There are a few weeks left in 2022, but the eyes of the commerce world are already peeking ahead to 2023, anticipating what challenges, opportunities, and threats lay in the upcoming year.

Among the key topics of conversation is immersive technology, and the many ways it is expected to impact business in both the short and long term. Virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D, the metaverse, all words buzzing across headlines and newsletters declaring what the next great innovation will be. Arguments can be made for any or all of these technologies to accelerate in 2023, but they all depend on the catalyst of innovators in the space who are willing to make the leap.

We talked to five of those innovators about what they expect to see in and around VR, AR, and the metaverse in 2023. Here is what they had to say.

Deb Gabor, CEO, Sol Marketing

“Technology will continue to impact brands’ relationships with customers in 2023. While forward-thinking brands embrace technology to create immersive brand experiences, they need to focus on the human element of those consumer interactions. The use of this technology is projected to accelerate over the next year, and brands that facilitate the growth of the human ecosystem required to support it will win in the end. While the technology is cool and empowers consumers to experience brands in ways they never could before or could previously do only in physical settings, brands need to remember that their technology is NOT their brand. Brand leaders need to look beyond using technology to power transactions in a mixed reality universe to using technology to foster authentic, meaningful, emotional connections that power long-term trust. Customers are human, and humans value experiences over products. While virtual try-ons and 3D product views can accelerate real-time purchase decisions, they barely scratch the surface of what’s possible with technology for enhancing customers’ use of their products. Brands focused on long-term brand growth can use Metaverse applications for everything from advertising and entertainment to community building and immersive online support experiences that make brands indispensable to their customers beyond initial transactions”.

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Brant McLean, VP Sales, Dopple

“More than ever, people are experiencing brands & their products for the first time digitally. The internet has created an infinite store shelf, with an endless variety of products available to be viewed and explored by buyers. To stand out brands must exceed the expectations of consumers in product presentation when compared to both physical retail and competing products in the digital sphere. We expect to see an increasing number of brands turning to 3D and augmented reality to drive engaging product experiences that convert. Those already leveraging 3D & AR are seeing meaningful results in KPIs such as time spent, conversions, and reductions in returns.”

Mike Boland, Chief Analyst, ARtillery Intelligence

“One key question is, will an economic downturn help or hurt XR? There are some segments that could hurt (consumer VR given that it’s discretionary spending). Other areas could benefit, such as enterprise AR and being more effective with less headcount using things like remote support. Also, in AR marketing; downturns tend to favor emerging and performance-based formats as brands and agencies are forced to rethink their media mix. We saw that happen with search (following the dot-com bust) and social (following the financial crisis).

Speaking of the macro-economic environment, will that finally ignite the backlash to metaverse mania. I predicted it would happen in 2022 and was dead wrong. But the backlash seems primed now as the metaverse is getting tired as a buzzword, and there’s no immediate gratification (the tech press and mainstream consumers have short attention spans). Moreover, in economic downturns, there may not be as much patience for frivolous future-gazing as opposed to focusing on concrete business results today.”

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Jarrett Webb, Technology Director, argo design

Via AR Insider, “We have only created suggestions of augmented reality experiences. Pointing out the gap between augmented reality and augmented virtuality is about elevating the conversation of experience design and not the sport of pedantically parsing terminology.

We are in an exciting time for mixed reality. No established rules or conventions firmly exist. We are in the process of feeling them out. Certainly, we will make bad choices, but we will also make fundamental ones that will define the future of human-computer interactions in mixed reality.”

Justin Scott, CEO, Dopple

“Buyers seek and adopt better experiences, and sellers are looking for efficiencies in purchasing. 3D and AR enable immersive experiences that deliver against consumers’ increased expectations while improving the seller’s results for their most important KPIs; namely, higher, more profitable conversion rates, lower returns, and happier customers. The return on investment in 3D and AR is no longer in question, the results have been seen and shared by the largest big box retailers, all the way down to sole proprietorships and startups operating on the most popular eCommerce platforms.”

 Katherine McInnes is community and content marketing manager at Dopple. A version of this article first appeared on the Dopple blog.

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