The metaverse is expected to be one of the primary drivers of massive transformation and growth in many industries. Bloomberg Intelligence calculates the metaverse to be a nearly $800 billion market opportunity. The COVID crisis helped accelerate this transformation. As people spend more time online than ever before, the metaverse is attracting a plethora of technology providers, digital content creators, hardware manufacturers, and brands to invest in building new digital worlds.

Digital content services and related hardware endpoints are expected to serve as the primary gateways to access the metaverse. From streaming services to social media services and emerging applications (virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality), the metaverse is expected to profoundly change the way people, enterprises, and advertisers connect, interact, communicate, and socialize via increased elements of personalization, interactivity, self-expression, and immersion.

However, disruptive technologies and platforms remain enablers. Many brands and companies are currently experimenting with the metaverse opportunity. But the whole concept remains foggy for many players—even worse, for many customers.

It’s not about technology or building new revenue streams. It’s about reinventing the customer experience.

In December 2021, Adidas announced its first digital collection, mixing virtual wearables that can be used in online platforms with “real life” clothing to match. The digital collection was sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to leverage digital certification and the collectible dimension. One quarter later, this digital collection generated more than $24 million for Adidas. It is promising but a drop in the ocean for a $21 billion company.

More than technology, more than building new revenue streams, the metaverse is about building “augmented communities” and giving a new dimension to customer experience and brand loyalty. The real strategic objective is the reinvention of customer lifetime value.

Customers will join a brand or a project as active contributors. They will play, jumping into fully immersive experiences, and earn money for their contribution to this experience (e.g., play-to-earn business model). They will interact with brands to buy and define the next generation of digital products. Digital twins (personalized avatars) will socialize and become a new customer segment (e.g., direct-to-avatar business model).

What does it mean for your business?

The metaverse is a fantastic opportunity to redefine your relationship with your customers. Each client will become a member of a club, sharing value creation from product development to service monetization. Companies will have to rethink their customer experience strategy. The metaverse customers will be able to digitally test and validate a brand before committing. Some of them will leverage the metaverse to make sense of their consumption. “Web3 for good” is a perfect example of a “phygital” strategy redefining the customer experience and brand perception. According to Vogue Business,1 Guerlain (owned by LVMH group) is selling 1,828 “Cryptobees,” or virtual bees, as NFTs to support a rewilding project in the Vallée de la Millière nature reserve in France. Each Cryptobee is associated with land within the nature reserve, with precise geographical coordinates of the sponsored section. It is an amazing way to mix metaverse, sustainability, and brand commitment.

Along with technology and ecosystem maturation, the metaverse hatching will come with solid solutions to many structural challenges:

Social Acceptability

The metaverse will redefine customer experience if and only if it is accepted. We can envision many emerging problems like user addiction, cyber-criminality, eco-friendliness, fairness, ethics and the acceptance of this new phygital paradigm. Future customers will need education and guarantees to fully jump into the experience.

Privacy, Security and Trust

The explosion of smart sensors and technologies helping to collect data comes with a fundamental privacy dilemma. Personal information, behavioral data, and personal communication are all precious data points that can and will be collected, recorded and leveraged to improve your future immersive experience. Artur Sychov, the CEO and founder of Somnium Space, is working on digital immortality. Digital immortality relies heavily on the collection of personal data. Your voice, how you move, how you think, and how you communicate can be captured using virtual reality, artificial intelligence and sensors. The idea is to build your digital twin during your physical life and remain virtually alive forever in the metaverse.

Can you imagine the level of consent needed? Can you imagine the upcoming philosophical and ethical challenges we will face?


Who will rule a, “by nature,” decentralized metaverse?

Regulation and governance will be critical to improving customer acceptance and safety. Many areas will need regulation. All types of laws could be impacted, leading to an adaptation of criminal, family, corporate, commercial, labor, property, contract, human rights, and international laws.

So What?

The metaverse is a transformational growth opportunity for all companies. The first step is to get a clear understanding of its landscape and ecosystem. But the real critical question is in the, “so what?” What does it mean for your industry? For your value chain? For your business model?

How will you redefine your customer experience to build augmented communities?

Are you interested in exploring this topic? Schedule a one-on-one brainstorming session on “The Metaverse Growth Opportunity: What Does it Mean to Me?

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