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The Metaverse: What It Means For Businesses Today

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Wondering how to navigate immersive virtual worlds? Buckle up, get ready for the ride

Trending as the most actionable disruption of 2022, the metaverse is as real as it gets. We’ve reached a point of inflection where our digital lifestyles are merging with our physical existence. People now expect every experience in the physical world to have a digital equivalent. Sounds absurd? Well, it did, till not so long ago.

Decentraland’s Metaverse Festival, a four-day event celebrating music, culture and creativity, attracted more than 50,000 virtual attendees.
The rapid evolution of technology and gadgets have made this possible, and this unfolding will persist. Tomorrow’s world is digitally native. The pandemic forced the initial change in consumer behaviour, it’s here to stay, and there is no looking back. In the last five years, digital consumer expectations have seen the most significant leap in the history of time. The paradigm shift in consumer behaviour has created a void that brands and businesses alike must rapidly fill or get left behind.

Vans World on Roblox combines skateboarding, fashion and community to deliver an immersive experience.

Challenges present opportunities for each brand and business to re-imagine, re-invent, and deliver immersive and meaningful consumer experiences, and many are already capitalising on this opportunity. The NBA Top Shot NFTs hit a million users and made over $800 million in sales, all within a year. Vans, another early metaverse success, attracted over 48 million users with its virtual skatepark, where users can play games, customise their vans, and earn points that can be redeemed for skateboard upgrades. That’s not all. Pandemic-struck 2021 also turned the metaverse into the world’s hottest concert venue with avatar-led performances by Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X and Justin Bieber.

Why The Metaverse?

The answer is simple. Brands and businesses alike must meet consumers where they are. Within the next three years, 1 in every four humans will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse. Like Web 2.0, Web 3.0 has further enhanced user experiences, keeping people online for longer durations growing their digital footprint significantly and this trend is projected to grow exponentially. Metaverse platforms will use this to their advantage to drive economic activities within their world in the same way that Meta drives interactive commerce on Instagram — with in-app digital storefronts, product markers, and checkout options.

With consumer touchpoints spanning countless channels across devices, user attention is more fragmented than ever. This fragmentation will also persist in the metaverse, but consumers will expect enhanced brand interaction that provides personalised and contextual instant gratification. Brands can no longer stick to using engagement channels to divert traffic to an e-commerce site. Instead, they’ll have to strategically position themselves where consumers are. Today’s online consumers want to discover products, interact with them, immediately swipe to purchase and have them delivered quickly. Brands will need to adapt rapidly through innovation to close this gap and monetise these opportunities.

Immersive Web Demands Immersive Commerce

The metaverse and changing consumer behaviour is transforming e-commerce into i-commerce. Technologies such as NFTs, augmented and virtual reality, and online gaming are converging seamlessly, enabling businesses to provide consumers with unparalleled virtual brand experiences.

Gucci Garden was a limited-run virtual experience.
Gucci hosted the Gucci Gardens exhibition on Roblox in May 2021. This virtual experience had different rooms which visitors’ avatars would enter as a blank mannequin that absorbs various elements of the exhibition through interaction. At the end of the journey, each avatar emerges as a one-of-a-kind creation, reinforcing Gucci’s message of individuality. Visitors could also shop for virtual Gucci dresses and accessories to customise their avatars. One particular virtual handbag from this exhibition sold for more than $4000, almost 4x its physical twin.

Sotheby’s is reshaping the world of art and collectibles through a digital twin of its London auction rooms. Collectors can visit these virtual auction rooms to bid and buy unique digital assets in the form of NFTs. Who would have imagined that a picture of a tweet would sell for millions of dollars?

Sotheby’s auction house in Decentraland is a replica of Sotheby’s in London, sans the yellow ape.

How To Win The Metaverse

Businesses have an enormous opportunity to deepen relationships with consumers if they can successfully build a brand presence in the budding metaverse, capitalising on rising demand for digital asset ownership and self-expression. Onboarding into this new realm can be a bit disorienting at first, but not everyone needs to rebrand themselves like Meta from the get-go. Brands can test the waters with small prototypes before making more significant moves. Coca-Cola, for example, entered the domain with a capsule collection of 4 NFTs and auctioned it off as a single “loot box” on OpenSea for $575,000 in 2021.

The loot box is now split into individual NFTs up for secondary sale, with the vintage cooler NFT priced at 1000 ETH.

Real people are spending real money on virtual goods. Gaming economies generated over $100 billion in 2021, and forecasts show this number will continue to rise. From offering exclusive brand access through NFTs, to selling online avatars and virtual twins of physical products, there’s no dearth of tactics your brand can utilise to reach new audiences through innovation.

When it comes to brand strategy in the metaverse, one thing is clear. Success comes to brands that speak to their authentic brand identity. Whether it’s Sotheby’s, the Gucci Garden, or Vans’ Skatepark, early metaverse successes are designing immersive virtual experiences that express who they are or what they value instead of treating it as an alternate stream of revenue separate from their physical reality.

Ready To Transform Your Digital Presence?

A little strategy and a lot of research will take your business a long way in establishing an organic brand presence in the metaverse. Metamaxx can help you identify the right modern consumer engagement paradigms for your brand to unlock its true potential in the metaverse.
We’re working on some exciting metaverse projects, helping brands evolve and stay relevant in today’s dynamic consumer landscape. If you’re ready to pivot into the immersive virtual worlds or test the waters, we’re ready to partner!
To learn more about our services, visit www.metamaxx.io

 

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