Facebook has changed its name to Meta. Companies are creating all kinds of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Silicon Valley startups are launching cryptocurrencies and building blockchain networks from the ground up. People already buy and sell goods in the metaverse, attend virtual concerts, and play games with other users around the world from across the internet.
Some industry experts believe the metaverse idea is a passing thought experiment. Others will tell you that the metaverse is here to stay.
While there is no way to be sure how this whole thing will play out, what is for sure is that companies will have to respond to consumer expectations as the metaverse sparks interest in a more interconnected world.
To scale your business in the metaverse, there are a few things that founders and business owners need to know.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is the next evolution of the world wide web that is secure, decentralized, and permissionless. It’s another way of describing the next phase of the internet, Web 3.0.
Web 1.0 was the first iteration of the internet. It was populated by message boards and known as a content delivery network, meant for reading and consuming content instead of sharing or interacting.
Web 2.0, or the participative social web, was about connecting with other users, sharing user-generated content, and collaborating with people worldwide.
Web 3.0 is the metaverse. Also called the semantic web, this version of the internet aims to reorganize how we store, share and discover data sets. It shifts the equity-ownership focus from platforms and companies to individuals and their personal autonomy. Tailored content doesn’t have to rely on keywords in this model. Instead, users will have content delivered to them based on their own preferences and AI-powered metadata analytics that give them options and agency from all available information.
How the metaverse will affect your business
In light of the significant changes in how we engage with each other and with businesses in the advent of Web 3.0, many organizations wonder how the metaverse will affect business. Some even wonder if their business will be obsolete.
Whether you’re looking for seed funding for your startup or you have a longstanding operation to scale in the metaverse, there are several business risks to consider. As such, it’s wise to invest in insurance in case of the worst. Business owners can opt for liability insurance protection, as well as choose to invest to cushion the blow, in case the business were to suffer amidst new digitization trends.
But it’s not all bad news: there are many reasons why startup founders and business owners should celebrate the next chapter of the world wide web and be optimistic about the future. Here are a few Web3 benefits that businesses can tap into:
Allow businesses to reach more customers
First, the far-reaching impacts and decentralized nature of Web3 lend themselves to borderless eCommerce and enhanced personalization. That can mean engaging with customers who otherwise would never visit your store for smaller businesses.
Additionally, B2C marketing could see a dramatic shift. Instead of turning to SEO rankings and keywords to gain organic reach, Web 3.0 algorithms have the power to recommend content tailored to unique user behaviors and preferences.
Provide customers with better brand experiences
A recent poll asked Millennials and Gen Zs how they prefer to spend their money, either on experiences or material things. The findings were that 72% of millennials preferred buying experiences over physical items. And that number was even higher among Gen Z.
Brand experiences are as important as your product and service offerings. According to recent statistics, over 90% of customers will check a businesses’ reviews online before buying from them.
In the metaverse, businesses will have more opportunities to engage their customers than ever before, and build new digital experiences that bolster brand value.
Hybrid and remote workplace environments
Finally, perhaps one of the most significant ways that the metaverse will affect businesses internally is how we go to work. Many companies learned that their employees remained productive despite shifting from primarily in-office to remote and hybrid workspaces. The metaverse promises an even more connected work experience beyond what Slack, Zoom, and Asana offer.
Imagine going to work on a Monday in the metaverse. You put on your virtual reality headset, and you’re automatically authenticated in your work environment, with access to your work data and tools. You can interact and collaborate with other employees, as if they were there in the room with you. Standup meetings feel faster-paced and closer to the in-person experience, avatars and filters mean grabbing lunch in the virtual cafeteria with your coworkers isn’t anything like awkwardly watching one another eat on Zoom, and you actually have some spontaneous ideas percolate again at the meta-watercooler.
The ‘future of work’ in the metaverse might actually be more fun than the cynics imagine!
Ways to prepare your business for Web 3.0
Some version of the metaverse seems all but inevitable. But it’s nothing to be afraid of, because organizations have a lot to gain from the increased digitization that Web3 will bring. Here are some ways that you can get prepared for the shift to come:
Reinforce the interoperability of your business apps
The goal of interoperability is to improve productivity by eliminating data silos. When data can only be used for limited purposes, businesses can expect narrow results. However, when data can flow freely and securely across business applications within a network, deeper insights can become discoverable.
Seek out CRM platforms and databases that integrate with your other business applications. Find analytics software that provides your company with valuable insights from disparate data sets. And make sure that employee tools are also as integrated as possible, so that you don’t miss opportunities to draw insights from your most valuable asset: your people.
Plan to accept cryptocurrency as payment
Interest in cryptocurrencies has increased since the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, reached $60,000 in value.
Although crypto is a notoriously volatile asset, 67% of millennials believe that Bitcoin outranks gold as a safe way to hold their assets. Anyone can buy crypto online, and the metaverse will provide users with more and more places to spend crypto as a functional currency.
So one thing that companies can do right now to future-proof their business plans, is to put a strategy in place to begin accepting crypto as a payment method.
Start selling tokenized assets.
A tokenized digital assets such as NFTs are another way that companies can cater to changing consumer expectations in the dawn of Web3. Brands can create unique digital assets, in any form of digital file, and either sell them directly in places like NFT marketplaces or their own websites and metaverse shops, or offer them as metaverse brand tie-ins for physical products or current web2 digital services or communities.
Tokenization can also be used to digitize capital fundraising for startups and other funds. The security of the blockchain and the rising popularity of digital tokens offer businesses yet another chance to capitalize on Web 3.0 opportunities and excitement.
The bottom line
The metaverse looks promising for forward-looking business owners and startups. The future of business will take place on Web3, and companies there will scale faster, operate more freely, and provide better experiences for customers than ever before.
Whether you are starting a Decentralized Autonomous Organization or you wish to level up your Web 2.0 business to remain relevant as the metaverse becomes more prevalent, it’s time to prepare your business now for the metaverse to come.
Start by reinforcing the interoperability of your internal and customer-facing apps. Then provide your customers with more ways to experience your brand in web3 by incorporating crypto into your payment and/or products. And remember that business can utilize the tokenization of assets—to achieve funding goals, grow community equity, and build a new portfolio of product offerings native to the metaverse.
This guest post was written by Nahla Davies, a now freelance writer with a background in enterprise and government-level RegTech consulting, who focuses on content development for compliance and training, through technical writing, software documentation, and more.
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