There is some discussion about Web3 and the metaverse, but what will that world look like and when is ‘later’? Roughly speaking, five ways can be distinguished in which companies can use Web3 and the metaverse in the future.
Along with the hype cycle around NFTs, the word ‘metaverse’ is probably a trending topic on Twitter and in Dikke Van Dale. Both NFTs and the metaverse have many advocates and certainly the requisite skeptics. In any case, the metaverse is a vision of the future that is in the making and does not currently exist.
The next iteration of the Internet, Web3, will underpin what will eventually become the metaverse, and the building blocks of the decentralized web and metaverse will be rapidly evolving technologies. Blockchain, NFTs, AI, AR, VR, MR, XR, 5G, Computer Vision, IoT, 3D Gaming, edge computingetc. Success in Web3 and the metaverse will fall or stand with the amalgamation of social media, digitaland the virtual and the physical world on the blockchain.
(r)evolution of technology will especially affect Generation Alpha, Gen-Z and tech-knowledgeable millennials. Just like the internet and the mobile phone, it affects our daily life. Certainly we instead of targeting audience, will build communities where we as individuals – consumers – have control over our data, our identity, and it is also certain that the creative possibilities are endless. In the world of retailers, especially sports, fashion, luxury and brand manufacturers, we see a strong need to build communities and provide a better digital consumer experience. This creates a stronger bond between consumer and brand due to the enhanced options storytelling and offers immersive experiences.
For example, EPAM works with a computer game developer to take the gaming experience to the next level. For example, an infrastructure is being built for virtual concerts. This is a good example of the development of both the gaming and music industries, with players in it real time concerts from all over the world. Certainly not a replacement for real-world concerts as we know it, but an interesting new channel for deepening fan relationships. In addition, virtual car showrooms are also created, e.g. There you can virtually configure your car and then project it into your living room using Augmented Reality.
The metaverse should preferably be device neutral and therefore accessible to everyone via VR headsets, computers and mobile. It forms the strongest basis for co-creation and value transfer to new communities. Use of NFTs as a framework for attribution of e.g. access or digital activeit is an ideal channel to gather about, for example, live shopping – which lags far behind Asia in Europe and the USA – and live streaming.
The new shopping
Not everyone can participate in every fashion show. Make these shows available through NFTs, live streaming of the show and real time making clothes shopping possible in the metaverse will soon be one next level shopping experience. I think we like click to buy ugly experience to buy go. There are concepts where you will be present live and virtually at a football match with your VR headset and you can immediately order the football boots of your idol. You pay after scanning your iris.
For this reason, the growth of virtual goods, that is, everything that consumers buy online for use in a game or on social media, is also increasing strongly. On the one hand, because it is a sustainable business model, after all, you have no physical production, and on the other hand, to stand out digitally and shape your own identity. Last year, the virtual goods market reached $54 billion, which is already twice the size of the music industry. Soon, young people will all have a digital twin of physical products, they will wear self-designed virtual clothes, and access to online and offline events will be arranged through NFTs.
Exchange of value
For now, it’s all about adding a new channel. This is changing rapidly due to, among other things, ever-improving hardware: for example Meta Quest Pro, Apple Mixed Reality headsets, etc. The community that associates, interacts and identifies with the brand will want co-creation, experience and deepening of the relationship. What will be important is that there is always an exchange of value: physical, digital or virtual. The term ‘phygital’ is a new one the sum-word.
RTFKT, acquired by Nike, is a forerunner in this field, introducing innovative concepts by making smart use of Web3 technology. Adidas invests in Yuga Labs, creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club. The intellectual property associated with proof of ownership and certificate of authenticity takes many forms. Community members who purchased a Bored Ape NFT in April 2021 will use their IP to launch Ape Rave Club into the physical world and release music, Ape water and a variety of other product merchandising. From the community for the community. Gucci allows the community to deal with cryptocurrencies and the Ape coin: now it has more marketing value than market value, but if Walmart starts adding loyalty points or introduces a digital currency, you as a customer can do much more with your stored loyalty points. Already convinced of Web3, Starbucks is once again at the forefront of using Web3 technology to transform loyalty and build community with Gen-Z.
Ultimately, it’s about building open source platforms and programs that deliver such rich “wow” experiences that keep the community engaged with the brand, using NFTs, AR, VR, games, virtual co-brands etc. You now primarily see initiatives in which companies enter into partnerships with existing, often game-related, platforms and start-ups: For example, they get a place in the forerunners of the metaverse. Heineken and Bacardi, for example, are active in Decentraland, and they are criticized because the experiences are not good enough and the involvement is too low. The advice is to develop the platform for your company and brand yourself and see Web3 and the metaverse as an opportunity to deepen the customer relationship using new technologies. This enables companies to use first- and zero party data, to really get to know the customer. Where the customer, as part of the community, is much more involved in the company, the product and the brand.
About the author: Alex van Gestel is Vice President Consumer Products at EPAM Systems.
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