As digital marketers we have learned to remain agile, always ready to switch strategy based on technological advances and evolving markets – it’s important to understand how this impacts consumer behaviour.
As we dip our toes into the ocean of web3.0, we get a sense the metaverse is poised to radically change how we interact with brands virtually to consume content. The days of accessing content via a computer screen will eventually be phased out, instead being replaced by virtual worlds and users becoming part of the immersive experience.
Virtual reality will become the norm as VR headsets become smaller, compact, affordable and the tech continues to advance. These headsets will likely become as common as mobile phones within households. It’s also easy to imagine IT departments with organisations providing new starters with VR headsets.
In terms of sales, VR headset sales are growing YOY, with headset sales reaching 16.4 million in 2021 and expected to surpass the 34 million mark in 2024 according to statista.com.
With all of this in mind, it’s important that brands show they are future thinkers and begin to plan for the future. In terms of how – below are some of the ways brands can capitalise on the metaverse today:
1. Virtual campaigns and demos
When it comes to content, brands may think they are being innovative and on trend by increasing video media for consumers and reducing static, word heavy content when it comes to running promotions or campaigns. However regardless of the market they are in, the web is now saturated this type of content.
Tech-savvy marketers are aware of this and have already begun exploring alternative ways to reach audiences by purchasing virtual real estate in metaverses such as Decentraland, The Sandbox and even Roblox. You can see 20 brands that have already transcended into the metaverse.
But why might brands do this? By owning or renting land in the metaverse brands can build rich, interactive experiences for existing or potential customers to discuss service offerings, partake in immersive demos, speak with the team and much more. In this sense, brands can truly bring their campaign to life.
2. Virtual events and conferences
When it comes to planning an event or conference, both online and in person options come with certain limitations – the first in terms geographic location when it comes to attendance, especially for global brands, and the second due to a static, impersonal experience with a lack of real-life engagement.
With the metaverse, having the ability to reach a wide global audience, while ensuring an interactive and engaging experience could be the perfect combination for many brands. Similar to the example of campaigns and demos, business leaders can connect, socialise and network with customers or associates attending the event or conference.
Depending on the target audience of a brand, this could be a great option to explore today. However, it has to be noted that an audience with an understanding of the tech associated with virtual worlds would be key.
3. Virtual stores and showrooms
From a more B2C, e-commerce angle we can look at how brands have already begun capitalising on the progression of online retail. However it needs to be said that virtual stores don’t mean you have to only sell virtual goods.
On one hand, brands could follow in the footsteps of Nike who recently sold virtual shoes within the metaverse in their very own virtual store, Nikeland hosted on Roblox. On the other hand, similar to the virtual conferences, campaigns and demos, brands could think about setting up a vitrail store or showroom where users can enter, browse and purchase real life goods.
Virtual stores could bridge the gap between online and in-person shopping. The increased level of interaction when browsing provides a more in-depth experience prior to buying, perhaps reducing the risk of incorrect purchases.
Back to reality…
Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but as we hear so often when discussing web3, the metaverse and VR tech – we are still early.
However, that’s not to say brands cannot capitalise on the metaverse today, growing and developing alongside the technology, taking advantage of low hanging fruit. As marketers and stakeholders with a business we all want to identify ways to provide a better experience for consumers.
Thinking outside the box, brands can utilise the metaverse to give potential customers the interactive and more hands-on access they crave, being able to interact with products, services, test things out, demo them.
If your brand messaging is focussed on being first movers, innovative in the tech space, then your audience will likely expect that you to be early and at least begin to navigate into this new world.
The bridge: web2 to web3
Certain digital agencies, such as ColdChain are very aware of the need to bridge the gap between web2 and web3 and are focused on helping brands to make this transition. These agencies focuss on helping brands to purchase virtual land, as well provide strategic consultancy on how brands can capitalise on the metaverse, to just mention a couple services.
Over the next couple of years, we will continue to see this shift in online behaviour, with users craving a more immersive experience whether it’s to demo services, attend events or online shopping. Brands need to be agile, partake in social listening and not wait too long to cross this bridge.