The Metaverse is considered by many as the next significant paradigm shift for how people and organizations use digital technologies to interact, socialize and consume products and experiences. Let’s explore how companies can benefit from considering the Metaverse as a new customer experience (CX) channel to expand their digital footprint, enhance brand loyalty and deliver new value to their meta customers.
Metaverse, or multiverse?
As of now, the Metaverse is more of a concept than a reality. It can be described as a persistent collection of augmented and virtual worlds where users interact through their avatars and virtual identities. These augmented and virtual worlds live separately for now but will become increasingly interconnected to form a single interoperable Metaverse.
Digital worlds already exist in multiple formats with different levels of experience and interactivity. The term “multiverse” is probably the most suited to describe the plethora of decentralized worlds (such as Decentraland or The Sandbox), gaming worlds (such as Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft), virtual reality worlds (such as VR Chat or Horizon Worlds) and many other immersive formats with various play mechanisms (like casual gaming, music, content creation, fashion, quests, etc.).
Still in its infancy, the Metaverse is at the crossroads of multiple industries (gaming, ecommerce, social media, fashion, etc.) and technologies (virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, crypto, NFTs, IoT, etc.). Its development has been accelerated by multiple converging trends — an increase in the time spent online for work or social activities, the hyper-growth of ecommerce and the emergence of digital-native assets. These trends and technologies provide new opportunities for brands to interact with their customers and engage them with virtual products in immersive experiences.
The Metaverse as a new CX channel
Customer experience has become a critical factor in the customer decision-making process. Brands now have to deliver a differentiating and positive experience across all touchpoints to meet their customers’ evolving expectations. To do so, brands usually implement an omnichannel CX strategy to streamline customer interactions across all touchpoints in a unified way and deliver a consistent brand experience. These touchpoints usually include stores, websites, social media and advertising, as well as customer support channels such as the voice channel, interactive voice response, email, chat or chatbot.
As a highly immersive and interactive environment, the Metaverse has the potential to become a new CX channel, where brands can deliver differentiating services and experiences. Many brands such as Walmart, Gucci, Nike and McDonald’s are already using the Metaverse as a CX channel where they augment themselves, expand their digital footprint, and develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with their customers, increasing customer loyalty and generating new revenue streams.
First steps into the Metaverse
The Metaverse is complex. Its definition remains blurry and its future unknown. However, brands should progressively integrate this immersive environment as part of their CX strategy to remain relevant and attractive for tomorrow’s meta customers. A flexible, iterative and customer-centric approach will offer the opportunity to test, learn and continuously adapt to the evolution of technologies and customer behaviors while capturing value and insights along the process.
We have listed a few considerations to help you develop your Metaverse strategy:
- Do your research. Brands should start by exploring the different concepts, technologies and trends to develop a sufficient knowledge of the industry and stay on top of its evolution.
- Align your strategy with your target audience. Brands should first determine if they want to strengthen their existing customer base or capture new audiences. Currently, Gen Z and millennials are the most active participants in the space.
- Focus on a specific objective for your first Metaverse activation. What do you want to accomplish for your brand? Are you looking to increase your brand awareness with younger audiences, like Walmart with the launch of Walmart Land? Are you launching a new segment of digital products, like Balenciaga and Adidas? Are you trying to collaborate with your community to gather insights and co-create with your customers, like Nike and its upcoming .SWOOSH Web 3.0 platform? Are you looking for an event-based activation such as TCL Electronics and their Halloween-themed party in Roblox?
- Choose the right platform to serve your specific goals. Gamified platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite offer a great way to tap into a large number of users, specifically Gen Z and millennials. Decentralized platforms like Decentraland or The Sandbox might offer a lower level of experience and a reduced number of users, but they can connect your brand with a population familiar with Web 3.0 and decentralized technologies (NFTs, digital assets, cryptocurrencies, etc.). Virtualized stores, or 3D digital stores on your website, offer an opportunity to blur the lines between gaming and shopping and offer the possibility to integrate immersive ecommerce functionalities. Other photorealistic platforms such as Spatial can also be a great way to create and test new experiences.
- Explore NFTs and digital ownership. Use cases for NFTs are abundant. They can enable digital ownership over any type of digital and physical assets. They’re considered by many to be the most important building blocks of the digital world and offer new ways to create value for brands and their customers. The Metaverse can be a place to explore and test NFT concepts, offering opportunities for your customers to collect and even co-create with your brand. They represent an innovative avenue to build your community, engage with your customers, reward them and develop long-lasting relationships.
- Experiment, gather insights and adjust quickly. Integrate creativity, experimentation and a continuous customer feedback loop to remain agile and aligned with your customers’ needs and expectations.
Customer support, protection and engagement is key
To deliver a successful meta customer experience (MCX), it’s also crucial to offer the appropriate level of customer support, protection and engagement.
- Customer support. As you develop your Metaverse strategy, provide the highest level of customer care and technical support through a 24/7 omnichannel approach to ensure a positive, smooth and seamless experience. You can also enhance your customer experience through self-service solutions and intelligent conversational automation to deliver fast, personalized support.
- Customer protection. Implement an identity verification mechanism to protect your meta users. In addition, guarantee safe and secure payment options to build trust and confidence in the system early on. Provide an adequate level of content moderation to detect inappropriate content and behaviors in-game as well as on social media.
- Customer engagement. Use your virtual experiences to engage your customers in new ways, with activation strategies involving avatars that can provide in-game services, support and guidance. Integrate gamified quests and experiences led by brand experts, fans, influencers or community managers. Implement meaningful community engagement strategies on social media to increase usage and monitor in real-time brand health and sentiment.
The next iteration of CX
According to the “McKinsey Metaverse Consumer Survey” (February 2022), U.S. consumers are expecting to spend almost four hours per day in the Metaverse in five years. The Metaverse is set to become a leading CX channel for brands to delight their customers and engage with them in more meaningful and immersive ways. Now is the time to define the foundations of your Metaverse strategy and experiment for and with your customers, while guaranteeing the highest level of customer support, protection and engagement.
As the frontiers of Web3 and emerging engagement channels such as the Metaverse and NFTs continue to grow in influence, we’re partnering with brands ready to explore the opportunities offered by a more immersive customer experience. Connecting industry expertise with our network of world-class Web3 partners, Foundever™ is helping to design, build and support Web3 engagement strategies that deliver tangible value and lives up to the hype.