As 2022 opens, the United States is in the grip of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. According to the Financial Times, the first day of the year brought the country’s seven-day rolling average to almost 400,000 cases. This figure was twice as many as the number of instances on Christmas Day. It also marked the highest daily number since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations have gone up, and even flights have been widely disrupted.
There can be other variants to appear in the coming months. This means that people will still be staying home most of the time. Businesses will need to maximize their online presence even if they open brick-and-mortar offices or storefronts. This means that marketing campaigns will rely primarily on digital tools and platforms to reach the most comprehensive market. They will be racing to make the most of the latest digital innovations to stand out amid the steep competition.
The Rise of the Metaverse
When Facebook’s parent company changed its name to Meta, the Metaverse became a word that almost everyone, not just geeks, knew of. Many believe the Metaverse to be the next phase of the internet. This online augmented reality (AR) world allows people to live, communicate, and interact digitally as 3D avatars through virtual reality headsets. Experts believe that people will soon be working and playing in the Metaverse and doing business. Joining Meta in preparing their hardware and software meant for the Metaverse are Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
On December 9, 2021, Meta opened its “Horizon Worlds” game for free to all Oculus Virtual reality headset users who are 18 years old and older. Meta announced that by January 13, 2022, it would only be available through Rift S and Quest 2 headsets. This is one way of prodding users to purchase the newer headset versions.
Others Follow Meta’s Suit
Other brands have also extended their businesses to the virtual world of Roblox. Reuters reported that Paris Hilton launched a virtual island called “Paris World” on the global gaming platform Roblox. Visitors to the virtual island can tour a virtual reproduction of her Beverly Hills mansion and other sites. They can shop for virtual clothing and pay to book a ride, such as on a jet ski. Netizens can also purchase virtual Tommy Hilfiger outfits for their avatars.
On the other hand, Nike opened Nikeland in November 2021, free of charge. Visitors can freely use Nike shoes and outfits while playing a wide variety of games. CNBC reported that the company sees this as a marketing scheme. People who use their products virtually become more attached to the brand to buy it in real life. It will also be a platform to test products for popularity before creating their real-life versions for sale. Furthermore, Nike is preparing to sell virtual products, eventually.
Businesses must look at the Metaverse as the next big thing to join. It will not do to be late to the global party. Businesses must focus on how they design their world during this transition. That’s why advanced graphic design is essential because the Metaverse is meant to be immersive. Since everything is created from scratch, visitors expect to see only the best.
User Experience Is Everything
Visitors will judge the brand based on their user experience, whether in the multiverse or on the brand website. Websites are getting faster and more advanced these days, and consumers have gotten used to high standards. Companies leverage algorithms to gather data on individual users and use these to create a personalized experience for each visitor. This enables the brand to serve the specific needs of every consumer and build a strong relationship with each one.
Algorithms gather information from the brand’s social media accounts. It is crucial to know what is trending and where people are congregating. For instance, video is now at the forefront. TikTok has risen fast, and Instagram launched Reels. Brands that use these tools creatively will win their target market’s engagement.
No More Hard Selling
People do not want brands that use hard-sell tactics. Instead of just pushing their products, brands must provide useful information relevant to each visitor’s needs. Brands can recommend the appropriate products that meet those needs based on these. Consumers will find these to be helpful.
At the cusp of the Metaverse’s dawn, companies must bring their websites closer to that immersive experience. For instance, certain websites now allow visitors to test their products virtually. Consumers can take a photo or video of themselves and try different hair colors, makeup, or clothes. They can take an image or video of a room in their house and try on paint colors or put in a piece of furniture to see if it fits the room’s style. Of course, all these website features must be accessible on smartphones. This can act as a bridge as they develop their Metaverse base.
Meta title: New Year, New Highs: What’s in Store for Businesses in 2022
meta desc: The next 12 months can bring in higher revenues to businesses that will be able to harness the right tools for marketing in the innovative digital age.