How Retailers Can Find Success in the Metaverse
Customer experience (CX) is as important as ever, but meeting customers where they are has become significantly more complex. As technology adoption has exploded, consumers get and engage with content from many sources, including the metaverse. Though it has existed in certain circles for years, the public really became aware of the metaverse when Facebook rebranded as Meta. Now, 2022 will go down as the year the most recognizable global brands — Nike, Samsung, Coca-Cola — began experimenting in the virtual world.
To create lasting relationships and develop strong bonds of loyalty with customers, brands must be willing to engage and innovate in every channel where customers are. Talkdesk’s “Connecting in the Metaverse” survey found that 69 percent of consumers have recently been in the metaverse. It’s clear that brands need to develop a meaningful virtual presence — or risk being left behind by the competition.
Customer Service Expectations in the Metaverse
There's optimism about a virtual community that fosters positive relationships and connections. Consumers anticipate improved CX in the metaverse: Talkdesk research shows that 51 percent expect service to be superior, while 32 percent believe an immersive, real-time experience will cause less frustration and anxiety than a call center. Opportunity exists for brands to create, maintain and strengthen customer relationships.
In today’s world, customers want every opportunity for self-service, using contact centers as a last resort. More than a quarter (27 percent) of consumers believe the metaverse will make it easier to access product information. Brands have an opportunity to deliver superior CX by investing in quick, seamless interactions.
Today’s consumer has myriad product decisions to make during every shopping trip and they’re looking for help deciding. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) want a virtual assistant to guide them around the metaverse and make proactive shopping decisions. There's an opportunity to deliver highly personalized shopping experiences, which will lead to greater conversion rates.
How Retailers Can Start Thinking About the Metaverse
The metaverse will not be virtual-only; in the future, customers will be able to shop in the metaverse and receive physical products. Talkdesk research uncovered that two in five consumers will attend virtual concerts and brand experiences, and nearly that same number (37 percent) will purchase furniture, cars and other real-world products. Excitement for new experiences has consumers willing to spend significant money, even amid economic uncertainty: 26 percent said they would spend more than $1,000 in the metaverse.
How can brands take advantage of this burgeoning opportunity?
- Conduct a simple assessment; is the metaverse a good fit for your company, products and customers?
- If so, consider the ideal metaverse CX and develop metrics for testing the experience.
- Consumers are excited, but it’s still crucial to nail the fundamentals of a stellar CX with a unified view of the customer and seamless, personalized and private engagement through all channels: stores, online, social, phone, chat, SMS and email.
- Consider how to deliver interactive shopping and service to meet consumer desires for an immersive experience.
The Future of Metaverse Retail is Coming Fast
In truth, the metaverse is still in its infancy stage, but that doesn't mean brands shouldn’t start considering how to enter the space now, because it will be a competitive differentiator soon. While experts believe the metaverse won’t see mainstream adoption until 2031, consumers disagree: More than a third (34 percent) anticipate full maturity within five years.
Understanding what the metaverse means for both business and customer must be part of your innovation road map. Meaningful participation in the virtual world will help brands maintain long-term relevance and connect with younger generations. Success is all about creating memorable experiences for consumers, no matter where they are; that’s what will keep them coming back over and over again.
Shannon Flanagan is vice president, retail and consumer goods at Talkdesk, an end-to-end cloud contact center and customer experience solution.
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Shannon Flanagan is vice president of global strategy at Talkdesk. She has been retailing since college, both in-stores and as a buyer, merchant, consultant, sales leader, and strategist. She’s been an executive with Gap, Lands' End, and Macy's, defining and managing strategic initiatives, with expertise in omnichannel transformation. She has also worked with hyper-growth and Fortune 500 companies during her time with Accenture, Infor, and Slalom.