Everything about the way you live your life will be different within 10 years.
The Metaverse has reached peak hype; per Gartner’s hype cycle definition, this means it’s at the “peak of inflated expectations.” This may be due in part to Facebook’s name change to Meta, the fact that individuals are paying millions of dollars for digital properties, or the fact that your kids are spending hours immersed in digital worlds already.
No matter your view on the Metaverse—or even if you’ve never heard of it—it will fundamentally change the way you interact with brands, every day. And while this will not be a change you will experience in 2022, it will be a change you experience by 2025 and beyond.
Before we get into how things will change, let’s quickly define what the Metaverse is for readers who clicked on the article because of the interesting headline.
The term “metaverse” goes back to 1992, and was used in a science fiction book called Snow Crash. The term is now often used to describe a hypothetical iteration of the internet as a single, universal virtual world that is supported by the use of virtual or augmented reality headsets.
As product companies like Apple, Meta, Alphabet, Samsung and others start developing wearables to support interaction in digital and non-digital spaces, and as we move on from 5G bandwidth to 6G bandwidth in about six to eight years, the Metaverse will be all around us.
So, how will that change the way we interact with the brands we buy from every day? Here are a few predictions.
Are you buying clothes online or in-store? Put on your headset and try everything on while looking at yourself in a digital mirror. Buying the product will be ‘one click’ a-la Amazon, or you can put it into your personal cart for later. Oh, and the personal cart will travel with you in the Metaverse, it will not be store-specific. This is already happening with major brands like H&M, Walmart, and others exploring and launching digital store experiences.
Have you called into customer service lately? You will be able to interact with an agent’s avatar, and they will be able to walk you through any interaction so you can learn by doing, right in the Metaverse. The customer service agent will be able to pull up policy, screens, and maps of physical spaces right there with you; it will be an immersive experience that will take a little longer than a phone call, but one where you will feel valued and where equitable solutions will take shape.
Like grocery shopping, but don’t like going to the grocery store? Walk down the aisles, pick up the goods you need, buy them without waiting at the register, and have them all delivered within a few hours. As the technology advances and we move beyond handhelds that act like joysticks, we will have access to wearable technology like gloves. You’ll be able to feel the cold on that bag of frozen peas, and even smell the flowers you put into your cart. I expect that at some point in the 2040s, instead of having the items delivered to your door, you’ll be able to 3D print some of the foods you purchase.
Want to play golf at Pebble Beach, but can’t get a tee time, or perhaps the cost is prohibitive? Pebble Beach will bring its course to you. The views along the coast, the sounds, the smells, and the warm sun high in the afternoon will all be there. And you will have a digital caddie coaching along the way to a better swing and score.
When was the last time you did a training at work that delivered an immersive experience? Development at work will take on a completely new and different meaning. For example, as you conduct your work, you will have real-time coaching to improve your performance. This technology exists today in many ways; however, it will take on new shape as leaders and team members work with their digital avatars to improve team performance.
The one I am most excited about is the ability to explore digital worlds that others create. Being able to meditate at the top of a mountain, hike through Grindelwald, or ride your bike through Tuscany are experiences that will be readily available. The human health benefits here will be endless, and we will lead much richer lives because of it.
Utopian? Yes. Achievable? Absolutely. There will be plenty we need to do before we reach the above scenarios. But it will be worth the wait.
Bill Staikos is a leader in Customer & Employee Experience and Host of the award-winning podcast, Be Customer Led