Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

The metaverse means a new generation of marketing tech for retailers

Dominik Angerer, CEO and Co-Founder of enterprise CMS Storyblok, discusses the 3D CMS tech that will be needed to make the metaverse function

On May 25th 1961 President Kennedy announced to the world the US’s ambition to land a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. Sixty years and a few months later, the CEO of Facebook announced his own grand plans to create a network of virtual worlds dubbed the metaverse. Although the metaverse is a slightly less grand goal and perhaps a little more divisive, there are some similarities in these ambitions. Principally, when Kennedy announced his plans, much of the technology to make it a reality hadn’t even been conceived. The same is true for the metaverse. There’s a lot behind the scenes which is needed to both make it work in practice. It’s all very well creating the structure of the metaverse but, for it to really take off, we need a new generation of solutions that enable individuals and organizations to meaningfully participate. This is particularly true when we think about marketing.

CMS technology is currently geared towards a 2D world of emails, websites, apps and electronic billboards. The best new tech enables marketers to create, manage and update campaigns on multiple channels with minimal interaction from developers or IT departments. In recent years, these solutions have been expanded to take into account data-driven personalisation and more exotic channels such as IoT devices. However, no matter the channel, the core concepts of delivering copy and imagery remain essentially the same. The metaverse is a whole new kettle of fish. It will require the creation of a new generation of 3D CMS solutions that enable completely different ways for brands to interact with consumers.

The goal of 3D CMS will be to enable the creation, maintenance and modification of virtual, augmented and other immersive content. I say ‘other immersive’ simply because we don’t really know what innovations will come out of the metaverse. It’s like asking someone in the 1990s to imagine what the internet would be like now.

In practice, imagine going into virtual shops where every product and marketing message is tailored exactly to your needs. The crucial element of the 3D CMS will be that it will integrate with existing marketing channels. This means a headless 3D CMS will enable marketers to make instant changes on any channel – IoT, social, email, virtual store – without the need of longtail development projects. In essence, it will make virtual as adaptable and manageable as any other communication output. The challenge is that the only limit to the form these metaverse marketing experiences take is the imagination of a brand’s communication department. Add to this the way each experience can and will be personalized and, at their best, will enable a number of different interaction scenarios and you can see just how complex it will all get.

To put it more simply, 3D CMS solutions will need to leverage a huge amount more data than

current systems and they will need to enable the creation and management of a mind boggling number of customer journeys. At the same time they need to be easy enough to use so that companies don’t have to dedicate a crazy amount of resources. They will also need to be secure, integrate (where possible) into existing systems and be able to track effectiveness and essentially do everything the best CMS systems do now.

At first glance it may seem like developing these solutions may take years, however, the reality may be very different. Outside of the amount of money that will become available to fund development, the biggest benefit of 3D systems is they potentially enable a clean break from the past. The martech industry often faces the hurdle of brands being too cautious to adopt new platforms and instead trying to adapt their existing systems. Many huge global retailers have marketing tech stacks that resemble Frankenstein’s monster. In the past, this just about worked, however, in recent years it has become a problem. You can most clearly see it with how the performance of many websites has deteriorated. Customer experience is suffering and the costs associated with maintaining these systems have gone up. The metaverse changes this dynamic. If it is a success, retailers especially will be under considerable pressure to get involved. The only way they will be able to create attractive offerings on a sustainable basis is by investing in some form of 3D CMS. As these systems are such a step up in complexity inevitably many will be forced to finally replace their legacy systems. The result could be a boom, not just for 3D CMS solutions but the wider martech industry. More demand will equate to the virtuous cycle of faster and faster innovation and development driving better ROI.


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