The Metaverse for Business LeadersNatalia Persin
It seems like every business is suddenly getting ready for the arrival of the metaverse by opening digital shops and preparing virtual merchandise. Some are even purchasing land to build in a digital space.
But what exactly is the metaverse? And will it impact your business?
Read on to learn more about the metaverse and what you, as a business leader, need to prepare for.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a digital world that allows users to buy land, build homes, and even meet and chat with friends. It’s a bit like the game Sims or Minecraft, but instead of controlling Sims or avatars, you, yourself, are your character in the metaverse.
Most users access the metaverse with a computer browser or a VR headset. Some aspects of the metaverse are purchased using real money converted into digital coins to be used in the digital world. These digital coins are known as cryptocurrencies.
The metaverse can do things like allow a user to visit other locations in the world digitally. For example, someone could book a digital trip to the Pyramids in Egypt and then get to enjoy a video that makes them feel as if they are truly walking around them.
Basically, the metaverse will allow a user to enjoy the world around them without them needing to leave their home. They can even use it to visit stores and look at merchandise digitally in advance before deciding if they want to buy.
While there is plenty of hype around the metaverse, much of what it can do can’t yet be accessed. This is because the metaverse is still an emerging technology.
Is There Just One Metaverse?
Because the metaverse is a new and emerging technology, it is a little unclear whether or not there will be a single metaverse in the future, or multiple digital platforms to make up one single technology. As it stands right now, the metaverse contains several different platforms where users can explore the digital world, and no one platform owns it all.
Perhaps the technology will one day merge these technologies or at least build digital bridges to connect them. But as of right now, there are several separate platforms that make up the metaverse.
Why Should Businesses Care About the Metaverse?
Seeing as the Metaverse isn’t built completely yet, many business owners have decided not to concern themselves with it yet. This is the wrong approach to take.
Early adopters of technology are always the ones that end up profitable in the end. Just look at Amazon, which started the internet sales business in the 1990s and is now the biggest retailer in the world even though it doesn’t own any brick-and-mortar stores.
If you had told someone that the biggest retailer in the world would one day own no stores in the 90s, they would have never believed you because everyone had to shop in stores back then. But now people live in a world where they can’t imagine living without their online ordering.
Plus, Facebook and other large companies have already begun to prepare themselves for a shift into the metaverse. Facebook even changed its name to Meta to prepare. This shows that other successful businesses are preparing to shift, meaning the consumers are likely to follow.
Consumer behavior as a whole is changing. Now more than ever, people are accepting of technology and using it in place of face-to-face interactions. This means that it is unlikely people will shy away from the shift towards the metaverse.
Even if you are a brick-and-mortar business, like a restaurant. Don’t underestimate the power of the metaverse, as it can be used as an advertising tool.
Users spend time in the metaverse, and while they don’t need to eat or drink digital items to survive, there will likely still be ads in digital places to hang out. This means that by being involved in the metaverse, even as an in-person business, you can help to build your brand loyalty.
Therefore if your business would like to stay relevant and profitable in the coming years, it’s time to care about the metaverse.
What Should Your Company Do to Prepare for the Metaverse?
Just because the metaverse isn’t fully developed just yet, doesn’t mean that your company shouldn’t start making some changes. Some of these changes are small, but they will help the coming transition in the future.
1. Learn About the Metaverse
The most important thing you need to do right now is learn about the metaverse. But it isn’t just you, as a leader, you also need to get your team on board.
Once everyone starts understanding the metaverse and what’s to come, this can help your team and employees to come up with ideas and future plans to innovate. It will also lessen the amount of training you need to do later.
As you educate your employees, you might be surprised by how much some of them already know. Take note and use this to your advantage in the future when your company does start to make more permanent changes.
2. Experiment With the Metaverse
One of the best ways to learn about something is through hands-on learning. So after you teach your employees about the metaverse, consider testing it out through an avenue that currently exists on the metaverse.
For example, there are already virtual meeting spots in the metaverse that you and your team can use. They are a bit like zoom but in a more virtual-looking environment. This will allow your employees to get their feet wet in the metaverse before the time comes for them to jump in fully.
Plus, who doesn’t want to possibly hold a business meeting in the middle of the virtual rain forest or the virtual desert? It will also allow you some insight into the technology of the future and ideas of what can be approved.
3. Hire More Tech Employees (Or Train Current Ones!)
The world is becoming increasingly digital. While your business doesn’t have to integrate into the metaverse now, chances are, it will need to someday. Now is the time to start preparing by building on the training of current employees or hiring those who are familiar with tech.
