If you’ve kept an eye on the news recently, you’ve probably heard the term “metaverse” tossed around. You may be wondering, “What exactly is the metaverse, and should I be concerned with it?” In Part 1, we answer all your burning questions about this new space where business meets technology.
The Eye Care of the Future
From software that allows patients to try frames on before picking them up in-store, to new avenues to treat vision therapy patients, the metaverse (especially virtual reality) is poised to make a huge impact on the eye care industry.
Make sure to read Part 2 of our Metaverse series where we take a look at all the exciting opportunities these new technologies can bring to your practice.
Enter The Metaverse
Let’s start with the most basic question:
What in the world is the metaverse?
Despite how complex the topic may seem, the answer is deceptively simple. The metaverse is an online digital space where people can interact. It combines things such as social media, augmented reality, online gaming, Virtual Commerce and even cryptocurrencies. Basically, it’s an immersive alternate online reality. Think Second Life or Ready Player One.
Digital spaces like the metaverse hold great potential to advance how we interact with one another. For instance, imagine being in COVID lockdown but wanting to have a night out with your friends. Well, through the power of the metaverse, you can strap on a pair of virtual reality goggles and head to a digital nightclub. In fact, various music artists have begun selling tickets to virtual concerts via the metaverse.
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A New Frontier for Business
But it’s not all fun and games. The metaverse has opened up new opportunities for companies to do business with people, and is changing the way consumers interact with brands. In fact, some companies have already begun setting up virtual stores where customers can browse displayed merchandise, try it on (so to speak) and purchase it from the comfort of their own home. Check out how Tommy Hilfiger merged ecommerce and the in-store shopping experience to create “TH Pool Party.”
Companies like IKEA and Alibaba have also been slowly chipping away at the boundaries between brick-and-mortar and online retail for years. The result has been a unique kind of consumer experience that’s altering the way businesses interact with their customers.
By now, you’ve most definitely heard of e-commerce. The ability to purchase products online and have them show up at your doorstep has been around almost as long as the internet itself. But as advances in technology continue to introduce unique experiences and different ways to connect, a new way to do business has emerged.
The main difference between vCommerce and e-commerce, is vCommerce allows customers to experience products in a virtual space prior to purchase. This new virtual dimension opens up countless new options for how consumers interact with the products they're searching for. Some have even speculated that vCommerce adds more steps in the consumer journey before purchasing your product by giving customers options to “view” or “try out” the product outside of the store before purchase.
One thing is for certain: vCommerce is catching on everywhere. The AR and VR retail market will reach 1.6 billion by 2025 and is poised to transform the shopping experience the same way the internet did. According to recent research by Goldman Sachs, 63% of customers said virtual reality technologies would significantly alter the way they purchase products. In the same survey, two-thirds of internet users said they would be interested in using vCommerce.
Bottom line: It’s clear that consumers are craving a much more personalized shopping experience, something you just can’t get with regular e-commerce. New technologies like virtual reality and the push to create a metaverse have opened up unprecedented opportunities for businesses to create novel and exciting avenues to both keep customers around longer, and lead them to more purchases.
The Story Continues…
Hopefully, this article has helped to demystify the metaverse a bit for you. But it doesn’t end here. The metaverse, augmented reality and vCommerce all have the ability to change eye care as we know it. Remember to stay tuned for Part 2 of our Metaverse series, where we dive deep into how your practice can get the most out of this brand new (virtual) world.