The convergence of physical and digital realities powered by Web3 and the metaverse are adding a new depth to the customer experience, sometimes literally. By expanding a customer’s experience through the use of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other times extending traditional concepts like the idea of ownership through crypto, NFTs, and blockchain, these emerging technology trends are defining the evolution of CX.
At the core of this new depth of experience is an empowered individual that has a new set of tools to tap into a larger range of human-centric experiences, while unlocking value within those experiences for both the individual and the brand alike.
Unrealized CX Value
While Web3 technology continues to emerge and gain momentum in adoption, our challenge is to tap into the convergence and unlock the shared value these experiences create. In doing so, there are three core questions that we use to help frame and identify the depth to these evolved customer experiences:
- Classic question: What is the human problem you’re solving?
- Empowered technology question: How will emerging technology trends empower the individual?
- Unlocked value question: What can you unlock that has not been unlocked for the ordinary, everyday user before now?
As the metaverse and a decentralized internet collide, the individual user will more than ever before own their own worlds. To catch the next supercycle of advanced tech with the greatest impact for your CX, the experiences brands enable must cater to the human behind the customer.
Untapping the Potential of Emerging Technology Trends
The momentum of emerging technologies is relentless, with new advancements being shared, tried, tested, rebuilt, and reshaped every day. Here are three use cases that imagine a customer-driven world of Web3 technologies that showcase how brands can untap value for themselves and their customers.
NFTs Accelerate a New Path to Purchase
NFTs, and blockchain tokens, let users capture and store a unique, ownable value. The depth in NFTs is that they can capture value from a range of transactions, behaviors, or even customer activities. A human-centric approach to design can help capture a customer’s passion and affinity for a brand through an NFT, which then allows the brand to stay engaged with that customer and accelerate a completely new path for purchase.
Imagine a customer, let’s call her Julianna, is obsessed with fast cars. Julianna is a sports car enthusiast. She’s not yet able to afford the one car she wants. But, she is able to invest in an NFT that allows her to race a digital twin of her favorite car in the metaverse.
Not only does she tune up her NFT with enhanced features and parts that she purchases, but the brand adds value through the engagement she participates in by attending viewing parties, sponsored brand events, and brand virtual meetups. Through that investment, she’s able to earn test drives and after accumulating enough value in the NFT, that a local dealer offer considers her NFT a down payment for an actual car.
Deepening the relationship with a coveted brand doesn’t have to be exclusive to only those who can afford it. An NFT that increases in value through multiple brand engagements can unlock a reciprocal connection between the customer and the brand.
Empathy in the Aisle
AR is an emerging technology trend that allows for immediate depth and interaction within our physical world and can increase the empathy a brand can show for a customer, even when that customer is feeling their worst. By bridging the locked knowledge of over-the-counter (OTC) medications with an empathetic AR experience, we’ve built a future case that connects the customer in the aisle with the power of a healing brand.
Picture yourself feeling crummy on a winter night and in desperate need of some cold medicine. Instead of venturing out into the snow, you instead jump into your own private online store with aisles of OTC medicine tailored to your needs. An avatar of a pharmacist greets you and provides helpful guidance on medication interactions and product recommendations. An hour later, your real-world doorbell rings and the physical medicine is at your doorstep.
Researching complicated drug interactions and determining the best OTC medication for your unique condition doesn’t have to be painful. There’s a better way than navigating flat, content-dense screens or waiting in line to talk to a pharmacist. With an empathetic avatar, customers can access expert advice and connect with a brand in deeply supportive ways.
An Aftermarket that Creates Ongoing Branded Engagement
As we evolve customer experiences and explore more emerging technology trends, we unlock larger concepts of ownership and brand loyalty. By combining NFTs and a VR store, we can help customers unlock value in their owned gear and equipment, while providing the brand an opportunity to create an engagement platform from the inside out.
Community can be hard to come by. But through a new hobby and shared interest, customers can expand their human connections via a brand relationship. For avid outdoor explorers and gearheads, brands can be a trusted source for used gear and an entry point for community.
In this future scenario, picture a virtual storefront that looks not much different than the inside of your local outdoor store, except it’s digital, online, and exists only inside customers’ VR headset. Similar to how current online marketplaces work, like eBay and Craigslist, this virtual storefront lets members feature used and loaner gear. By connecting the gear to NFTs, the owners of used gear can share, loan, and sell in a system that fosters trusted transactions. The NFT, a virtual representation of their used gear, allows for a digital record of ownership, an online trail that ensures the gear belongs to the right person in the real world. This online marketplace generates a community of similarly interested customers who connect over their passion for the outdoors and the outdoor brand.
As brands consider how to catch the next supercycle of technological advancement and stay relevant with customers seeking new experiences in the metaverse, you need to consider how to retain human connection during a period of increasing virtual distance. Designing to solve human problems with human-centered solutions can help evolve CX from transactional and remote engagement to one that is truly inclusive, empathic, and interactive.