peridot environment as they would in Amazon stores.
After putting a Peridot product in their cart, customers can tap the buy button to check out via their linked Amazon account from within the experience. Products will ship to customers like any other purchase from Amazon, and they can track and manage orders via the Amazon app.
Amazon is offering this new immersive shopping capability to developers and creators of virtual worlds, video games, and mobile apps. The e-tailer will provide functionality for product selection, shipping, and fulfillment.
Amazon pilots metaverse in India
Amazon Anywhere follows the company’s September 2022 pilot of “Amazonmetaworld,” a metaverse of digital gamification experiences, in five Indian cities - Kanpur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Chandigarh. Consumers could walk into physical experience centers where they created a virtual avatar, put on a virtual reality (VR) headset.
Activities available on Amazon’s Indian metaverse platform included competing in virtual games with other customers to collect points and win prizes, and virtually meeting social media influencers, but no direct e-commerce.
Retailers jump into metaverse
While most surveys indicate that a majority of consumers are not yet active metaverse participants, an increasing number of retailers are establishing themselves as pioneers in the metaverse commerce space.
Gap, Pacsun, and Facebook parent Meta (which changed its corporate identity to represent a metaverse orientation), and chief Amazon rival Walmart are just a few.
“By working with developers like Niantic we are able to showcase new and creative ways for customers to discover relevant products beyond traditional online storefronts, enabling more immersive and engaging experiences both in-and-out of virtual worlds,” said Steve Downer, VP of consumer electronics at Amazon.
“We’re excited to deliver amazing new capabilities to our players using Amazon Anywhere in Peridot,” said Ziah Fogel, director of production for Peridot. “Never before has it been so easy for our fans to purchase branded physical merchandise directly from within the experience, without ever having to leave the game. This really brings the Peridot universe to life, creating more opportunities for our players to engage with the brand, and helping to blend the virtual and physical worlds.”