Are CX Professionals Ready to Create Metaverse Experiences?

The metaverse is here. But is it really here for brands and customer experience professionals?

Brands won’t be able to tap into the reality of the metaverse today because it will manifest over the next decade in stages, according to Forrester researchers. That doesn’t mean customer experience professionals can’t explore the new 3D experience layer of the internet.

“It’s wise for CX practitioners to start wrestling today with fundamental questions about what the metaverse is and what it will mean for experiences,” said David Truog, VP and principal analyst for Forrester. “There’s both enthusiasm and skepticism about the metaverse, and they’re both justified, but the fact is that more and more companies are beginning to envision what their presence might be in the metaverse, and how they’ll get there.”

CX professionals have both an opportunity and a responsibility here because the fears about the metaverse turning out to be a dystopia, Truog added, are much more likely to come true if CX practitioners aren’t involved. 

“So for the sake of customers everywhere,” he said, “I hope CX practitioners really step up and take the metaverse seriously.”

Big Brands Are Invested in Metaverse Experiences

Some brands are already seriously invested in the metaverse. The NFL is deeply immersed. Gamers certainly see it as a reality, too.

If you look at the brands primarily associated with metaverse experiences in the eyes of consumers, the list includes some heavy hitters:

  • Meta
  • Google
  • Oculus
  • Microsoft
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
  • PlayStation

Retailers such as Vans, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton have created immersive experiences in the metaverse. Nike has built Nikeland Showroom on Roblox to allow users to shop a virtual collection of Nike shoes, clothes and accessories. 

Samsung created an immersive experience in Decentraland that re-created the brand’s high-tech flagship store in NYC. Estée Lauder, Dolce & Gabbana and 70 other brands hosted fashion week, showcasing new styles in Decentraland, according to Ryan Cummings, Ph.D., director, research partner at UserZoom

“On Roblox, an online platform and storefront where users go to play games, with 42 million active global users, 70% of which are under the age of 16, a digital Gucci bag sold for $4,000,” Cummings told CMSWire. “Brands know that segment of brand-loyal customers will pay anything to align themselves with your brand in the physical and digital realms. Generation Alpha is not growing up digital. It’s now fully immersed and will expect these types of experiences.” 

Related Article: Time for Metaverse Customer Experiences? NFL Says ‘Yes’

Metaverse Exploratory Phase, It Is

Some practitioners associate metaverse with NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and Web3 as they explore.

Roc Prat, UI/UX designer at Printful, said he is, in fact, in the exploratory phase when it comes to metaverse experiences.

“I think it will be a great channel for brands and companies to impact their customers so as designers we will need to adapt to new formats and understand how the users behave and interact within a fully digitalized environment,” Prat said. “So far I’m just trying to get into concepts like blockchain, NFT, Web3, etc. I think knowledge is key to better designing all these new futuristic concepts.”

Although the metaverse is in its infancy, brands are monitoring any trends that may shape or affect their customers. This is the case for Cummings and UserZoom.

“From a research perspective, we are exploring ways our platform can enable consumers to conduct research in Web3, recruit and incentivize participants and what research methodologies are the most suitable to garner the best insights,” he said. “From a design perspective, we consider how designers can co-create, evaluate and validate consumer needs around digital experience, payment gateways (cryptocurrency) and assets (NFTs) that have cross-operability across various platforms: OpenSea, Horizon world, Sandbox and Decentraland.”

Cummings said his company sees several customers actively exploring parts that would make up the eventual metaverse. Customers actively conduct research around NFTs, cryptocurrency and Web3 experiences with their customers. Various reasons are driving research on these efforts around digital customer experience, albeit brand perception, new channels or potential new revenue streams, he added.

Related Article: CX Decoded Podcast: Marketing and Customer Experience in the Metaverse

Where Do CX Pros Begin in the Metaverse?

The big question is, where does the average brand go with metaverse experiences today? Entrepreneurs whose CX team is, well, non-existent and CX ownership falls on “someone.” Or the brands that do have a chief customer officer or VP of customer experience that reports to the C-Suite.

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