In a world where the lines between the physical and the digital are blurring, it’s safe to say that digital transformation is bound to accelerate. We’ve actually even witnessed how fast things can take a new turn with the current pandemic, which has shown just how digital consumption can drastically change, making way for new trends and innovations.
As new technologies emerge, customers expect brands to keep up and deliver experiences that incorporate them. For a while now, companies have been embracing artificial intelligence and incorporating AI-implemented marketing techniques into their business strategies.
On the one hand, many companies have been relying on Conversational AI, which is the use of tools such as chatbots, messaging apps, and voice assistants that use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to provide answers to queries in a conversational manner.
On the other hand, other companies have been incorporating AI into their products. For instance, not long ago, Yves Saint Laurent debuted “YSL Rouge Sur Mesure Powered by Perso”, a smart at-home device that enables consumers to create their personalized lip colors with the help of its AI-based system.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Big companies have started bridging the virtual and the real world by relying on virtual and augmented reality as means of generating immersive, exciting, as well as interactive customer experiences, both in-store and online. Fast-fashion retailer Zara, for example, has started using augmented reality in its stores, just as Nike and several other major brands also did to facilitate and increase purchases. L’Oréal, however, offers online AR-powered makeup try-on experiences, which allow customers to experiment with the world’s best beauty brands, including Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, Lancôme, and many more.
NFTs and the Metaverse
The gaming industry, known for being a pioneer in this field, was also in on the NFT trend. For instance, Roblox partnered with Chipotle to build a gamified campaign called “Burrito Maze” in which players wear Chipotle-themed gear, collect special ingredients and avoid monsters until they reach the end of the maze. Those who do so are granted access to free and exclusive Chipotle-themed items for their Roblox avatar. By doing so, Chipotle has not only presented its customers with a fully immersive and exciting experience but also pushed the envelope of digital marketing by hopping on the NFT trend.
All this hype is expected to give rise to a digital world known as the metaverse, which merges the digital and the real world for an exciting digital experience. It may not be entirely shocking that, in 2021, people started taking the metaverse seriously: Let’s not forget that during the pandemic, so many things from socializing, to shopping, to working turned digital by necessity. It’s as if we were halfway into a metaverse already.
Not long ago, media tycoon Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is rebranding to Meta –a telltale sign that the Metaverse will be part of the future because let’s be honest, that man knows his stuff when it comes to business and technology. The social media giant, Meta, is also exploring plans to let users mint, showcase, and sell NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. With Meta rivals like Twitter testing NFT potential and Reddit launching its collection of NFT avatars, it only makes sense for Meta to hop on the trend.
As the digital world moves further into the physical one, will we reach a point where digitalization will mark the difference between who’s thriving and who’s merely surviving, or, dare we say, who’s winning and who’s losing?