How the Metaverse is Changing Consumer Engagement
In a society that places a high value on innovation, previously unimagined possibilities, such as an immersive virtual environment, have become a physical reality. As technology advances, so do consumer preferences. Moreover, we can’t deny that we spend a large percentage of our time online. As a result, there is a growing demand for immersive experiences that build a sense of belonging.
Consumers today want more than just product characteristics before making a purchase; they want comprehensive experiences, especially in the digital arena. When face-to-face interactions with customers are not possible, the problem arises. This is where the metaverse comes in, providing a way to feel connected even in a digital environment
Numerous businesses are exploring the metaverse’s potential. This trend is noticeable globally, as companies recognize the unique opportunities the metaverse presents. By developing highly interactive and personalized virtual environments, they are finding innovative ways to enhance their branding and attract a wider audience. These metaverse use cases are not just about technology, but about creating new avenues for connection and engagement in a digital-first world.
In this article, we’ll look at the metaverse’s impact on consumer engagement as well as the landscape of virtual interactions and the potential it provides for businesses.
Fusion of Reality and Virtual Experiences
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are one of the reasons for changes in consumer engagement. These technologies enable consumers to interact with brands in previously unimaginable ways. The metaverse blurs the distinctions between the physical and digital worlds, allowing for unprecedented levels of interaction.
For example, augmented reality is primarily used in fashion retail as a form of Virtual Try-On (VTO). Retail brands use virtual try-on to allow customers to virtually wear or sample clothes, accessories, and makeup, among many other types of personal effects. This technology, which even Google tests for its generative AI, creates a virtual representation of a product over the customer’s image, enabling them to see how the items would fit or look on them.
Adidas was one of the first brands to use AR VTO technology. They added this interactive feature to their app to help consumers make an informed purchase decision without actually trying on the sneakers. Another example is IKEA, which uses its Place app to show customers an augmented reality image of what its furniture will look like in their apartment.
Brands are also capitalizing on VR technology by hosting virtual events, product launches, and even entire stores within the metaverse. Companies are no longer restricted to physical locations; instead, they are exploring limitless possibilities in the virtual realm.
Notable example is Balenciaga, a well-known high-fashion label, which received praise for its innovative VR fashion show. The virtual reality runway, delivered to an audience of 330 guests worldwide via Oculus glasses, featured a dystopian autumn/winter 2021 theme. This ground-breaking approach heralds new opportunities for creativity and innovation in the fashion industry, in addition to cost-effective and scalable campaigns.
Digital Humans for Personalized Interactions
Today’s brands strive to give their customers a more immersive and dynamic customer experience. Experts in e-commerce agree on the necessity of making connections. Brands are rapidly adopting the metaverse in search of more immersive, authentic, and customized experiences, deploying AI-driven customer agent avatars, sometimes known as “digital humans.”
Digital humans are AI-powered, human-like avatars that provide consumers with a unique, engaging, dynamic, and lifelike experience. For instance, VoiceHumans produced Lia, a digital personal shopper. Lia advises customers on entertainment and shopping options.
Hannah is another example, developed by Hanwa Life, a well-known South Korean life insurance firm. Hannah is a virtual financial adviser who specializes in advising millennials and Gen-Z customers.
By providing realistic and interactive virtual brand experiences, the metaverse is constantly changing consumer engagement. However, the shift to virtual brand experiences is fraught with difficulties. Concerns about privacy and digital accessibility are essential factors that brands must consider in order to provide a seamless and inclusive experience for all users.
Nonetheless, businesses who use this technology will most likely be at the forefront of innovation. They can now establish stronger ties with customers in ways we could only dream of a few years ago. The metaverse isn’t simply a lense into the future; it’s a dynamic present that’s changing how we interact with people and with the brands we love.