How the Metaverse Will Affect Online Business

November 20, 2023 / Internet Marketing

How the Metaverse Will Affect Online Business

If you think the metaverse is nothing more than a gimmick, it might be time to reassess its potential. In its first 12 months of opening, Nike’s metaverse store on the Roblox platform had over 21 million visitors. Nike, of course, is by no means the only brand buying up metaverse real estate and investing in a virtual store – many other businesses are doing the same. Here, we examine how the metaverse will affect online business.

What is the metaverse?

A metaverse is a virtual 3D world that people wearing virtual reality headsets can visit. Unlike the universe, of which there is only one, there can be any number of metaverses – people just need to create them. The main ones around today include Roblox, Decentraland, The Sandbox, CryptoVoxels and Somnuim, however more are being built all the time.

Inside a metaverse, people appear as avatars and can interact with each other and visit the many places that are there to be explored. These include music venues, 3D gaming platforms, virtual replicas of famous places, art galleries and of course, virtual stores. It’s a place where you can hang out with friends, meet new ones, take part in events and even go to work or study.

Its big advantage, of course, is that it enables people to do things that are impossible in the real world while making many other things easier and more convenient.

Who is using the metaverse?

The metaverse is an evolution of online gaming and as such is naturally attractive to the generations that enjoy those kinds of experiences. These generations, however, are getting older and this means a much bigger section of the population is more likely to enjoy virtual experiences. What’s more, by going beyond gaming, the metaverse is also able to attract a much wider variety of people. For example, the top three metaverse concerts (Travis Scott, Little Nas X and Arianna Grande) pulled in an audience of over 100 million between them. They would have had to tour for decades to achieve those audience figures in the real world.     

In the future, the metaverse will likely appeal to all generations, including to the very old who can use it to escape the loneliness that often blights old age. What’s more, it can be used for almost every type of experience, from visiting the doctor to finding a holiday home.  

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How the metaverse can affect online business

Online businesses will be affected in many ways by the evolution of the metaverse and here we look at what some of these will be.

Enhanced customer experience

Websites have limitations that the metaverse can overcome. Today the vast majority of websites still only show product photographs. Only the most advanced use tools like augmented reality. The metaverse enables businesses to go beyond these technologies, letting customers try clothes on, and see and interact with products in 3D.

The metaverse will also see the development of virtual assistants. With human-like avatars, advanced language skills and powered by AI and ML, they’ll be able to walk around virtual stores with customers, suggesting products, providing information and answering questions. This isn’t just a tool for retail either; it can be used for selling services, such as financial and legal products, and for delivering services, such as online courses.

The latest CX trend has been that of retailtainment, where brand experiences merge retail with entertainment. Due to financial costs, this type of experience is often limited to a brand’s flagship store. Creating retailtainment in the metaverse is less expensive to deliver and one store can be accessed by millions of people from across the globe. Metaverse retailtainment experiences can include a wide range of things, from special concerts, product personalisation (e.g., design your own trainers), gamification, fashion shows, prototype experiences and more.  

Scale

Just like having a website, a space in the metaverse enables a company to reach a global audience. However, they can do a much wider range of things at scale. During the pandemic, millions of students attended online lectures. In the metaverse, those same students can experiment in virtual laboratories or develop the skills of using virtual equipment. From learning how to operate a machine to operating on people, it can all be done safely inside the metaverse but with far greater numbers than in the real world.

Imagine those craft shops that let people paint pots in their own design and then collect them later after they have been glazed. In the metaverse, the customer could go at whatever hour they pleased, they’d still be able to paint the pot virtually, and they can still go with friends or chat with new people. The virtual design could then be created using robotics or 3D printing and the finished item sent to the customer in the real world. However, in the metaverse, the company wouldn’t have to pay for the physical store, employ people to work there or limit how many customers it could deal with at once. 

Getting started in the metaverse

Businesses wanting to create places in the metaverse today will need the specialist skills of virtual developers – something unlikely to be cheap. However, just as open-source programs like WordPress have made website building easy, it won’t be long before a similar app becomes available for building stores and other places in the metaverse. With metaverse platforms wanting more businesses to buy up virtual space, it makes sense for their owners to provide easy ways to create virtual experiences. As a result, it should get easier for small businesses to get a foothold in the metaverse.

Conclusion

In the coming years, the metaverse is going to grow in importance as a part of the internet. It will offer online businesses of all kinds new ways to sell products and deliver services, offer unique and highly engaging customer experiences and do new things at a scale not currently possible. These, in turn, will make the metaverse highly attractive not just to those who currently enjoy 3D gaming but to a much wider section of the population.  For information about our wide range of web hosting solutions, visit Webhosting.uk.com

Author

  • Niraj Chhajed

    I'm a SEO and SMM Specialist with a passion for sharing insights on website hosting, development, and technology to help businesses thrive online.

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