Is your brand ready to enter the Metaverse? That is a question that you should be asking yourself if you aim for the growth of your company.
But first of all we must understand what the Metaverse is and what it is about, to separate what is hype from reality.
In 2020, around 84 million people used AR/VR technology regularly in the United States, with an increase of 110 million projected by 2022. According to the latest studies by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., businesses and consumers could spend on the Metaverse about 5 trillion dollars by 2030. Part of that money would be about 2 trillion dollars in e-commerce while digital advertising can reach from 144 to 206 billion.
Metaverse and virtual experiences
Put simply, the Metaverse is a digital ecosystem on the internet that is immersive, three-dimensional, virtual and interactive. This world allows participants to explore, play, work, shop and connect through different systems or ecosystems designed exclusively for those functions.
Each world created in this way has its rules, this includes types of memberships, monetization, formats and accessibility; generating a lot of possibilities for all tastes.
Today some businesses are already in the digital world of the Metaverse, such as the video game company Epic Games, Roblox or Microsoft among many others. Each one offers different experiences, for example Roblox allows its players to create and play in immersive worlds created and monetized by the users themselves. On the other hand, Decentraland is a three-dimensional and virtual world where users create visitable structures such as parks, buildings, galleries and recreation centers. All of this is powered by the Ethereum blockchain, but the economics can vary from company to company.
Fortunately, the Metaverse is not exclusive to entertainment, but also has educational applications or product samples before they are sent to retailers. For example, Microsoft is betting on its cloud services using its Mesh platform to create avatars and immersive spaces where users can collaborate with each other. This is key in a post-pandemic world where work environments have adopted a hybrid model and the Metaverse can help generate a better connection between the workers of a company.
Other big brands like Nike have turned to virtual goods, offering digital products such as shoes for avatars in virtual stores. This type of service is backed by social commerce, a leg of e-commerce that is growing by giant leaps and experts project it will reach 36 million dollars between 2021 and 2022.
On an educational level, anything that can be replicated in 3D can help engineers, surgeons, mechanics and more to work with their hands in virtual environments and learn without fear of making serious mistakes. This puts virtual classrooms back in the spotlight thanks to their applications in academia.
Art and virtual showrooms
The social landscape doesn’t just stop at shopping, but uses the Metaverse to create all kinds of virtual environments that accompany and support elements in the physical world. Art showrooms, product showrooms and changing rooms are part of the many possibilities offered today.
Artworks are exhibited in digital galleries where their real-world counterparts can be purchased, but they don’t stop there. At Decentraland they are already offering paintings and digital art, including NFTs created by users and artists.
Instead of renting a building to set up a showroom where they can present the new automotive models, companies can recreate that environment in 3D to release the cars in a digital space where users can see them up close, without queuing and with all the details of the real world. This type of presentation can be extrapolated to thousands of different products. Giving the user the ability to see, touch and analyze a product in advance increases the possibility that they will end up buying it.
Fashion could not be left behind, and people like to express themselves in the digital world. Many clothing stores like Forever21 already project sales of digital goods that avatars will wear while navigating the Metaverse. However, according to experts such as Mike Proulx, vice president and research director at Forrester Research Inc, companies must be patient since at the moment it is a very niche audience that is gradually expanding towards the common consumer.
What to do as a brand
The first thing that a brand has to take into account before entering the Metaverse is knowing its audience to regulate the speed of action in this digital world. If the demographic is young, there’s a good chance most are already in the Metaverse in some form or another. This means you should get in there quickly before losing the cut to your competition.
Speaking of competition, what are they doing?
Having a clear idea of the current situation of rival brands helps us measure the urgency to act in the virtual world. While this new universe can be intimidating, having subject matter experts on your team helps decompress work to focus on what’s important.
The agency hired to carry out a project in the Metaverse must be up-to-date in all the types of applications that our brand can have when entering the digital universe. Obviously an ecosystem as new as this introduces a new range of problems and risks, so the project must be carefully managed to experiment without great losses.