The internet and mobile apps have changed the way consumers interact with brands. With a click of a few buttons, orders are made or issues are resolved, both without even stepping inside a physical store.
The rapid advancement of technology didn’t stop there. The metaverse entering the fold has opened up a new way brands interact with customers – through the form of digital 3D worlds. Almost three-fourths of consumers believe brand interactions in the metaverse are in a position to replace brand interactions in the real-world, or at least usher in a hybrid approach, according to a TELUS survey.
Customers are comfortable using the metaverse for gaming. But, they want to take metaverse capabilities to the next level and they have high expectations. Brand interactions need to be engaging and customized to meet personal interests. Customers also expect to discover new products through the metaverse, similar to the in-store experience where the customer walks through an aisle and something catches their eye that they did not expect.
That scenario leads into what consumers in the survey said would prompt them to interact with brands in the metaverse – the ability to try out or try on products and services in a realistic manner within the virtual 3D world.
“Unlike physical environments, which are limited by geographic and other barriers, these immersive digital 3D worlds open up a window of opportunity for brands,” said Michael Ringman, chief information officer at TELUS. “It offers them a space that’s accessible, allowing them to connect with consumers globally in unique and interactive ways, providing consumers with an enriched customer experience.”
There are concerns, however. More than half (60%) of people believe the metaverse opens the risk of individuals getting away with inappropriate behavior. Failing to provide a safe space in the metaverse is believed to be more damaging to a brand’s reputation than failing to do so on company websites and social platforms. Inappropriate behavior is frowned upon in a physically setting, so the same standard needs to be applied in the 3D digital setting.
To alleviate that concern, humans need to monitor content in the metaverse, as opposed to relying on AI alone. This can be done with something similar to content reviewers or moderators. On social platforms, content moderators make sure users abide by the rules set by the platforms. If not, those viewers are removed and possibly banned.
“As brands begin to explore this new platform, content moderation must be incorporated during the initial planning phase to ensure users experience a safe and inclusive environment,” said Ringman.
The metaverse, albeit early in its evolution, creates excitement among consumers. With that excitement comes big expectations on how brands merge the physical and digital realms for engaging interactions. New business opportunities are very much on the horizon with the metaverse.
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