Bridge to the metaverse: 5 tips for the new digital frontier

December 20, 2022 08:53
Photo: Reuters

The metaverse is no longer science fiction but a place where more than 160 brands are already operating. Corporates and venture capitalists have invested large amounts in metaverse-related projects. For example, Hong Kong-based gaming company, Animoca Brands, raised over $359 million to build an open metaverse, and Qualcomm Inc. launched venture funds to invest in companies that are developing new technologies for the metaverse.

While the metaverse is primed to open a new frontier of opportunities in the digital economy, the possibilities are still coming into focus. A recent FIS survey found that Singaporean consumers are mainly looking to access the metaverse for shopping (44%), gaming (27%) and socializing (27%). Still a nascent ecosystem, infrastructure challenges remain before firms can dive into this new world of possibilities.

For instance, business leaders need to understand what plug-ins and APIs their organisations will need, so as to support various forms of money movement technology to enable smooth shopping experiences. Technologies that underpin the real financial world will be important in supporting functions in the metaverse like embedded finance, securitisation, wealth generation and taxation. Business leaders will also need to consider how to tap into more emerging payment forms in the metaverse such as digital wallets and crypto payments.

As more brands venture into in this new virtual world, I offer five tips to engage in the metaverse. Ultimately these are important considerations to grow the metaverse and attract users in the long run.

1. Ensure the metaverse is right for your business

Take a step back and look at the big picture. Is this the right strategy for you and your customers? Building a good understanding of the use cases for the various platforms and how they might benefit your business is key to ensuring you take the right approach – with new development coming out on a regular basis, there’s always a new opportunity or use case to consider.

- What are some use cases relevant to your business? E.g. advanced blockchain, virtual spaces, virtual business and markets, better social media presence.
- What companies have had most success with specific use cases? E.g. Gucci offers an interactive virtual exhibition in the metaverse with avatars acting as mannequins.

2. Meet your customers where they are in the metaverse

Ask yourself, which metaverse platforms are your customers on, if any? Metaverse platforms haven’t reached mainstream adoption yet, so your customers are likely to be exploring several options, many of which have their own platform-specific cryptocurrencies and some platforms with land for sale via better known blockchains such as Ethereum.

- What are some metaverse platform options that customers will likely be considering?
- What factors might customers be weighing when choosing which metaverse platform to explore?

3. Accepting cryptocurrency will be essential for success

Adoption of cryptocurrency is growing. People are starting to trade fiat currency for crypto or purchasing cryptocurrency directly. As the evolution of payments in the metaverse continues, you’ll want to create a strategy that works for your customers. Ensuring a fast, frictionless and easy to understand process is key to longer term adoption.

- Apart from crypto, what else might become part of the evolution of payments?
- How can brands help their customers create payment strategies? What is an example?

4. Keep up on the cutting-edge advancements in the metaverse to impact customer experience

Especially in these early stages of metaverse development, it is important to stay up to date on the consumer experience. Staying abreast of new developments in the space is vital as innovations and new use cases might be the key to unlocking your potential in this sphere. For instance, embedded finance options will be key to enable customers to transact seamlessly across the virtual and real words.

- What are some real world customer experience strategies worth adopting in the metaverse?
- Where might current deficiencies in the metaverse prevent brands from better engaging with their customers and how can those be solved?

5. Be playful but cautious to stay safe in the metaverse

Consider how your brand translates in the metaverse. Your clients will expect a totally new experience than how they interact with you across other channels. Understand the security, regulation, and behavioral standards within each metaverse platform to keep your customers safe in this new world.

- What are some risk and safety factors to consider? E.g. security problems like hacking or identity theft, or risks around trauma and negative mental health impacts.
- What are some ways businesses can better grasp complex security, regulation and behavioral standards in the metaverse?

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SVP Product Strategy & New Initiatives, FIS