6 ways to prepare your business for the metaverse

  • After years of development, key technological trends are converging and one result could be the metaverse.

  • No matter how, or even if, the metaverse comes to be, its key concepts are business-relevant today.

  • Business leaders should understand the near and long-term actions to take.


The metaverse The topic is everywhere, but few people are experts on it and organisations are wondering if they need to pay attention to it. Could something so hyped, so seemingly ‘unreal,’ even matter to their business? The short answer: yes. 

In fact, several metaverse concepts are already becoming concrete. Others will soon. Many companies are investing, aiming to deepen customer loyalty, engage in new ways with their communities and grow revenue. The metaverse promises options to enrich customer experience, create virtual-only products and market physical and digital products and services. It will do all this with its own payments and financial systems and of course will need hardware and applications to support all these activities.

For business, the implications of an immersive, persistent and decentralised digital world could be enormous.

Yet there’s reason for wariness, too. The metaverse is suddenly hot, even though the underlying technology trends have been underway for years. As in the internet’s early days, this innovation likely contains pockets of speculation, overvaluation and unwise investment — especially since a true metaverse, as tech visionaries imagine it, is still years away. Not every company needs to become a metaverse leader today.

The good news is, it’s possible to separate the reality from the hype: understand what the metaverse is really about and take practical, affordable steps to meet your company’s needs.

Choose your own adventure

The metaverse promises, among other things, a stunningly realistic 3D digital world where you can purchase and sell goods and services, sign and enforce contracts, recruit and train talent, and interact with customers and communities. As some technology visionaries imagine the metaverse, this world won’t primarily run on platforms whose owners control data, governance and transactions. Instead, customers (and businesses) will be able to take their identities, currencies, experiences and assets anywhere they wish. Much of this digital world will persist even when no one is in it.

One way to think of the metaverse, therefore, is as a set of opportunities your company can select from to narrow focus. Technology trends – such as blockchain-based currencies, digital identities, virtual immersive realities  – are now converging and these concepts will be its foundation. Most are not yet fully mature and the full value of true convergence is still unrealised by most organisations. 

Yet some are already solid enough that they can grow existing lines of business and create new ones. Companies in retail, real estate, and entertainment are already investing and earning profits.1,2,3 For other, less mature metaverse components, getting in at the start will help your company be ready for however the metaverse may evolve. Either way, these components require an attention to trust and values — without care, this new digital world could exacerbate socioeconomic disparities.

When assets, transactions and identities simultaneously exist in physical and digital worlds that billions of people and organisations share, the old ways of building and sustaining trust may no longer apply.

Metaverse: Where we are now

The building blocks  

Today, cloud technology is addressing the processing power and storage to support extended reality and immersive interfaces. Hyperconnected networks that leverage 5G are nearing maturity. AI is helping to create digital reflections that combine computer vision, speech and deep learning to offer users experiences that feel real. The decentralisation of finance and the economy, as supported by blockchain, is making partly automated financial systems possible. Finally, digital-native consumers and the pandemic’s impact on consumption habits are igniting demand for the virtual products and experiences that the metaverse offers.

Still largely missing is the metaverse’s promised interoperability: a digital world where you and your customers can transition seamlessly among multiple experiences offered by various providers. This connectivity will require a new decentralised architecture for the internet, called web 3.0, which internet innovators and investors are currently working on. Whether or not the vision of the metaverse as a whole ever arrives, enough components already exist to offer opportunities, along with risks, today.

Metaverse: Where we are headed

How to prepare

Since no true metaverse exists yet, but many of its concepts are already business-relevant, many companies would benefit from taking six measured actions. 

Near-term actions

  • Get up to speed. Most companies — even many technology companies — lack institutional familiarity with the metaverse’s concepts, which are evolving quickly. Many may also lack the skills and processes to truly understand and trust their digital transactions and investments. Assign at least one resource or source of knowledge (such as a group) to understand key concepts such as cryptocurrencies and decentralised autonomous organisations and their relevance to your company, and to follow the metaverse as it evolves.

  • Develop a strategy. Identify gaps to close and long-term opportunities to build from the metaverse and its key concepts, then work on foundational measures. Many companies, for example, will likely benefit from recruiting digital native employees already at home with the metaverse’s key concepts, as well as technical measures such making services extensible, developing plans for security and identity, and publishing application programming interfaces (APIs) to core systems so others can connect.

  • Test the waters. Select a few opportunities available within the metaverse’s underlying trends today. Lower-risk use cases include selling digital versions of physical goods, offering virtual tours of virtual products or facilities, and launching NFTs to enhance brand awareness and connections to customers. Companies may also wish to consider buying or leasing digital real estate for sales, advertising and customer support.4 Digital real estate is likely a higher-risk option, since no individual digital worlds have yet proved that they will have lasting relevance, but it may be a reasonable choice for some companies to consider


Long-term foundations

  • Focus on trust. The metaverse and its currently existing components offer new challenges for cybersecurity, privacy rights, regulatory compliance, brand reputation and anti-fraud efforts. Companies should, for example, consider security at the services level, so that no matter where your asset goes, security is maintained. To foster trust among consumers, shareholders, regulators and other stakeholders, communicate early what to expect from your metaverse initiatives and how you will mitigate the potential risks. Blockchain and AI, for example, can in some cases automate the authentication of identity, assets, transactions and contracts.

  • Rethink core competencies. What offers competitive advantage in a shared, decentralised digital environment may be different from what you have today. You may need upskilling and recruiting to close skills gaps, as well as new approaches to data and business relationships. If, for example, your digital strategy is based on owning a digital platform, you will likely need to accelerate your services and security infrastructure. If you are working with a platform, assess how ready they are — and make sure that you can take your data with you if you switch providers.

  • Align physical and digital. If you have added or plan on adding digital services and/or assets to your portfolio, drive for a consistent brand experience across both the physical and digital constructs. Just as your web presence needs to match your physical location experience — so must your metaverse experience.

Don’t wait

These six measures can offer a major benefit: they’ll help your company even if a metaverse based on a web 3.0 architecture never becomes a complete reality. Many of the key concepts that would underlie a true metaverse are already maturing quickly. Innovation is currently accelerating to transform the digital economy, enhance interoperability for digital environments, create digital identities that consumers and organisations can fully own, set new rules for governance, create more immersive digital experiences and make these experiences more persistent. However the metaverse evolves, these trends are real right now. Getting started early can help make sure your company won’t be left behind.

A version of this article was previously published on PwC's Tech Effect.


  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-09/luxury-fashion-brands-are-already-making-millions-in-the-metaverse
  2. https://fortune.com/2021/12/03/metaverse-interest-spikes-digital-real-estate-prices/
  3. https://www.forbes.com/video/6282603782001/the-most-profitable-concerts-now-take-place-in-the-metaverse/?sh=ac3de87453b6
  4. https://www.animocabrands.com/the-sandbox-welcomes-pwc-hong-kong-to-the-metaverse