It seems that every day there is some kind of new update to technology that makes it hard to see the wood through the trees. But there are certain developments that we need to sit up and take note of – especially for small to medium enterprises.
It’s time to step it up a notch, as the impressive speed the internet is improving thanks to new technology, now is always a prime time to look at a new way of thinking. But how can you bring this into your business and take advantage of it?
Let’s start from the beginning. Web 1.0 was the foundation phase of the internet where the number of websites was low and their design was far from anything spectacular. There were mainly paragraphs of texts and a few images if you were lucky!
Then came Web 2.0, and we are coming to the end of this era. Started in 2005, it was an exciting read-write platform that enticed billions of users through interactivity. Whether that’s social media accounts, e-commerce purchases, blogs or vlogs, it presented an opportunity for the internet to become accessible to people on a global level. The recent downfall to Web 2.0 was though is its weaknesses with its centralised format, lack of privacy, data breaches and non-autonomous governance.
What is Web 3.0?
We have watched how the internet has evolved throughout the decades, and now it’s getting its biggest evolution to date with Web 3.0. There is a focus on storing information that doesn’t face the threat of hacking and is a more secure, personalised, decentralised and improved system using a blockchain that will keep track of all transactions stored in a ledger.
How will it enhance my online experience?
As the internet is becoming much more intelligent, let’s face it – how many times have we seen adverts directed at our buying habits as if our devices have read our minds? It’s time for small to medium businesses to explore how the online world and this intelligence can benefit us all more. If there’s one thing that the pandemic taught us, it is the power of the internet when it comes to business meetings, shopping and gaming. Web 3.0 is taking our online experience to another level with virtual tours, Google Lens and in-game advertisements.
This all comes under the buzzword ‘metaverse’ where extended reality is becoming…well, a reality. It’s predicted to become a $800billion market in just two years’ time with big tech names like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook investing in its abilities. It’s basically a 3D version of the internet, a place parallel to the real world – you can liken it to The Sims. It’s far more than just a video game though, but the principles are pretty much the same. Fortnite is a great example where users engage and interact with other players using their own avatar and can earn virtual currency to unlock purchases.
At the moment there is no single passage to access the metaverse, but VR and AR devices are certainly on the rise to accommodate this. Platforms such as Decentraland, Horizon, Roblox and Sandbox are providing a space for live entertainment, real estate and virtual workshops. Not to mention the ability to try on glasses, beauty and cosmetics without even leaving your home. This is the part that can really benefit your business, where shoppers can get more hands-on with the product and get excited about your unique offering.
What does this mean for your business?
It’s time to get creative and invested in 3.0. These advancements in technology are designed to enhance the user’s experience and can start with the device we use the most – our smartphones. More and more small to medium businesses are reaping the benefits of QR codes and exclusive content to offer loyal fans of the brand something extra special. Sibling Distillery in Gloucestershire is a great example, as they’ve put QR codes on their spirit bottles to give buyers more detail about their drinks, what it goes best with, etc. It helps to enhance strategies and the user’s journey and experience, therefore improving ROI and conversion rates for consumers to invest in their products and services.
How to create your own virtual strategy
It’s time to get ahead of the curve and ahead of your competitors by putting together a plan-of-action to implement this within your company and increase brand awareness. There are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, with the technology on offer and the right ideas and the right team behind you to make it happen. From immersive entertainment to improved education and training, work meetings, new revenue streams to digital locations, the online world is your oyster.
For SMEs, there are two aspects of web 3.0 to particularly take note of. Firstly, the enhanced customer experience. If you’re a tour company for example, not only could you offer just the logistics behind getting from A-to-B and providing an in-person experience, there is the chance to enhance this further with VR of what a location used to look like, audio inserts of historical facts and interactive quizzes to keep the journey interesting.
Another possibility is the advertising, branding and marketing opportunities that are on offer. Disney is a pioneer of this – in November 2020 they shared their ‘theme park metaverse’ initiative where Head of Digital and Technology for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products stated that “physical and digital worlds [will] converge, with wearables, smartphones and digital access points immersing the guests in the metaverse experiences.” Ok, we understand that budgets and resources for SMEs might not be able to match those of the likes of Disney, but it’s certainly a great place to look for inspiration.
If you run a hairdressers, think about using digital try-ons for hairstyle and similar fashions of beauty companies. Don’t wait for your competitors to steal the limelight from your services and products. The time is now to look at the future of your company’s offering and how to better your user and consumer experience. To find out more about how Brace can assist with strategy, speak to our team.