The role of Market Research in the Metaverse
Tron. The Matrix. “Ready Player One. Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode.
There are a number of series and films that deal with the subject that of immersive VR. It’s so realistic, that people will want to spend the entire life there. It was once considered to be a revolutionary idea that is still a fantasy or even an idea that was floated at conferences over several years, but the world changed after one news item on social networks made people aware the extent to which we can the idea of living in this reality.
On the 28th of October, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook announced at Connect 2021 the Facebook company will now be known as Meta. More than an arbitrary name change, the goal of Meta will be to “bring this metaverse into the present and assist people connect, build communities, and expand businesses.” In his keynote speech, he spoke about the metaverse during his keynote speech, people’s reaction is one of shock and disbelief. Forget the flashy pictures and the keynote speech What exactly is the metaverse?
In essence, the term “metaverse” is a portmanteau for the words “meta” (beyond) as well as “universe” which is exactly the same as that it’s a realm that is beyond the reality of the universe. It was coined by scifi writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 book Snow Crash, where the protagonists describe this as a virtual reality that they return to time and again in response to an absurd world that is being exploited by capitalism. They enter the metaverse with glasses of augmented reality and are able to be both in reality and the metaverse at the same time. This “two worlds at the simultaneously” problem creates an issue of the soul which is that it’s not obvious to the person you’re speaking to about the reality in which you are in.
The ideas contained of the text are becoming more commonplace thanks to the latest developments regarding VR technology. Mobile devices are becoming stronger as they get smaller VR and AR are no longer tricks, and huge virtual communities online are becoming the norm, especially for gamers.
A virtual world with its own rules, rules of economy and technology, seems to be the next stage for the internet, and companies are already taking huge moves to move towards it. For instance, Epic Games, the company behind the hugely popular combat royale video game Fortnite is focusing on creating an online community of players that communicate with one another and create their own personal worlds. When they invited the rapper Travis Scott to perform a virtual concert in April 2020, 12.3 million people from all over the world played Fortnite simultaneously. The game also has an in-game currency that players trade using real cash to outfit their avatars. Fortnite has become an international phenomenon that is not just crossing cultures across the globe and establishing its own unique culture and own world.
With all the metaverse nonsense, how do market research be able to make a place within this new world? The metaverse will serve as both a tool and the product from market research. Interviews, surveys as well as ethnographic recordings may be done in virtual reality, turning the real world processes and transforming them into an the realm of augmented reality. Verification and screening of data will be the most important aspect to ensure true data.
Here are some ideas that market researchers can take in the metaverse
- Heating maps: A firm called MetaVeRse created a tool called Z-dimension. It lets you create real-time heat maps of consumers’ behavior.
- Test the design in virtual form – Businesses are able to first launch their product online and then let users test the product and provide feedback on the design prior to the release of a physical product out in real life
- 3D visualization of data – Logistics company Kuehne+Nagel recently collated information from its huge supply chain and applied an amalgamation of AI and VR to analyze data aiding in the comprehension of how processes are connected to one another.
- Collaborative analytics Collaboration in analytics BadVR is the first data analytics platform that is immersive allows members of the same team to see the data, modify it, and display data in a 3D format that is interactive and then work together on the best way to move forward.
Some agencies and businesses may dismiss the metaverse as a trick however to say that the shift of the internet into it is likely to happen would be an overstatement. According to the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the virtual and augmented reality market is predicted to grow in value from 46.4 billion USD in 2019 to 1.5 trillion USD in 2030. Major industry players are preparing themselves for the future as major consumer brands such as Taco Bell, Gucci, and Coca-Cola are exploring the possibilities of virtual products. They are not just as signs of the digital age but as opportunities for firms to come up with new marketing strategies and move their brand ahead.
The reason Market Research is More Important Today than Ever
The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of every industry, such as filmmaking and tourism, possibly forever. Because of these dramatic and likely long-term shifts, each business needs to keep track of their employees and customers and be able to adapt to their evolving demands. This can be accomplished through proper market research that is crucial as businesses change to meet new trends, avoid costly mistakes and make the most of opportunities.
Here are a few reasons that marketing research has become more vital than ever in the midst of a pandemic.
Changes in consumer behavior
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles the rapid and drastic changes in the social routines of people during the outbreak have drastically affected consumer behavior, particularly when it comes to buying and making decisions. Market research is able to assist in defining and evaluating aspects of behavior of consumers to assess expectations of needs, wants, and anxieties which were created during the outbreak.
