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In our first two blog posts, we explored and discussed the technology in today’s branches, as well as trends for the branch of tomorrow. In our final post about technology in the retail branch, we’re going to explore some future technology that is becoming more and more popular – and that’s the metaverse.

 

Depending on what you read, the metaverse is being described as a temporary fad to the next version of the internet that will change life as we know it. There’s no doubt some major companies are counting on the future of the metaverse, including Facebook which surprised many when they changed the name of their parent company to Meta and shared some images of this future world. We’ve even seen some of the largest banks in the world starting to explore the digital world. JP Morgan has created a virtual branch, HSBC has purchased land in the digital Sandbox, and other institutions are exploring how they can trade digital currency, for digital assets, in a new digital world. But is the fad here to stay? Should you consider what a digital branch looks like for you? Let’s explore what the digital branch could look like – and how it could play a part in your branch network.

Future Banking Metaverse
Future Banking Metaverse
Future Banking Metaverse

First, understanding the draw to the Metaverse is important – especially for a financial institution. The Metaverse provides a unique digital experience for any visitor joining these worlds. People can customize almost anything they want in this world – and are offered opportunities to do things they perhaps never could elsewhere. For example, the NBA, during COVID, hosted virtual courtside seats for some loyal fans, giving them a glimpse of what it’s like to have these seats in real life. Epic Games, a large gaming company, hosted an online Concert for Ariana Grande. These are just a couple of unique experiences that are already happening today, with more things in the works.  

 

These types of experiences are adding to what many are calling the experience economy and why so many are betting on the Metaverse to succeed. Studies show 72% of millennials prefer spending their money on experiences over material things – and you can bet that number is higher for Gen Z. It’s why this group searches for a unique and picture-worthy Airbnb versus a standard hotel or travels to Amsterdam to see the new Wondr Experience where they can enjoy a confetti-sprinkled playground. Unique coffee shops or breweries are becoming increasingly popular because they offer something new, unique, and memorable for their visitors.

Future Banking Metaverse

So why does all this matter for a Financial Institution? While you should already be creating a great experience for your customer, the Metaverse opens up an unlimited amount of opportunities for you to connect to your customers…or future customers. Your branch doesn’t need to look like a branch, it doesn’t need to meet any zoning or building code regulations of today, and the cost of the property (and maintenance) of virtual land is just a portion of the real world. The only limitation is where your creativity ends.

 

The metaverse could be a solution to connect the digital world with the human element and help bring back the personal connections that are important with customers and their financial institutions. Of course, this personal connection is not the same as a physical branch interaction, but a visitor in the metaverse can still get the personal interaction and attention they like, from the comfort of their home. And while privacy is a concern of every customer, it’s no secret that the online world has data and info on what your customers like, and their searches, and could allow you to customize their experience in the metaverse when they enter your financial institution.

Future Banking Metaverse
Future Banking Metaverse

Banking in the metaverse will no doubt look different than banking ever has – but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Financial Institutions that find a way to plug into the Metaverse, find ways to continue to be there as a resource, and eliminate friction between their customers will most likely find that something like the Metaverse disruption can be positive for them. The Metaverse has the opportunity to radically change banking as we know it – are you thinking about it? 

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