Advances in technology, coupled with global events, have drastically changed how we carry out daily activities such as learning, work and entertainment. These changes were inspired by the advent of platforms and tools that we probably never thought we needed until we first heard of them or tried them out.
Terms like e-learning, Remote Work, and e-commerce have provided us with the same value we gain from traditional forms of learning, working and shopping - with the added advantage of not having to commute or travel to gain from them.
In 2010, less than 5% of retail sales happened online. During this decade of eCommerce growth, that number more than tripled to 18%. Much of that growth happened in 2020, when eCommerce sales increased by 44%.
Compared to back then, global ecommerce sales have increased by nearly 800%. A lot of this growth can be attributed to global events such as the COVID pandemic in 2020, increased customer trust in online transactions and technological advancements.
Every year, new technologies make online shopping more accessible and more widely accepted. The use of AI-powered visual search as seen in Lykdat, sophisticated logistics and order tracking as seen on Amazon, and AR/VR as seen in Asos and many others, have unlocked new possibilities in how we use technology to meet our shopping needs - especially in fashion.
You can now experience all the good parts of shopping for your favourite outfits, all from the comfort of your mobile devices… At least, almost all the good parts.
Going shopping for clothes has always been about more than getting the best outfits at the best prices. Shopping with friends and family is also a social experience. It gives people the chance to form meaningful relationships while exploring clothing options in different stores. This aspect of shopping seems to be one difficult level boss that ecommerce has been unable to defeat.
Enter Multiplayer Shopping…
The Multiplayer concept generally refers to synchronous (or asynchronous) collaboration between 2 or more people experienced digitally, and was commonly seen in gaming, group chats and conference calling at first.
As the need for collaboration between people who are distant from each other increased, the multiplayer concept was applied to work in the form of office tools (e.g., Google Docs), telepresence (e.g., Zoom) and creative tools (e.g.,Figma). Multiplayer also came to play in social networking and entertainment as seen in Clubhouse, Teleparty, Social Media Livestreams, FaceTime SharePlay, etc. Their wide acceptance shows us that Multiplayer is here to stay.
Multiplayer in online shopping is not an entirely new concept, as there are some ecommerce platforms that allow for some collaboration in some parts of the shopping process. An example is seen in YouPay, which allows people to shop and add items to their cart, while others pay for them. There have also been publications on the impact that collaboration could have on online shopping experiences, as well as projects that infuse collaborative features to regular ecommerce websites.
However, the idea of a dedicated multiplayer shopping experience where friends, family, or groups can shop together in real-time and have a shared experience is still relatively new and unexplored. This type of shopping experience could potentially unlock new possibilities in how people interact with each other and with products while shopping online.
For example, multiplayer shopping could involve real-time chat and video conferencing features that allow shoppers to communicate and collaborate on product choices, outfit ideas, and feedback. It could also involve shared wishlists, personalized recommendations, and group discounts based on collective purchases.
Furthermore, the integration of technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) could provide a more immersive shopping experience and make it easier for shoppers to visualize how different products would look on them.
In summary, multiplayer shopping is a new concept that could revolutionize the online shopping experience by providing a more social and interactive way to shop with friends, family, and groups. According to a survey we carried out in 2022, 80.3% of online shoppers would be more inclined to shop online in a multiplayer setting. While multiplayer shopping has the potential to create a more fulfilling and engaging shopping experience for consumers, it also provides an opportunity for e-commerce businesses and platforms to differentiate themselves and stand out in a highly competitive industry.
With the continued advancement of technology, we can expect to see ecommerce platforms that incorporate multiplayer features to enhance the overall shopping experience.