Continued from Part I here.
HOW DO I GET STARTED
Things are happening fast and you will need to get started immediately if you want to keep pace with your customers and competitors. Here is a quick resource list that will help you learn more about The Metaverse and how you can leverage the underlying technologies immediately creating value for your organization.
3D models — Are the backbone of all immersive content. These can be made or captured in 6 ways, each with different levels of cost, skill and utility. Don’t worry if you don’t understand this, here is an Intro to 3D video explainer to help.
- 3D Modelling (Blender, Maya, Cinema 4D)
- CAD Modelling (AutoCAD, Solidworks)
- Photogrammetry (Capturing Reality)
- Professional LiDAR (BLK360)
- Consumer LiDAR (Samsung S20+/S21, iPhone 12/13 Pro, iPad Pro)
- 3D Asset Stores (Sketchfab, Turbosquid, CG Trader)
Game Engines — These creator platforms are where the magic happens when you take 3D assets (models and environments) and make them into fully interactive experiences that can be shared with billions of people. While there are more options, here are the most important ones;
- Unreal Engine — From the makers of Fortnite, Epic Games, this game engine focuses on AAA games, Hollywood movies and photo realistic games and experiences. (Unreal Engine)
- Unity — Publicly traded (NYSE:U), with a market capitalization of over $30b, Unity powers over 60% of all mobile apps and games. (Unity)
- MetaVRse — A relative newcomer to the game engine space, MetaVRse differs in that it is 100% web-based and therefore can be published directly to the web without app store permissions or commissions. (MetaVRse)
Avatars — One of the most important things in the Metaverse is not a thing at all, it is us as we decide how we want to be represented in the virtual world. Avatars can range from blocky characters (Roblox) to cartoonish avatars (Wolf3D) to photorealistic beings that are quickly becoming so real you can feel it (MetaHuman). Avatars are vital to human-to-human communication and will unlock unlimited opportunities for brands that get it.
Payments — There is nothing worse than re-inventing a communication category and bringing old world payment ideals in. Payments from within the 3D world need to be fluent and seamless across devices. Companies like Mastercard are pioneering this in their Labs-as-a-Service division. (Mastercard)
NFT’s — How can we forget about the hottest trend in 2021, non-fungible tokens or NFT’s. The ability for artists to share their work with millions while allowing a few to actually ‘own’ the digital asset and secondary markets to resell such items. As a proof of ownership and provenance of both physical and digital items, NFT’s will become more important as we see the rise of the creator economy within the Metaverse customers and players will be able to carry their avatars and virtual goods across platforms. (NFT x XR = Magic!)
“We absolutely saw AR take off in major ways during the pandemic, particularly in response to retail and shopping, with virtual try-on experiences from previewing furniture and products in your home with everyday brands like Amazon to virtually trying on luxury fashion labels such as Gucci,” says Dr Helen Papagiannis, a leading AR influencer and author of the book Augmented Human. “Once a ‘nice-to-have’ feature, AR has quickly become an essential technology for retailers.”
At the end of the day, engagement is great, but it is conversion that matters and Interactive 3D is driving conversion rates higher than any other medium that has come before. It’s putting customers in charge of their own retail experience like they would in any brick and mortar store. It’s giving them wonder, exploration, excitement and joy.
Future Consumer and Brand Benefits in The Metaverse
- Real-Time Customer Support — Imagine having customer support avatars both real and AI driven answering your customer questions instantly, in real-time. This is the ultimate customer support system.
- Build stronger emotional relationships — Shopping is a visceral experience and one that connects consumers with brands they love. eCommerce tends to be transactional and less about the experience. With The Metaverse, you can build new and lasting relationships with your customers.
- Interactive vs. Passive Content — Only 3% of the content on the internet is ‘interactive’ meaning everything else is passive viewing (photos, videos, endless scrolling). Interactive content allows for exploration and self-discovery. This is the future of the internet.
- Re-merchandise the entire store in one click — Instead of designing a store in CAD, building a physical ‘demo’ store, testing and then build-out, you simply click ‘publish’ and instantly your entire virtual storefront is re-configured. You will also get instant feedback of your new designs so you can make adjustments in real-time.
- Unlimited Aisle Shopping — Why offer what everyone else is? With The Metaverse, you have the ability to think outside the box and include products you never thought were possible to sell online. Any and every product you can imagine can be brought into virtual experiences.
- Social eCommerce — Shopping alone is ok, but shopping with your friends is magical. What happens when your friends are located around the world? Share any Metaverse experience with friends as avatars and get that rush of finding new products together.
- Enhances brand recognition — Brands that use XR and Metaverse technologies are seen by the world as ‘innovative’, ‘forward thinking’ and ‘cool’. What does your brand stand for with consumers?
- Let customers “try” before they buy with a 3D product preview — From Virtual Try-On’s (VTO’s) for makeup, glasses and jewelry to seeing products in your home or office, 3D product views offer a deeper understanding of your products in the eyes of consumers. Here is a deeper article on VTO’s.
- Display additional information about products shown — Why show only photos of the outside of your products if your secret sauce lies underneath the hood. Take consumers on a product journey into your product from galaxy scale to molecular level, you can do anything…it’s The Metaverse!
10. Visualize product catalogs — Photoshoots are so pre-pandemic! Using virtual photoshoots saves money, creates endless opportunities and allows you to re-take any product shots instantly without setting up the whole photoshoot mumbo-jumbo.
11. No display write offs — Physical displays cost real money and once created cannot be easily edited or changed. Digital displays allow you to make unlimited changes instantly with zero waste.
12. Create experiences that can only be virtual — Want to fly around the moon? Want to dive under the ocean? Where would your product really shine? The Metaverse is infinite and completely yours to build…get creative!
13. One-to-many personalized service at scale — With the advent of AI and Avatars, you will be able to provide personalized service from a one-to-many model that feels the consumer like one-to-one. This is the ultimate in customer service at a global scale.
14. Real-time Analytics changes the game. — By getting real-time analytics and applying these to holistic consumer insights gleaned from your total omnichannel operations, you can get closer to the brand panacea of just-in-time, hyper-personalized retail experiences at global scale with infinite opportunities.
15. Virtual Reality for Sales — The Oculus Quest 2 is a self-contained unit with very good visual performance, spatial sound, and excellent hand tracking at a remarkable $299 price point. The headset is capable of supporting compelling enterprise applications to experience presence for product demonstrations or virtual showrooms. A Quest 2 headset can be sent to a client for less than the cost of a salesperson’s visit and used to demonstrate a product in a much more engaging way than a typical video or slideshow.
These are but a few of the massive benefits you will leverage through XR and Metaverse technologies acting in concert to bring your new brand experiences to your customers in a whole new way.
The Metaverse unlocks the power of exponential technologies to create value for your customers at scale. The power of this new communication medium is in your hands. As ethical marketers, the future is yours to create…yours to design a world that you will be proud to tell your grandchildren you helped build. How you leverage this incredible new technology is up to you, I hope you choose to serve humanity well.
23 Additional Resources to help you understand the Metaverse and how your brand can add value now and in the future. CLICK HERE.
To learn more or get a personal consultation on how your brand can leverage the transformative power of the Metaverse, contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Author
Alan Smithson’s purpose in life is to inspire and educate people to think and act in a socially, economically and environmentally responsible way.
Alan is a TEDx Speaker, Podcast Host and was featured on Dragons’ Den. He was a professional DJ for more than 20 years performing for millions of people winning DJ Mag’s Innovative Product of the Year in 2011.
READ PART I HERE