Yes, everyone is talking about the metaverse, but here are 6 commercial risks to consider

Metaverse is definitely one of the buzzwords these days, and brands are exploring opportunities in this space as well. For example, Nike has registered brands to prepare for entering the Metaverse, while brands like Gucci have bought virtual land on The Sandbox to prepare for the Metaverse. Fashion retailer boohoo even advertised on Paris Hilton’s Roblox island.

Just because these experiences are available doesn’t mean consumers will embrace them immediately.

In fact, a Gartner survey conducted in February found that 35% of consumers had never heard of Metaverse.

With the metaverse still in its infancy, there are definitely commercial risks for brands looking to enter this scene.

1. Consumer acceptance is not guaranteed

Less than half of the online adults in the US and UK that Forrester segmented exhibit behaviors and attitudes that could potentially make them early adopters and users of Metaverse-like experiences. Forrester ranks 22% as Digitally Immersive, also known as those who are currently intense online gamers and active developers on social media. Another 25% were classified as digital socialites who enjoy customizing their online profiles with creative tools to stand out from the metaverse.

2. Initial use cases are slow to expand to retail

Gaming platforms like Fortnite and Roblox have become popular stepping stones into the Metaverse, allowing users to customize their avatars, attend virtual concerts, and even explore with virtual friends. The next platform will be social media, according to Forrester, especially since Meta, for example, parks $10 billion annually in the Metaverse space.

3. Consumers won’t spend as much time in the metaverse as brands think they will

According to Forresters, consumers will spend only a fraction of their digital time in the Metaverse, even when more 3D or immersive experiences become available. For example, consumers could still use a website or chatbot when they want to buy toothpaste or order grocery delivery. That same consumer is only more likely to seek 3D or immersive experiences when they want entertainment, education, or exploration.

4. Ad models continue to live in the metaverse

Free versus ad-supported models play a role in deciding whether a platform will be mass adopted these days. According to Forrester, while gaming platforms and virtual worlds generate revenue through licensing and freemium models, they also offer advertising or product placement opportunities that will continue.

It remains unclear whether there is an opportunity for brands to offer completely free tools and services without using the sale of user data. While there is talk of moving away from purely ad-supported business models, Forrester says that clear alternatives have yet to emerge.

5. There is little interest in buying virtual goods

According to Forrester’s preliminary estimate of consumer interest, including the most likely early adopters, only 24% have created and sold digital assets. Half of them bought digital goods to decorate a virtual home or office.

6. There will still be in-platform currencies

Nowadays there are still in-game currencies in virtual worlds and games that cannot be used outside of the platform or the game. These are usually purchased with local currencies or earned as part of the gameplay. This is not expected to change in the Metaverse. While there will be new payment mechanisms that offer new ways to acquire in-game currency, Forrester predicts they won’t appear in the games themselves. This has regulatory and cost reasons.

Regardless, even high-level digital executives aren’t distracted by the chatter surrounding the metaverse. Forrester’s interviews conducted this year with these executives from 13 banks, retailers and insurance companies found that Metaverse is neither an interest nor a priority.

The metaverse is still a relatively new concept for most businesses and consumers. While some are making strides in this new area, others are still holding back as they explore the potential benefits to be gained from it. While the senior digital leaders Forrester surveyed are in no hurry to jump on the Metaverse bandwagon, there are still opportunities for them to get into this space.

Focus on digital experiences that provide near-term ROI: While metaverse may be the buzzword right now, leading digital leaders should still focus on creating core digital experiences that align with the accessibility, convenience and preferences of their consumers. According to Forrester, most B2C companies have strong websites and mobile apps. Their next step would be a more sophisticated use of mobile messaging and adding chat and voice-based interfaces to their portfolios.

Let the marketing team experiment with Metaverse-like experiences: Brands like McDonald’s, Gucci, Nike, and Standard Chartered are investing in the Metaverse and creating relevant experiences. As such, digital professionals shouldn’t be alarmed if their marketers also want to spend money on creating Metaverse-like experiences. In fact, Forrester described these as “unique experiences on third-party platforms” that would not yet impact core business.

Observe the behavior of current and potential consumers: It is important for digital professionals to keep an eye on enterprise tech companies. Forrester explained that as Metaverse tools become more popular in these companies, the likelihood of consumers adopting them increases, fueling the Metaverse trend.

Imagine and simulate future immersive experiences: The creation of a metaverse might still be in its early stages, but that doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t start looking to the future. There are some Metaverse-like experiences that allow for 3D events or even platform shopping. According to Forrester, these experiences will appear “long before a mature metaverse”.

Also, these experiences aren’t just about NFTs. Indeed, in the future consumers could buy, rent and use virtual goods even without NFTs or cryptocurrencies. Forrester advises brands to create experiences that are either more immersive or that bridge both physical and virtual spaces. Businesses can even create prototypes to test with their consumers.

Regardless, while digital pros remain silent about the metaverse, a Qlik study released earlier this year titled “Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution” states that over 99% of C-suite executives believe they are in the will hire new positions in the next 10 years. such as Chief Metaverse Officer, Chief Automation Officer and Head of Gamification. Additionally, 85% of respondents believe it will be important to have a Chief Metaverse Officer accountable for employee and customer experiences that span digital and virtual realms.

In addition to a Chief Metaverse Officer, 86% also believe it will be important to have a Metaverse Experience Designer accountable for employee and customer experiences that span virtual and physical realms and ensuring data flows seamlessly.

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