As the world increasingly moves online and into virtual spaces, COOs must consider how to best engage with clients and customers in these new environments. The metaverse offers a unique opportunity for companies to create engaging, immersive experiences that can help build relationships and drive growth.
However, the metaverse is still mostly conceptual, rather than operational. This means COOs must approach it with a strategic mindset, considering the potential risks of investing in an area of technology that still lacks an agreed-upon definition. By ignoring the metaverse entirely, on the other hand, COOs also risk missing out on a major opportunity to engage with customers in a new, innovative way. Navigating uncharted territory can be daunting, but with careful planning, COOs can ensure their company is prepared to take advantage of the many opportunities the metaverse presents.
Risk & Opportunity In The Metaverse
The first step for any company considering a foray into the metaverse is to understand what it is, and what it isn’t. The metaverse is still very much in its infancy and remains shrouded in mystery for many. This can make it difficult to know where to start when planning a metaverse strategy.
There are a few schools of thought on what the metaverse will eventually become. The most common conception is of a shared, virtual space where people can interact with each other and with digital entities in a realistic way. This could take the form of a virtual world like Second Life, or it might be something more akin to the holodeck from Star Trek.
Another common conception of the metaverse is a platform that will be used to power augmented reality experiences. In this view, the metaverse would be a digital layer that is overlaid on top of the physical world. This would allow people to interact with digital content in the real world, or to have digital experiences that are based in the real world.
Despite the lack of a concrete definition, there are a few things we can be sure about when it comes to the metaverse. Firstly, it will be a 3D space. Secondly, it will be interactive. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless. This means businesses can potentially create experiences to engage and delight their clients in unexplored ways.
The metaverse could be used to create proof of concepts and test new ideas before investment. Companies could create virtual showrooms or product demonstrations that allow customers to experience products in a realistic way, without the need for physical space or product inventory. Similarly, companies could use the metaverse to stage virtual events, which allow customers to interact with each other and with the company in a way that isn’t possible in the real world. The metaverse presents an opportunity for companies to rethink their engagement with customers.
How Industries Are Using The Metaverse
Industry leaders have already taken their first steps into the metaverse. McDonald's has recently filed 10 trademark applications in relation to a virtual restaurant where users can order food to be delivered to their homes.
Fashion and luxury brands have also been some of the key early adopters of the metaverse for product demonstration and sales. Gucci launched “Gucci Live" to recreate the experience of shopping in-store, from the comfort of your own home. Shoppers can interact via video with a real-life assistant operating from a remote set designed to appear like a Gucci store.
In collaboration with 3D online gaming platform Roblox, sportswear brand Nike has created its own virtual space "Nikeland". In this 3D arena, the brand can showcase its latest apparel collections and users can style themselves with virtual Nike goods. Global accountancy firm PwC Hong Kong also recently began to purchase digital land in Sandbox — another VR-based online platform. PwC hopes to use its digital land to host events and meetings, as well as create an immersive experience for its clients.
This is just the beginning. As the metaverse continues to evolve, we can expect to see more businesses taking advantage of this new digital frontier. For COOs, the metaverse presents a unique opportunity to engage with clients, create proof of concepts, and experiment with new ideas. It is an exciting time to be involved in the business world, and COOs who embrace the metaverse will be at the forefront of this new era.