– By Vikrant Nalkur
As the society we know, hurtles towards an increasingly smart, connected world, brands and consumers alike, have overwhelmingly taken to the various digital channels not only to stay in touch with each other, but also speed themselves up to emerging technological changes. The internet today, through emerging immersive experiences is being seamlessly woven into our everyday lives, and has become central in the way we interact with individuals, communities and organizations.
Till date, the internet has mainly taken the form of a cold, two-dimensional medium – mostly text-based, with a dash of images, video and sound. It has largely been a curated space, engineered to attract visitors, but seldom to interact and contribute. Two-dimensional rendering, no matter how rich, can only be so immersive. Pushing the boundaries of the hitherto ‘traditional’, in recent years the internet has exploded to transform into a much more immersive, multidimensional space with a discernible intent-shift from discrete, one-way communication to a gripping medium that seeks to blur the lines between the virtual and the real.
Seen from a strict macroeconomic lens, this ‘metaverse’ – a collective virtual space, created by the convergence of the virtual and physical entities, has in recent times, loomed large over brands that seek innovative methods of not only connecting to its consumers, but also leverage its capabilities in this space to build a compelling competitive advantage. This is all the more important for new enterprises to build upon, as troubling statistics estimate more than 90% of startups misfire, sputter along and finally meet a rather dour end – within the first 20 months. From the demand side, consumers have benefited from an overarching, industry-wide shift towards co-creation that pushes the locus of control further away from the supply flank. This in turn, has given rise to ‘thematic consumer communities’ in which individuals share ideas and feelings without regard for geographic and social barriers and are revolutionizing emerging markets, while transforming established ones.
Today, in the face of squeezing competition, aligning businesses with the metaverse, is not just a ‘good-to-have’ but an imperative – given the increasing number players jostling for an ever smaller piece of the consumer pie.
What is ‘Immersive’?
‘Immersive’, like many other new-age tech lexicons, has a fair degree of subjectivity. This term broadly encompasses a collection of emerging technologies like virtual worlds, 3D business applications, immersive learning simulations that deeply engage the user to give him/her a unique online experience. This opens great windows of opportunity for players in the space of Enterprise Collaboration, E-commerce, e-learning among others. ‘Immersive’ can thus be seen as a functional subset of the higher idea of the Metaverse.
Drivers of Immersive technology
Current consumer trends all but point to a disruptive change in which the consumer is not only the king, but is also kingmaker – given the scope and power of influence over fellow patrons/non-patrons through blogs, forums and other social media. Consumers today display an increased desire for continual touch points with brands online – demanding more than just a simple website today.
Experience vs. Look
An e-commerce case-in-point underscoring the importance of engaged online persistence, is the fact that almost 60% of shopping carts are abandoned by consumers prior to purchase. This originates from the actuality that online shopping experience has not fundamentally changed since the inception of e-commerce as sites offer little more opportunity to explore more than photos of purchase items.
Investigating e-commerce further, traditional e-commerce stores have virtually no connection to a brand beyond the logo on its site. This leads to an incomplete brand experience that is rather disconcerting for someone looking for a serious purchase. Building a compelling storyscape around the brands’ products or services through an interactive, immersive online presence – either through website, app or a video channel can help gulf the last mile of the consumer’s online purchase cycle.
‘Immersive’ in motion
With the proliferation of devices such as smartphones and wearables among users, brands are now looking at newer digital touchpoints to reach out to their prospective and current consumers. Thanks to tools like HTML5 — the newest and most advanced version of the fundamental markup language — and responsive design, immersive online environments are more widespread than ever, heightening user experiences across the web. With this shot in the arm, brands today have turned storytellers – moving beyond the tired binary of content and narrative.
BBQ Cultures (http://www.bbqcultures.com)
Weber is an American manufacturer of charcoal, gas and electric outdoor grills with related accessories. Although the obvious line of business for Weber is grills, what they actually are in, is the business of food preparation. Discerning the centrality of ‘food’ in their business, Weber chose to build their website around the theme of food, instead of directly leading the consumers to the features and functionalities of their grills.
The story urges the user to interact with their website and explore the art of BBQ’ing instead of pushing content onto the screen as the user passively looks on.
Similarly, Burberry has blurred the lines between digital and physical to give an immersive ‘physital’ experience to its patrons. Burberry unveiled a digital makeover to its iconic 192-year old building on Regent Street, London – wherein a digital wall was wrapped around the entire perimeter of the store interior. This presented a deeply engaging experience to the store patrons as they went about their shopping in the store.
In conclusion, immersive internet is fast becoming a mainstream feature in industry – as brands leverage its usage to create buyer personas and tell stories from their perspectives and leave the audience wanting more.
Disclaimer: All company names, trade names, trademarks, trade dress, designs/logos, copyrights, images, content and products referenced in this blog are the property of their respective owners. No company reference sponsored this blog or the contents thereofSpread the word!
Find us at -
- 30- By Marshneil Pachori Website : http://agencyinsider.org/ “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology“– Steve Jobs Customers’ expectation today is determined by their last experience with the brand and not by some insight-driven brand promise. Research suggests* that once a customer experiences what…