CSA Exclusive: Metaverse tech company plans virtual mixed-use center

Miller Lite
TerraZero Technologies has built metaverse stores including the Miller Lite Meta Lite Bar.

A new shopping / entertainment/educational destination is coming to the Decentraland metaverse platform.

TerraZero Technologies Inc., a vertically integrated metaverse technology company, has acquired a 185-parcel virtual estate in Decentraland. The company intends to build a digital destination that will include immersive experiences like virtual concerts, film screenings, shopping, and cultural and educational experiences.

In an exclusive interview with Chain Store Age, Dan Reitzik, CEO of TerraZero Technologies, discussed shopping in the metaverse, an environment 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,” said Reitzik. “Then, 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. There is some AR/VR involved, but not all metaverse worlds use or have that capability at this current time.”

[Read more: Three reasons retailers find NFTs nifty]

According to Reitzik, payment in a metaverse shopping environment is typically made with cryptocurrency.

“When you join and interact with a metaverse world, many of them require that you have a crypto wallet so that you can transact,” he said. “However, some fiat systems are being developed, as well.”

Just like in the “real world,” retailers operating stores in the metaverse do need to rent space, and TerraZero has paying tenants.

“The (metaverse rental) market is still not massive, but it is growing as more people join and learn about the metaverse, said Reitzik. “In order to establish a retail presence in the metaverse, as a business, you either need to rent and design your store if there is an available spot. If there is not a retail spot available, you then need to buy land and design and build it. An empty office or store can be designed and updated to suit your needs in one to three weeks, and then be ready for use.”

Recently, TerraZero Technologies built the Miller Lite Meta Lite Bar promotion on the Decentraland platform. Consumers age 21 and older could virtually enter the Meta Lite Bar, which offered an immersive, communal experience with interactive features and virtual pilsners. Interactive features included darts, billiards, a photo booth for “meta-selfies,” a virtual jukebox, and digital instruments that customers could play on a virtual stage.

TerraZero’s upcoming metaverse development project is much more ambitious. According to a company spokesperson, it will include “sprawling retail areas” for clothing and electronics, cannabis dispensaries, a comic book store, bookstores, and restaurants where customers digitally order food for home delivery. Other features will include sports arenas, music arenas, theaters for both plays and films, amusement parks, museums, a zoo and an aquarium, and a farmers’ market.

Going to the mall – in cyberspace
The concept of a metaverse shopping center has been around for a while. In 2019, AR/VR shopping platform Obsess launched an online shopping destination which functions like a virtual mall. The home page offers links to individual stores with assortments built around product categories such as beauty, home, fitness, and wellness.

Each virtual store features photorealistic images of products created using CGI (computer-generated imagery). Shoppers can click through an image to link to a popup that displays the item name, a close-up image, price, and link to a checkout page on the brand’s website to make a purchase. Some social influencers also have their own curated stores.

In a recent exclusive interview with Chain Store Age, Adryenn Ashley, global blockchain influencer and co-founder of the Billionaire Zombies Club decentralized NFT art community, encouraged retailers and developers to claim an early stake in the still-nascent metaverse mall market.

“You will have shopping malls in the metaverse,” said Ashley. “Be the first to get to the metaverse and build a mall. Lease out stores and make up for the last two lost years of revenue.”

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