The metaverse is the next phase of digital reality - it's a new way to interact with online content and has the potential to transform your business.
The metaverse is a 3D internet where you can create virtual spaces and objects.
We're already seeing the effects of this technology on our day-to-day lives, where the metaverse is changing how people shop, travel and entertain themselves. It's also having a significant impact on how people communicate and the way businesses operate.
Small businesses are often at a disadvantage over larger corporations regarding technology. Many small business owners don't have the resources or expertise to invest in new technologies, and those that do may not understand how to use them effectively.
But there's no need for small businesses to be left behind. The metaverse presents many opportunities for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make their mark on the world. With the proper preparation, they can benefit from this emerging technology.
If you're a small business owner, you might wonder how your company can take advantage of this new technology. How can you prepare for the metaverse? How can you leverage the metaverse? And how will it impact your business?
Here, we've created examples of how your business can prepare for the metaverse:
Educate yourself. The first step for any SME is to educate yourself about what's happening in your industry. Keeping up with new trends and technological developments means you can stay ahead of competitors who may not be as aware of what's happening around them.
Prepare your employees. One of the biggest challenges SMEs face is recruiting and retaining quality employees. With so many companies vying for talent, it can be difficult for SME employers to find skilled workers willing to work at their company. But by preparing employees for the metaverse, you'll give them the skills they need to succeed in any industry.
Build an online presence. Whether you have an eCommerce store or not, an online presence allows customers or clients to find you easily and quickly when searching for products or services online. Today's consumers expect businesses to have websites with clear information about their business model and what they offer customers.
Embrace Augmented Reality (AR) technology. You don't have to be a tech giant or an early adopter to embrace AR technology; there are plenty of tools for small businesses that allow you to create your own AR experiences. For example, many retailers (e.g., IKEA) now have interactive 3D models that users can access via smartphone cameras. They are often published on websites or social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, which is helpful to show customers how products look and work before they buy them.
Consider using Cryptocurrencies. Now is a great time to start if you're not already using cryptocurrencies in your business operations! We’re already seeing many eCommerce companies begin accepting cryptocurrencies. They offer many benefits such as lower transaction fees than fiat currencies like USD or EURO and faster processing times than traditional bank transfers. It's also a great way to show you’re innovative while enhancing the customer journey and expanding your customer base by offering more options at the checkout. However, digital currencies are not without risk, and you should be fully aware of those before implementing such payment methods into your eCommerce store.
Think about your brand's identity. If you're planning on expanding your business into the metaverse, consider building an identity that will resonate with customers in these environments. Small businesses can develop their metaverse presence by creating immersive digital experiences for their audiences. For example, many fashion brands are partnering with game developers to create digital garments for our virtual identities. The metaverse can help with brand recognition and reputation management, which are critical for any business looking to gain traction.
Create content for Virtual Reality (VR) platforms like Facebook Spaces or Oculus Venues. Suppose you're already creating content for your website or social media channels. In that case, you can easily optimize it for viewing on VR headsets by using 360-degree video or images and adding hotspots where users can click through to additional information about products or services.For example, you could create virtual storefronts and sell products in VR/AR environments. Creating your own virtual spaces will allow you to better connect with customers, improve customer service, and increase productivity. You may also explore training simulations for employees new to your company or industry or sales training and upskilling for your current workforce.
The metaverse has a lot of potential for small businesses, but there are also some challenges. For example, it's unclear how to navigate the space regarding copyright law or intellectual property rights.
Nonetheless, the metaverse is an exciting new technology that has the potential to change the way we interact with each other and with businesses. While it is still in its infancy, and many challenges remain before it becomes a mainstream reality, there are signs that the metaverse will profoundly impact SMEs. If you haven't already, now may be the time to begin thinking about how you can leverage the metaverse.
So, what does it all mean for your business?
As technologies develop at an increasingly rapid rate, our ability to turn scientific theories and works of fiction into reality is becoming increasingly plausible. Some of these may impact businesses, and some may not ever reach fruition. Maintaining agility, flexibility and an open mind when considering what emerging technologies can offer may enable better use of new innovations and could support business growth and development.
Speak to your Innovation Advisor today if you’d like to hear more about new opportunities for technology and innovation in your business.
- Call us on 0161 359 3050
- Email us at BGHinnovation@growthco.uk
Dr Natasha Moorhouse, Digital Innovation Advisor
Natasha is a Digital Innovation Advisor at GC Business Growth Hub, where she supports SMEs in Greater Manchester to improve their digital presence. She helps organisations in various sectors with digital marketing and Cyber Security projects.
With a PhD in Enhancing Retail Experience through Immersive Technologies, Natasha has great expertise in digital marketing, working on several research projects related to emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Extended Reality.
Natasha is passionate about helping SMEs and VCSE organisations improve their digital knowledge and expertise.