A perfect illustration is the rapid growth of internet-connected consumers across Southeast Asia, which now is the leader in digital growth in Asia and the Asia Pacific. According to a study conducted by Facebook as well as Bain & Co., the region which is with the most significant influence coming from Indonesia has added 70 million online shoppers at the time in the outbreak. The study also noted that the outbreak and subsequent lockdowns contributed to the rapid growth of the adoption of digital technology and is predicted that 80% of customers in Southeast Asia will be online by 2021.
The study also described how the pandemic has altered the purchasing experience of customers and how the internet is four times more efficient than offline channels in terms of the discovery of brands and their evaluation. In addition, it was discovered that social media was the top method of identifying brands and the top influencing the way brands are viewed. As we discussed in one of our most recent Eye On Asia articles, we said that social media has not just reduced the length of the customer journey, but has also enhanced brand awareness and created social proof for consumers, thus increasing the reach and engagement of brands.
Managing customer expectations
In a research conducted by Hiver and Hiver, it was discovered that 80 percent of customers in the US want more efficient customer service during the epidemic even though staff members for customer service are having logistical difficulties due to restrictions and lockdowns. Respondents wanted their customer support to be more responsive and understanding as well as more accommodating. With increasing expectations the customer support process is becoming more difficult. For customers great customer service is “timely resolutions” since nearly half of all respondents consider time to be one of the main aspects to judge customer service to be “good”.
The problem is that in Southeast Asia, customer expectations are also rising in the midst of the pandemic. According to a study conducted of Blackbox Research and Toluna, around 39 percent of Southeast Asian consumers are less than happy with their digital shopping experience, and have concerns regarding delivery charges, products, services as well as the reliability of in-app reviews. Since e-commerce platforms such as Shopee and Lazada have become more well-known across this region, more shoppers are beginning to examine their shopping experience on the internet.
Customers are more inclined to businesses that can understand their requirements and feelings, particularly in times of restrictions or in lockdown. Market research can help businesses recognize these expectations and determine how to meet these expectations and respond in times of crisis.
Making sure that the message is clear
Due to restrictions and lockdowns, Asians spend more time browsing on their Facebook and other social platforms. With the increasing amount of internet-based content than ever before, companies need to take advantage of this new marketing opportunity to send out content that is resonant with their customers.
The 2020 year saw Japan’s most viewed messaging application, Line, developed a pandemic-mindful plan to improve domestic tourism. The country has launched one of the most aggressive promotions to boost domestic tourism through the “Go To” travel campaign which is funded by the government. domestic travel vouchers, offering discounts up to 50% off. However, travel and tourism destinations try to advertise in areas without high incidences of COVID-19 infection, such as Tokyo. Line’s geo-targeting capabilities allow it to reach users with relevant travel advertisements through its sub-brand Line Travel jp. Line Travel jp.
Within Southeast Asia, one of the most prominent trends in the field of e-commerce is environmental social and corporate governance also known as ESG. It is believed that ESG is now becoming an important factor in shifting brands with Southeast Asian consumers, of which 90% are willing to spend more money to support causes that are good. It appears that the biggest obstacle to this phenomenon is the ignorance of the ways in which ESG can benefit companies and brands, however with the right market research, ESG can be one of the biggest game changers in the region.
Making preparations for post-pandemic possibilities
More than half the population of the world lives within Asia. More than half of the world’s population lives in Asia Pacific region, and in 2050 Asia will have the most urban populations in the world, which will have implications for the essential needs of housing, services and sustainability. Asia is poised to be the center of technological innovation, particularly because it boasts the largest populace of technologically savvy “digital locals”. The current trade and operation limitations in traditional production industry that was once the main driver of pre-pandemic surges of growth across the region, has prompted managers and employees to explore other avenues. For instance, Hong Kong IPOs raised the highest amount since 2010. The majority of the funds raised coming from new companies, such as biotech firms.
Another post-pandemic possibility to be explored in Asia is the rise of citizens who are home-based. In the research conducted of Southeast Asia by Facebook and Bain & Co., it is thought that the lifestyle of home which was born out of the restrictions will continue until the time that the pandemic has ended, as 72 percent of Southeast Asians remain engaged in at-home activities they’ve become used to, even after restrictions are lifted. Furthermore, 9 in 10 executives from the region believe that the hybrid or work-from home method will soon become the standard.
The report also stated that the current investment climate is fueling digital disruptions. 80 percent of the funds are going to the tech sector especially for fintech, education technology E-commerce enablers and platforms for ecosystems. According to reports, two-thirds of Southeast Asians will be spending more on digital services following the pandemic. For instance, in a different Eye On Asia article, we talked about the ways Filipinos are now beginning to look forward to a cashless future as more and more people using online payment services such as PayMaya and GCash to conduct their daily transactions including food delivery to public transportation.
Change brings opportunities. Through market research, businesses can present themselves in a way that is effective, because they know the kind of products and services their customers are looking for.