By Mark Purdy | Harvard Business Review
More and more firms are turning to the emergent metaverse as a way to reboot the customer relationship, incorporating greater elements of interactivity, personalization, and adventure in their interactions with customers. Put simply, the metaverse is essentially a collection of 3D virtual worlds in which users can interact, socialize, and trade digital products and services in a variety of different settings.
The metaverse can help put consumers in the driver’s seat in at least three major ways: 1) by creating new ways to discover and explore products, 2) by helping to fuse physical and virtual product experiences in more meaningful ways, and 3) by reestablishing connections between people and brands through AI-powered bots called “digital humans” that can interact with users in virtual environments.
Creating New Ways to Discover and Explore Products
A new car, a new home, a trip to an exotic location — many big-ticket purchasing decisions are hard to make in a static online environment, with limited opportunities for product exploration, testing, and advice. But many companies are already using the metaverse to change that.
For Celebrity Cruises, a cruise line based in Miami, Florida and part of the Royal Caribbean Group, the metaverse has offered a way to re-engage with prospective passengers following the devastating impact of the pandemic on the travel industry. It has launched Celebrity Beyond, the first virtual cruise ship in the metaverse. Potential passengers can take a 360-degree tour of the ocean liner before sailing, enjoy a stroll around the ship’s centerpiece Grand Plaza, or relax in the Rooftop Garden or Sunset Bar. Passengers can talk with AI-powered avatars of the ship’s captain and its designers, to learn more about the ship’s design and range of services. For land lubbers, Celebrity Beyond also provides virtual tours of many of its destinations, including Japan, the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe.
“A metaverse presence will soon be like having a website. Every company will have one or will be left behind. Companies need to start thinking about their metaverse strategy now if they aren’t already.”Omar Abdallah, Rose Law Group Web3 Lawyer