For example, you may have a social media manager on staff, and she currently manages all of your social accounts. While she may know about Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, chances are she is unfamiliar with the metaverse.
Currently, people chat with each other through Facebook messaging and posts, but someday this may be converted into a new platform on the metaverse. Prepare your social media manager in advance by sending her to additional courses in coding or advanced technology.
This way, when the day comes when she does have to change her strategy, she will be ready.
In the same way, if you are currently managing your own socials and have no idea how to handle the coming of the metaverse, now is the time to hire someone to manage your social media. Once the metaverse is big, it will be very difficult to hire a professional to help you.
Beat the rush by hiring tech employees now while also giving your business a chance to innovate faster than other businesses that will eventually be looking towards the metaverse as well.
4. Think of How Your Business Will Look in the Metaverse
The metaverse is a fully digital world, which means if you offer a physical product, everything you know about business is about to change.
If you are a coffee shop, you will likely not sell much digital coffee, it just doesn’t hit the same as the real thing. But what you could look into is building a digital coffee shop where avatars in the metaverse could meet to chat in a social setting.
This digital building in the metaverse could have your logo on it, which will help give your business advertising in real life because, unlike the Sims, users of the metaverse will have to leave at some point to go about daily lives.
For tech companies, the metaverse is a major opportunity to expand your offerings. If you currently offer graphic design services, consider offering them in the metaverse.
The metaverse isn’t just for customer-facing businesses, either. Think of it this way, as a manager, you could use the metaverse to digitally tour a factory on the other side of the globe, allowing you to keep up with business without actually being there.
5. Explore Marketing in the Metaverse
Marketing will be a whole new ball game in the metaverse, and companies everywhere will have to re-think their marketing strategy. One of the reasons it’s important to be ahead when it comes to the metaverse is so that your company can be ready to market right away and stay competitive in a new environment.
Therefore, it can be a good idea to look into marketing in the metaverse in advance so you can get an idea of how your company will need to change tactics as the technology progresses. Perhaps instead of the physical strategy you have now, you may need to go to a more digital strategy.
This may require hiring a graphic designer to help or maybe even a marketer who has experience in the metaverse. Even if the metaverse isn’t popular just yet, it can help to start strategizing now, before you are pressed to implement the new plan.
6. Keep Up with the News
Beyond the five items mentioned above, there isn’t much your business can do to innovate on the metaverse now. You can begin building if you would like, however, due to how unclear it is about how the final technology will look, it’s hard to say if anything you build now will be viable a few years down the road.
Rather, you should make the simple preparations listed above within your company and then keep up with the news. Watch for signs and developments that a company similar to yours has innovated into the metaverse.
If one of your competitors moves into the space, then this is a clear sign that it is time for your business to expand into the metaverse as well, and you should begin to ramp up your efforts to expand your brand into the metaverse.
What Can a Company Do in the Metaverse?
Still struggling to picture exactly what your company could do in the metaverse? Below is a list of some (not all) of the possibilities the metaverse would provide.
- Allow customers to try products like clothes or cars digitally
- Allow customers to purchase virtual versions of real products for their avatars
- Offer a fun mini game customers could pay to play
- Offer rides in a digital amusement park setting
- Sell NFTs
- Sell items customers could put in their digital home
- Offer digital spaces for customers to spend time
- Sell digital tours of real places that a customer may want to visit
As you can see, the opportunities are endless and behind all of these possibilities are more in the background, such as data mining for companies, or work in the financial sector managing the cryptocurrencies in this digital realm.
Because the metaverse is digital, you truly can invent whatever you want. So even if you don’t see something listed here that your company can do, don’t be afraid to explore your own options.
When Will the Metaverse Start?
The metaverse isn’t a real place but rather another name for cyberspace, which means it already exists; it just isn’t fully developed yet. Thus it is already open, and it has already begun.
Your business can become involved in the metaverse at any point you would like it to, just know that the masses have not yet begun using it. But, like the internet, it will likely become popular overnight, and one day, you will be left looking back wondering when exactly it began.
Ready to Embrace the Metaverse?
Overall, it’s important for business leaders everywhere to embrace the metaverse. Like the internet in 1990, it’s in its beginning stages but is likely here to stay. By taking small steps now, you can begin to prepare your company for future movement into the metaverse.
This doesn’t mean you need to begin building in the metaverse right now. Rather, focus on creative innovation at a sustainable pace. That way, when it does come time for your company to move into the metaverse, you will be ready.