Since Mark Zuckerberg presented the evolution of Facebook as Meta, this term has been present in many conversations. To be precise, metaverse generally refers to the concept of a highly immersive virtual world where people gather to socialise, play, and work. Evidently, this new world would engage retail and even real estate, so it is the path many potential customers are currently taking.
In such a liquid modernity where nothing is static, retailers and landlords must be aware of these changes AND opportunities to offer new value. One clear example is that these virtual places allow shoppers to buy virtual goods and interact with their favourite brands in a whole new way. Once the frontiers between the digital and real world disappear, the phygital experiences appear.
Phygital means blending digital experiences with physical ones and this is definitely the evolution of user experience. Experts consider that in less than five years, 25% of the population will spend at least an hour in the metaverse shopping, working, hanging out, and this will clearly bring new business models.
It is a (brave) new world worth exploring, but there are key aspects to have a more successful approach:
- The phygital world necessarily implies an omnichannel strategy. All channels must be integrated to make the whole experience smooth and easy. Brands can offer their customers immersive experiences, but they should be consistent. The customer must be in the centre and receive constant interaction, both at virtual and real level.
- Take technology as an ally and, if necessary, start small. You should promote actions that integrate the online and offline worlds, while ensuring the customer gets an easy access to your proposals. For instance, every website and landing page must be mobile friendly by now. Paying attention to small details is always useful to get closer to your clients.
- Collaboration with experts, IT people, and specialised consultants is also key to establishing a solid strategy. Since this is all new, most brands are still threading a trial-and-error phase, but it is important to learn about other success and failure stories.
- The metaverse era also demands real-time analytics to improve user experience, attract new leads, follow your own roadmap, and be aware of the competition. Learning about your own success or failure could make a difference for upcoming efforts.
Last but not least, entering the virtual world means providing customised experiences for each client. We all want to feel special, and this brand-new way of interacting can be crucial to anticipate the client’s needs and desires, which also results in referrals.
This is just the beginning, but information is power. It took longer for the commercial real estate industry to embark on digital processes compared to other industries. This is the time to immerse in new technologies, consider what they can offer and avoid repeating the same mistake. Welcome to the future, it is already here!