The Metaverse and the technology supporting it are still in their infancy. Despite this, experts anticipate that the Metaverse will have far-reaching impacts on multiple sectors of the economy. In fact, businesses across different industries are urged to educate themselves on the technology and how it could benefit or threaten their operations. Large tech firms like Facebook and Microsoft as well as many notable companies like Nike and JP Morgan have already started exploring the possibilities the Metaverse offers. Gucci recently launched a virtual gallery and Nike has produced several virtual products. Below, we review the potential the Metaverse has for the commercial world and why entrepreneurs should care.
The internet turned the world into what people popularly referred to as a “global village.” The Metaverse promises to do that and more. While the internet allows people from different locations to share experiences through text, audio, video, and image, the Metaverse could allow actual “physical” interaction. This system would enable consumers from across the globe to interact with a brand and its products or services in one place at any time. Ultimately, this will eliminate the need for businesses to launch different campaigns for different regions and allow for cheaper global expansion.
Immersive Consumer Experiences
Ecommerce allows consumers to purchase brand products from different vendors over the internet. However, it soon became clear that this online interaction limited the buyer’s ability to touch, see, feel, and try out products. The Metaverse could power this by allowing a more immersive experience, where consumers can interact with products as they would in a physical store. Instead of viewing different-angle images and trying to guess the measurements, buyers could try on the products on their avatars, which could boost sales numbers.
Immersive Experiences (Service Industry)
The immersive consumer experience could also improve consumer experiences in the service sector. In the gaming industry, game developers are already creating virtual worlds where gamers can interact with other players and gaming environments for a more exciting gaming experience. Providers in the gambling sector of the industry could also extend their services to the Metaverse. Just imagine it; the next time you cannot drive to Las Vegas for the WSOP, you could follow the entire world series of poker schedule, virtually, engaging with the players, watching, or playing the games, and more.
Virtual platforms like Sandbox, Fortnite, Decentraland, and Roblox have made millions of dollars selling virtual products. This unprecedented success could signal the emergence of a new and viable business opportunity. To take advantage of it, entrepreneurs can design and product virtual “twins” of their products to sell to Metaverse inhabitants. Several companies have already tapped into this revenue stream, with Ralph Lauren having already sold more than 100,000 virtual wearables since early this year. Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci have also launched virtual clothing lines.
Enhanced Product Development
During product development, developers often need to get consumer feedback on their product to avoid producing something nobody wants to buy. This process may involve extensive product testing, free samples, surveys, and more – all of which can significantly eat into the bottom line and delay production. The Metaverse and the virtual “twin” products recently mentioned can offer a viable solution to this problem. By creating a realistic virtual copy of their product, developers can give consumers real-life experiences of their offering and get feedback in real time.
Product testing works pretty much as the virtual twin concept does, except in this case consumers can interact with the finished product. This is very useful for the automotive industry where buyers often want to test drive new products before making a purchase. With the Metaverse, buyer avatars could try out vehicles from carmakers located miles away, which could significantly widen a business’s consumer base. Hyundai, the South Korean automaker, has already opened such a virtual space. Hyundai Mobility Adventure allows interested buyers to test drive new car models through their avatars.
Improved Collaboration and Engagement
Facebook launched a Horizons Workspaces demo that has since illustrated how the Metaverse could transform the workspace. While remote work previously filled in the gaps created by movement restrictions, its capabilities have proven to be lacking. Collaborators spend time staring at a screen in what is very different from normal employee interaction. Through the Metaverse, businesses can ensure more meaningful brainstorming and discussion sessions, meetings, and training, where people engage in a virtual workspace.
Wrapping Up: How to Prepare Your Business for the Metaverse
The Metaverse may seem like it is reserved for tech giants like Google and big names like Gucci but, over time, it will impact all industries. This is to say that a business, no matter how small, that ignores the technology, may face viability problems in the future. If only to maintain a competitive edge in the market, entrepreneurs should study the applications and impacts of the Metaverse on their sector. They can then try to adapt these applications to their own operations.