Consumer studies show that the modern-day buyer is terribly bored of brands blowing their own trumpet through static web displays and pop-up ads, and craves rich immersive experiences in which he/she can participate and decide. Metaverse offers such an experience in 3D and even 4D.
It’s like a virtual marketplace, where you can welcome virtual avatars of real-time consumers to your own virtual shop, pub, disco, or concert, from the comfort of their living rooms, and have them try and enjoy your products.
Businesses aren’t just hard selling themselves here, instead, they are allowing the user to try their wares, and then talk about them and endorse them on their own. This engagement marketing is a paradigm shift in the way brands interact with their consumers on the internet and creates for them more opportunities to use these consumer interactions for further more focused advertising and brand building. But it’s early days and Metaverse has its own challenges.
Despite the rousing welcome it has received from all quarters since its introduction, novelty could be a major hindrance to the popularity of Metaverse. In countries like India with low digital penetration and a seeming reluctance towards digital adoption, Metaverse is likely to remain an extremely niche urban phenomenon for a long while.
Plan long term
Which means brands will have to plan for the long term. Though first-mover advantage will be crucial in this new world. Big brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Mcdonald’s, and P&G realize that as they flock to it in droves. But the familiarity with consumer behavior in this new space will take time. Complete consumer adoption of Metaverse may still be years away. But educating the consumer is a must and will need patience and planning.
The augmented reality in Metaverse allows businesses to be more creative and experimental in their consumer outreach here. Examples of which we are already witnessing. For instance, singer Daler Mehndi has just become the first man to buy land in Metaverse. He has named the plot Balle Balle Land and has even hosted a musical concert on it. Expect more such experiments from even bigger and more familiar names and businesses in the days to come.
Keep it real
Metaverse marketplace is an exciting space full of cafes, restaurants, bars, and hangout zones, all of which have become sought out venues for everything from parties to fashion shows to festivals, sales, and even weddings! But brands needn’t forget one thing. Only the marketplace is virtual. The brand, its consumers, and its interactions are all real. So only the marketing and promotions can be virtual, not the claims.
Hook ’em up
But Metaverse is not a need-based marketplace, where return visits will happen on their own. One, only digitally savvy youngsters are likely to be its early adopters. Two, even for them to return to a virtual store of the specific brand after the first visit will require some amount of convincing. The hook will be the key.
Metaverse is a 24*7 universe and the data generated will be continuous. Consumer interactions will offer brands newer opportunities to use the data thus generated to co-create with their consumers. For instance, fashion brands can use real users as models for their products in fashion events. These models will engage with their friends and family to promote the brand.
Data was always a concern on the internet. On Metaverse, it’s as if that data has been put on a hypersonic rocket without being told where to stop. The risks get multiplied a million times, making the users wary. Those concerns need to be dealt with before everything else. Until that happens, it’s all actually just going meta.