How Small Businesses Can Use the Metaverse to Increase Their Customers The metaverse has endless potential in improving the returns and customer sales
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Metaverse. The buzzword of last year.
71% of business executives think the metaverse would be suitable for business, and that's probably why the big wigs of business have already stepped into it.
But what does metaverse entail for smaller businesses?
In its literal sense, the metaverse is a digital alternative to the real, physical world. It is a realm where digital and physical worlds combine and offer people new, immersive, 3D experiences.
Regardless of its glitz and glamor, the metaverse is still surrounded by a lot of skepticism, with people going as far as calling it a fad. But the internet was also labeled as a fad many years ago.
Look where we are now.
The metaverse may potentially be the revolution we expect from the future. And this revolution may already have begun. So, it might be a good time for businesses to learn what it promises, see its benefits, roll their sleeves and dive in.
How will the metaverse influence small businesses?
Retail and eCommerce are among the industries that stand to gain the most from the metaverse, even while it is still in its early stages.
Here's how the metaverse is expected to revolutionize, or at least evolve, the current business scene:
Revamped shopping experiences
The metaverse is expected to blur the lines between digital and physical and merge online and offline shopping experiences, creating a more immersive eCommerce ecosystem.
If the Big Techs manage to deliver on their vision, customers would be able to put on their AR/VR headsets and go into virtual malls, browse through virtual stores, speak with digital salespeople and enjoy an outdoor shopping experience, all while staying in the comfort of their home.
And a fraction of this "future" is here already with the introduction of AR in retail. Online furniture retailers Wayfair and IKEA started offering AR experiences to their customers, so they could try furniture before making a purchase.
So, for small businesses, the early waves of the metaverse bring an opportunity to get into AR and deliver on the current customer expectation — giving them the ability to "try" things before they can buy as they shop online.
New customer engagement approach
The metaverse may take the current digital marketing approaches to the next level, offering new opportunities for brands to engage and communicate with their audience.
With the metaverse approach, community building might take an exciting turn where businesses can organize live, immersive and significantly more engaging events such as virtual tours and 3D webinars. This could be a kind of local gathering where the audience has the opportunity to meet and engage in a highly interactive way.
With these personalization capabilities, businesses can try new ways to hook their audience and keep them engaged, potentially building more substantial and profitable partnerships.
A new form of advertising
With entertaining content in different sectors, such as virtual gaming, comes opportunities for advertising where businesses can put up their ads for people to see. Virtual sign boards can also potentially drive exposure, similar to physical billboards.
With the metaverse's immersive content offerings, businesses can try new ways to drive the audience's attention through 3D interactive ads and leave a more profound impact.
Increased exposure to a massive audience
Even with the ease of eCommerce, people still like to make in-person brick-and-mortar store visits. The metaverse is free of geographical constraints, meaning you can offer an in-person store experience to your customers. As a small business, Metaverse stores can bring down investments in real estate.
Customers can have great experiences at fantastic stores through personalization. Engaging avatars acting as your sales associates may reach and influence more people by offering individualized experiences.
Apart from salespeople, the metaverse may also allow you to personalize your virtual stores according to each individual's moral, social and cultural beliefs and take web personalization to a new level.
First mover advantage
The metaverse could be the next internet. It could be the shift of this century. And it could be nearer than you think.
That means people who accept the metaverse as the possible future and adopt a progressive approach might be able to enjoy the first-mover advantage.
They may learn the ropes sooner, understand the nuances, and find solutions before their competitors even get there. These businesses might be able to establish their authority in front of the digital audience before anyone else. And more importantly, they might get a say in how the technology progresses and the laws are developed.
The metaverse as we know it packs unprecedented opportunities for businesses of all scales. From allowing newer levels of personalization to introducing a new business model, brands may have much to gain from this futuristic ecosystem.
However, the metaverse is a product of ambitious aims and massive promises, the realization of which depends on some appreciable technological marvels that are yet to be seen. So, while the metaverse continues to light up the horizon, its rise depends on how the technology develops.
Regardless of how the future shapes the metaverse, we are standing on the threshold of a new era, an era driven by Augmented and Virtual realities, and businesses that wish to stay relevant need to prepare accordingly.