In tema di... Marketing & Retail

The business environment is subject to significant changes in recent times. COVID-19 acted as a catalysator for many businesses to introduce or speed the digitalisation process, even if many improvements were in the act just before the pandemic crisis. Specifically, the nature of the economy was moving from an industrial-based economy to an information-oriented one, where the rapidity and the significatively of the information related to a product or a service were crucial to consumers. Then, the Internet Communication Technologies revolution was speeding, providing consumers with more powerful, versatile, available and affordable tools to gather and use information.

In this line, also smart and recent technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality were rethought under a new umbrella term, extended reality, which was able to create a new immersive scenario, where these two technologies converge to the creation of a new universe: The metaverse.

Specifically, with metaverse scholars refer to a “post-reality universe”, where physical reality is merged with the virtual one in creating multisensory interactions with virtual environments, digital objects and people. Thus, here are three academic contributions with cope this topic under three different lenses to give the readers a deeper understanding of this emerging topic in marketing and retailing literature.


(PAPER): Bourlakis, M., Papagiannidis, S., & Li, F. (2009). Retail spatial evolution: paving the way from traditional to metaverse retailing. Electronic Commerce Research, 9(1), 135-148.

This paper examines the evolution of retailing, i.e., from traditional to electronic to metaverse retailing and sheds light on the ways metaverses influence that evolution. The spatial dimension is taken into consideration as retailers could operate simultaneously in three different, but intertwined spaces. Emphasis is paid to key promotional aspects, and the Authors highlight the key challenges and opportunities faced by traditional retailers, e-retailers and metaverse retailers. For the metaverse phenomenon, the Authors analyse Second Life, and a range of findings emerge. One key finding is that retailers need to employ a holistic and overarching approach when devising their promotional strategies, especially if they aim to operate at the metaverse stage as well. In the end, the Authors recommend a range of future research avenues and note the immediate need for policy development dealing with the metaverse phenomenon.


(PAPER): Kraus, S., Kanbach, D. K., Krysta, P. M., Steinhoff, M. M., & Tomini, N. (2022). Facebook and the creation of the metaverse: radical business model innovation or incremental transformation?. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research. Ahead-of-print.

In a move characterized by ambiguity, Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021, announcing a new era of social interaction, enabled by the metaverse technology that appears poised to become the future centre of gravity for online social interactions. At first glance, the communicated change signals a radically new business model (BM) based on an unprecedented configuration of the three following components: Value creation, value proposition and value capture. The purpose of this paper is to analyse Facebook’s announced changes in its BM to clarify whether the change is as radical as communicated or rather represents an incremental transformation of the current BM.

This investigation adopted an in-depth case study research method. The process included using a structured approach to collect 153 data points, including academic studies and publicly available information, followed by qualitative content analysis.

The results of the Authors’ analysis of Facebook’s entrepreneurial journey indicate that the communicated strategic refocusing does not correspond to a radical BM innovation pattern. Even though Facebook’s BM might evolve into the innovation phase, as the current changes appear very futuristic, the Authors estimate that the core elements of the BM will change incrementally. The investigation indicates that the underlying logic of the straightforward communicative efforts primarily serves two purposes: To improve the external perception of the company and to disseminate an internal change signal within the organization.

This paper is the first study that takes an entrepreneurship and BM perspective in analysing Facebook’s approach to rebranding to Meta and refocusing its strategy on building the metaverse. The academic and practical relevance, as well as the potential future impact on business and society, makes the investigation of this case an intriguing prospect. Additionally, the study illuminates the difference between the communicated vision and the real impact on the business, suggesting critical questions about future large-scale rebranding efforts and their effects.


(PAPER): Xi, N., Chen, J., Gama, F., Riar, M., & Hamari, J. (2022). The challenges of entering the metaverse: An experiment on the effect of extended reality on workload. Information Systems Frontiers, 1-22.

Information technologies exist to enable us to either do things we have not done before or do familiar things more efficiently. Metaverse (i.e., extended reality: XR) enables novel forms of engrossing telepresence, but it also may make mundane tasks more effortless. Such technologies increasingly facilitate people’s work, education, healthcare, consumption and entertainment; however, at the same time, the metaverse brings a host of challenges. Therefore, the Authors pose the question of whether XR technologies, specifically Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), either increase or decrease the difficulties of carrying out everyday tasks. In the current study, the Authors conducted a 2 (AR: with vs. without) × 2 (VR: with vs. without) between-subject experiment where participants faced a shopping-related task (including navigating, movement, hand-interaction, information processing, information searching, storing, decision making, and simple calculation) to examine a proposed series of hypotheses. The NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) was used to measure subjective workload when using an XR-mediated information system including six sub-dimensions of frustration, performance, effort, physical, mental, and temporal demand. The findings indicate that AR was significantly associated with overall workload, especially mental demand and effort, while VR had no significant effect on any workload sub-dimensions. There was a significant interaction effect between AR and VR on physical demand, effort, and overall workload. The results imply that the resources and cost of operating XR-mediated realities are different and higher than physical reality.

October 2022