- Expected to grow to USD 426.9 billion by 2027, the metaverse is a lucrative platform for brands to develop immersive experiences with consumers.
- Gaming companies such as Epic Games and Roblox have already hosted virtual events, with the likes of Gucci and Nike launching interactive experiences of their own.
- The metaverse serves business functions beyond customer engagement, such as job training, factory tours, and transportation simulations.
The metaverse may seem like an interactive gaming experience at first glance, but this next generation virtual environment is expanding to encompass work, social, leisure and even real estate opportunities. It provides an unprecedented opportunity for brands to develop immersive customer experiences and engagement. The main obstacle to success, however, is that many people do not know how to access this space.
Let’s take a look at some of the effective techniques that you can employ to develop a strong brand presence in this emerging digital space while outlining the promising metaverse business opportunities that await you.
Metaverse on the rise
According to data from Technavio, the global metaverse in the entertainment market is expected to grow by 7.41% in 2022. While a moderate rise, the metaverse is currently a concentrated one, operated by a few big players. The market’s true growth is expected to be realized over the next few years, as more competitors enter the market, and virtual reality (VR) technology continues to be developed and ultimately becomes more accessible.
Taking the rise of VR technology, Augmented Reality (AR), cryptocurrency, blockchain, 5G, and other emerging technologies into account, ReportLinker projects the global metaverse market will grow from USD 61.8 billion in 2022 to USD 426.9 billion by 2027.
Bloomberg predicts an even greater rise. Using data from Newzoo, PWC, and Statista, the company expects the global revenue opportunity for the metaverse to hit $800 billion depending on the gaming industry’s performance. While the figures may differ, there seems to be a consensus regarding the future of the metaverse as the home of gaming and virtual entertainment. But what metaverse opportunities await businesses?
Metaverse for business
The metaverse can be used for more than just regular gaming. Using VR, AR and mixed reality technology, the metaverse can serve as a platform for concerts, film screenings, and sports within 3D worlds. Bloomberg projects that the metaverse’s live entertainment business may grow to exceed $200 billion in 2024, with game developers such as Epic Games and Roblox already hosting events such as music concerts in the virtual space.
While this may sound promising, you might still be wondering how the metaverse can boost your brand in a way that other mediums cannot.
As a highly-immersive 3D world, the metaverse provides users with the ability to perform many transactions that highly resemble those of the real world. This includes signing contracts, recruiting employees, and even interacting with customers. One could even set up virtual factory tours, enabling customers to interact with machinery and meet staff members. Such virtual activities result in more personal customer experiences that aren’t limited by geographical barriers.
What’s more, e-commerce is evolving into i-commerce, otherwise known as immersive commerce. This means that purchase transactions are being triggered by deeper interactions, often in the virtual world. By building a presence in the metaverse, brands can have customer interactions that go beyond traditional advertising mediums.
By turning to the metaverse, many legacy brands are finding ways to generate revenue from their brand that never previously existed. While Nike has plans to sell virtual footwear and apparel for use in the virtual space, retailers such as Walmart and Amazon are looking to launch metaverse stores in order to enhance the online shopping experience.
One-time special events may also provide memorable brand experiences. In May 2021, Gucci held The Gucci Garden exhibition in online game platform Roblox. This event saw visitors’ avatars transform into mannequins. They were then given the opportunity to buy virtual Gucci clothing that they could then use to dress their avatars.19.9 million visitors attended, with one digital bag with an initial price tag of $6 eventually selling for $4,115.
While the metaverse provides many opportunities to develop brand loyalty through immersive customer experiences, it also provides non-consumer facing opportunities. The Metaverse could be used for employee training, the simulation of manufacturing and transport activities and even the release of product demos. But in order to capitalize on this array of lucrative metaverse business ideas, however, certain challenges need to be overcome.
As a new concept, it’s difficult to determine what consumers expect from metaverse interactions. Consider performing market research while also observing what other companies in your sector are doing. If you’re in the food and beverage industry, take a look at the metaverse campaigns launched by the likes of Coca-Cola and Wendy’s and identify their successes and failures. This way, you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Another major challenge could be building a community in an entirely new space. Ultimately, this requires brands to build entirely new customer experiences from the ground up. Some techniques for gaining favor with metaverse users could be setting up virtual showrooms where they can test out your virtual products or perhaps the sale of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that provide buyers with access to VIP events.
Gaming also provides a promising opportunity for growth in this space. In addition to your brand’s regular product line, consider developing products targeting gamers. These could be skins and other in-game purchases and upgrades that will ultimately provide you with an opportunity to capture one of the most influential market segments in the metaverse.
While entering this new realm may seem like a daunting task, trial and error is the best way to familiarize yourself with this environment. Should you be unable to afford to make mistakes with your brand, consider creating a false brand in a sandbox environment where you and your team can familiarize yourselves with the metaverse before investing.
Also, if your team lacks metaverse knowledge, consider hiring experts to help you along the way. Companies such as Gucci and Facebook have already made tens of thousands of hires in an attempt to build internal expertise.7
Building next-gen customer experiences
Considering the rising popularity and technological potential of the metaverse, building a strong brand presence in this virtual world can enhance your brand, both by providing existing customers with more immersive interactions and engaging with gamers and other audience members who would ordinarily not come into contact with your brand.