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The metaverse is tipped to become ‘the next big thing’ in online marketing – and it’s not just big business who can take advantage. With the potential to change the way people and businesses interact online, it’s something that needs to be on the radar of all businesses. But what is it? And how can SMEs use it to boost sales and profits?
In this small business guide to the metaverse, our Dragon IS tech experts explain what is meant by the term ‘metaverse’ and the opportunities it could offer.
For many people, the term metaverse was first highlighted when social giant Facebook decided to change the name of its holding company to Meta. But it’s a concept that’s been around for a while, first being coined way back in 1982 in a science fiction novel.
Without getting too technical, the metaverse is basically a group of technologies that includes – but isn’t limited to – blockchain, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
Unlike a console game that stops the moment you press the ‘off’ button, the metaverse is its own entity – one that continues to exist and evolve even when you aren’t engaging with it, exactly like the real world does.
It’s likely you’ve already heard of, or even interacted with, some metaverse technologies. The popular multiplayer online game Fortnite, as well as cryptocurrency and video calls, all fall under the metaverse umbrella.
The metaverse represents the latest evolution of the internet, known as WEB3 (W3). By comparison, the online experience we know and use today, which includes email, social media, and E-commerce websites, is known as Web2 (W2).
One way the metaverse works is as a digital space where people can socialise, work and play. The growing uptake of metaverse digital currencies, as well as the opportunity for individuals to lead a pseudo existence in a purely online world, are considered to be big opportunities for businesses to take commercial advantage of in the coming years.
You only have to look at the way social media has transformed the way we communicate to appreciate the potential of the metaverse. Small businesses have been able to monetise platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram to reach, educate, and convert thousands of new customers. The technologies driving the metaverse offer similar – if not greater – scope.
Games like Fortnite, which is reported to have between 2.5 and 4 million active global users at any one time, demonstrate the huge captive audiences that are already engaged with the metaverse. And it is only one of a growing number of online worlds that are flourishing in this space.
In this way, the metaverse could become an extension of a brand’s marketing toolkit, perhaps even replacing more traditional and costly advertising methods entirely.
The biggest shift we could see with metaverse marketing is the opportunity to engage with consumers in new ways; one that blurs the boundaries beyond reality and fantasy and puts the consumer at the heart of the experience.
Like e-commerce and social media, the metaverse offers small businesses an opportunity to save money and level the playing field with larger competitors, whilst engaging with thousands, if not millions, of potential customers.
If you think of the impact of business closures during the pandemic and the ways in which brands had to quickly pivot their activities online in order to continue generating income, you’re not far from the potential of the metaverse. We’re talking about a shift from face-to-face interactions in bricks and mortar establishments to businesses operating entirely in the realms of virtual reality.
And it’s not just retailers. Fast food chain McDonalds has already taken steps to move their operations into the metaverse by offering home deliveries that can be consumed in virtual restaurant environments.
With rising fuel costs hitting businesses of all sizes in the UK, operating in the metaverse offers a way to unburden yourself of rents and energy bills, while still continuing to grow your business, something that is sure to hold mass appeal in difficult economic times.
The metaverse could also offer businesses a way to operate more sustainably and to cut carbon emissions, which will become more of a focus for businesses as Britain moves ever-closure to its 2050 target of becoming carbon neutral.
And while the metaverse and W3 may still be in their infancy, it didn’t take long for social media to crash onto the scene and reach the level it’s at today.
The metaverse is set to be the next big shift in the way we conduct ourselves online, and savvy marketeers are already investing now in order to be among the early trailblazers capitalising on it.
The metaverse is a highly complex and technical area, and one which relies on many new and emerging technologies. Success in the metaverse will hinge on first understanding how each technology works and fits together, as well as how to make the most of the potential opportunities on offer.
Our expert team here at Dragon IS team can help you to better understand the technical intricacies of the metaverse and how your business can best benefit. To get started, call us on 0330 363 0055 or email: .