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Metaverse – The virtual world and new customer experience

Author —Abel M. Cherian8 mins read25 Nov 2022
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metaverse-the-virtual-world-and-new-customer-experience

When Facebook announced its foray into the metaverse and the subsequent rebrand to ‘Meta’ in October 2021, the news took the internet by storm.  The metaverse has been a hot topic for tech geeks and businesses ever since. The metaverse presents endless possibilities for enhancing the customer experience and interactions with organizations. Let’s have a closer look at what the metaverse is and how exactly it enhances the customer experience.

What is the metaverse?

Despite all the internet hype, the metaverse still remains a lesser-known concept for the majority of consumers. 

Those in the know consider the metaverse the future of the internet. The name metaverse comes from two words. “Meta,” is the Greek word for ” beyond, ” and” universe”. In short, the metaverse is a digital world beyond our physical one.

The metaverse opens up a whole new digital world of rich interactive experiences. As per Facebook, the metaverse is a hybrid of today’s online social experiences augmented into 3D or launched into the physical world. This thrilling new reality integrates the shared online space. You can create your own avatars to explore the massive digital world. You can walk, play, interact with people, go shopping, or even make transactions in the digital world. What more? The metaverse has been the host of several marriages, primarily due to several restrictions on the guests during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In short, the metaverse is a whole new digital world that exists parallel to the real one.

Why is everyone speaking about the metaverse?

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced   Facebook’s new avatar as Meta, the metaverse has been the center of attention, from serious discussions to water cooler gossip. According to Zuckerberg, the metaverse is the future of the internet, bringing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) together to make us feel present in a common virtual space despite physical distance. 

Facebook is not the only company interested in the metaverse. Video game giants, Epic Games, are keen on exploring the metaverse too and have made a significant investment in the technology. Tech giants Microsoft and Nvidia are also exploring the possibilities of the metaverse, pushing the boundaries of their hardware and software capabilities. Nvidia even has its own platform, the omniverse.

Major tech companies are investing heavily in  R&D, hoping to explore more dimensions in the metaverse. While we expect to see the metaverse at its full potential in the near future, AR & VR are already popular technologies. One thing is for sure, the hype about the metaverse is real, and so are the opportunities and potential it brings.

History of the metaverse

In 1992, Neal Stephenson, an American author, coined the term ‘metaverse’ in his sci-fi novel Snow Crash. In his book, the metaverse is a virtual world occupied by people using avatars.

With the launch of the video game Second Life in 2000, the metaverse went from a concept in a novel to become a reality. With over a million users, people could have virtual avatars interact with each other and even attend virtual concerts by artists like U2. However, a few years down the road, Second Life became a forgotten endeavor.

The concept of the metaverse is a favorite among filmmakers too. We have seen a glimpse of the metaverse and virtual reality in sci-fi films like The Matrix (1999), Summer Wars (2011), and Ready Player One (2018). Apart from films, popular games like PokémonGo, powered with augmented reality, hooked millions onto the virtual world of Pokémon through their smartphones.

All said the metaverse is still in its nascent stages. However, this technology holds a lot of promise. With Facebook’s latest announcement, businesses and organizations are keen on exploring the metaverse to its fullest, making way for an enriching new customer experience.

A rich customer experience in the metaverse

a-rich-customer-experience-in-the-metaverse

More and more businesses are now investing in the metaverse, having understood its potential in enriching the customer experience. .Here’s a look at how the metaverse enhances the customer experience.

Personalizes the customer experience

The key feature of the metaverse is personalization for users in the virtual world. A person who enters the metaverse can personalize their avatars and interactions in the space. This is what a business should use to create a unique customer experience for the user.

The metaverse enables businesses to create custom ad campaigns using augmented reality. Based on age, gender, or the user’s interest in social networks, they can design personalized ads. 

Data collection about users will become customer-centric. As for the customer, this personalization enriches their experience and strengthens their loyalty to the business.

Gamifies the customer journey

Nowadays, when user interaction with physical stores is diminishing, the metaverse creates an immersive new shopping experience. People use avatars to interact with people and businesses in worlds just like in video games.

Some experts believe that the next big thing in the world of commerce will be ‘metaverse-commerce.’. Clearly, gamification has an impact on the way customers interact in the virtual world.

A tool for differentiation

The innovative concept of the metaverse is an opportunity for your business to be a standout.  Early players in the virtual world get a head start in the race to create a better brand image.

Additionally, brands that innovate through omnichannel engagement strategies have greater customer loyalty. Apart from being a standout in the market, the metaverse fosters richer customer interaction.

Transforming customer service

The metaverse imagines innovative methods for the customer to shop and improve customer relations with the brand.

In the metaverse, businesses can create holographic images of their agents. These agents help the customers directly with their queries, giving them a realistic yet convenient customer service experience. Agents can even conduct demonstrations of products in the virtual universe using AR or VR technologies.

That’s how the metaverse allows for evolved and enriched customer service while maintaining a human approach.

Make the best out of the metaverse

To create an incredible customer experience in the metaverse, it’s necessary for the business to understand the technology better and plan subsequently. Here’s a closer look at how you can make the most out of the metaverse.

Going deeper into the metaverse 

Before investing in any technology, it’s best to learn how it works. To create an incredible customer experience in the metaverse, research is key. Knowing how the metaverse functions and understanding how to create real-time content are vital know-how for anyone interested in this virtual universe. The most important is to understand the functioning of its supporting technologies like AR and VR.

Create different avatars for different roles

The metaverse is the perfect place to create a multitude of highly customizable avatars. You can create avatars for different roles like marketing executives, product managers, and customer support staff for your business. With this high level of personalization, the customer comes across a one-of-a-kind experience with your business, increasing their interest, and trust and enhancing your brand image.

Design a customer journey

Gamifying the customer experience is the key to winning their attention in the metaverse. Understand what they want, what they do, what’s catchy enough for them to visit your store, and what keeps them interested. Design a customer journey accordingly. Plan for cashback, and formulate novel ways to solve customer queries. Make their metaverse journey immersive and unique to ensure your business leaves a lasting impression. 

Make it as human as possible

To create a memorable experience in the metaverse, the users must feel a human touch during their journey with your brand. For example, if a customer has a query regarding your brand, they should be able to clear it within the metaverse maintaining the immersion. You can create segments, Q&A sessions, or other programs in the metaverse to converse with your customers. Honesty and transparency play a vital role in the customer opting for your brand over your competitors.

Test as much as you can

As the metaverse is a comparatively new and fast-growing concept, early adopters of this technology have a clear advantage over their competitors. However, venturing into the metaverse without ample testing could backfire on your business. Learn more about the metaverse and test your campaigns as much as possible. Try different avatars, formulate various strategies, and evaluate your results regularly before launching an immersive new experience.

Closing notes

Any great technology comes with its own challenges, and the same applies to the metaverse. With a comparatively new kind of technology, businesses must be extra careful about sensing and tackling the challenges.

The business must first understand its target audience to cater to its needs. Technology alone cannot handle all of the customers’ needs, so a plan that can tackle any contingencies is a must. 

With proper planning and care, a business will  create stunning experiences in the metaverse for its customers, introducing them to a never-before-seen experience and gaining their favor and trust on a whole new level 

Keen on learning more about the metaverse or thinking of how to leverage the potential of this exciting technology? Say hi to take the next step into your metaverse journey!

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