Amazon is an amazing company. It already owned all the information about what you buy online. Amazon knows who knocks on your door (Ring) and what you eat (Whole Foods). It knows what you talk about in your home (Alexa), what you listen to (Audible), and what shoes you like (Zappos). Amazon also knows the temperature in your house (Eero), and now it will know the exact outline of your living room with iRobot, and the exact details of your innards with One Medical.
Apple has the Health app, so it has some insight into your lifestyle, and Google owns everything you do on your browser. Facebook knows all the things you decide to post, and some of what you decide not to post. Amazon knows it all.
What does this mean for the future of the web and its newly minted cousin, the metaverse?
Facebook, um, Meta, has bet its future on the metaverse -- but my money goes with Amazon. Who has the most insight into what a custom-tailored virtual experience should look like? Hint -- Amazon.
Amazon could very easily deliver a personalized metaversal experience to its customers in a short period of time by mashing together everything it knows about you from the real world. It could craft a virtual version of your home, stocked with what it knows you like, and build from there. It could be like Minecraft for grown-ups!
To date, first- party data has been used primarily for advertising and customer experience. What about when companies start creating virtual environments that help customers see a different way of living?
Imagine what Amazon could do -- send you a pair of VR glasses for free that enable you to access a VR environment that recommends home goods? That VR world can also show you what you would look like with a better diet, and how much more you could experience in better health, even giving you training options.
A set of AR glasses to wear in the real world could constantly stream to you the options you have for making better lifestyle choices through your standard day, which would help you become healthier, such as real-time calorie counts based on what you're seen eating. The possibilities are endless and go far beyond anything we are doing today.
The ownership of this first-party data is even more important, since third-party data is fading into the sunset. Amazon becomes the lead partner for large brands who want to know more about their customers. Amazon strategists are in the cat-bird seat and can determine whom they want to work with and whom they don’t.
So is first-party data the yellow brick road to the metaverse? I think it certainly could be. The more you know about your customers, the more capable you are of crafting an environment that will attract and retain them. That creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and one that momentum fuels.
So as usual, we are back to the original cliché that “data is the new oil” -- and Amazon is the largest oil owner in the world!