Image Courtesy of Meta
The Metaverse is making consumers across the globe turn their heads and it’s not just young people. Immersive technologies are quickly becoming more versatile, convenient, and enjoyable to use in our day-to-day lives and Meta has firmly established itself as a visionary in the space. Here, I’ll explore the reasons why the Metaverse is not just ahead of the competition, but a must-have for retailers and brands who want to achieve more using virtual commerce.
- Immersive Matters As Much If Not More Than Transactions: Today customers are spending HOURS in immersive environments, making friends, interacting, socializing, creating communities.
- Community Owned Virtual Worlds are The Future. Or more accurately the present, as it’s already happening. Metaverse removes so many barriers that existed in web 1.0 and 2.0 and, and allows for freedom. If you’re wondering, “who” is the Metaverse. The answer is EVERYONE. In fact, the Metaverse was created to empower people of all walks of life through a myriad of experiences that connect individuals with virtual communities.
- Go Where Your Customers Are. Whether they’re migrating from gaming platforms or just curious consumers, the Metaverse is occupied by current or potential paying customers. The way that consumers engage online is changing, with younger demographics already conditioned to shop and socialize through social media, AR filters, video games and immersive interactive, real-time content. We are witnessing a revolution in consumer be.
- FOMO. Believe it or not, many companies are creating Metaverse content because “everybody else is doing it”. This seems puerile, but the more retailers and brands using the Metaverse, the more accessible it becomes for everyone.
How did we get here? Where is here? And why it matters
While there is not an exact consensus, many agree that the Metaverse is a migration from socialized gaming—a community of consumers who care about interactive and immersive experiences.
And these are immersive experiences that consumers want to spend time in, live in, and form meaning connections in. For creators, this means more opportunity in the form of content creation and monetization within the virtual economy.
So what? Why do we need a virtual economy on top of a physical one? Well, retailers and businesses have an obligation to go where time and money are spent. According to Kasey Lobaugh, Chief Retail Innovation Officer, Deloitte “The Question is how much money will be spent in and on digital. Where will it be spent? How much time did we spend?”
How it lays out
An exponential corporate focus on the Metaverse may have more implications than any of us could have imagined. Even if a fraction of the 3.0 billion gamers generated upwards of $180.3 billion in 2021 (up 1.4% from 2020) migrate to the Metaverse, the numbers are staggering.
According to Sam Englebardt, GP of Galaxy Interactive, gaming is bigger than film, TV, sports and music combined.
And according to as Justin Hochberg, CEO of Virtual Brand Group:
“Here’s where I think people miss. They are thinking about this as a segmented lane, differentiating between e-comm, physical store, social media, et cetera. The thing about the metaverse is it’s all those things combined. Metaverse transcends omnichannel and should not be thought of as a 3rd leg of the stool yet as an infinite loop woven back to the brands commerce and transaction. The real goal is to treat things that you purchase, whether it’s on the blockchain or in Roblox or at the e-comm store and connect those things through the blockchain or other mechanisms that make it easy to verify ownership, create smart contracts that give you ways to incentivize your consumers and reward them, and basically tie all these things together.”
This simple differentiation, in and of itself, is an important clarification of the Metaverse, commerce, brands and retail.
True innovation can meet resistance because of the unknown and it’s human nature to debate WHAT it is and HOW it works when the real question we should ask is WHY. Why consider the Metaverse? Think of it this way: Interactive, socialization, communities of owned content are not new. Recognizing how many are participating is akin to Dorothy landing in technicolor.
Service providers do have the burden of education in C-suites and boardrooms because, I can assure you, the mechanics of the Metaverse, for example; ownership of identity, social sandbox worlds, synthetic media are not rolling off the tongues of leadership. Furthermore, retailers are venturing into virtual and immersive games, NFTs, and transactions.