by vladimir moldovanu
With the rise of force digitalisation, NFTs and Metaverse, new horizons are open for the retail brand experience. Now, brands have the opportunity to create new ways of interacting with their fanbase in physical and digital world.
Setting the stage
With the rise of blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs and recently Metaverse, we think that there might be a shift in future consumer behaviour that is not driven by big brands however its driven by community. This could be a reiteration of social media, brand loyalisation and new dialogue between brands and their fans. Also, could possibly challenge the future understanding of customer journey, its touchpoints and the definition of what “online” means.
The metaverse brings nothing new in the life of some users.
The gaming industry that created mass multiplayer worlds were the first to pave the way for users to interact, complete quests, make friends and in some cases get married. Games like World of Warcraft, GTA and Second Life created the first outlines of how people can interact online via an avatar and what the experiences can look like. We can argue that some of Millennials generation are metaverse ready due to their past experiences or touchpoints with the gaming industry. Same thing we can assume for the GenZ and GenAlpha as “new” worlds titles are being launched that have incorporated different styles of interactions like Fortnite and Roblox. The continuous existence of the gaming experience for all generations and together with the force digitalisation created by the recent health crisis is setting the foundation for what could be the next digital worlds and define new interactions between people in the decentralised web 3 future.
To add more to this, we believe that web 3 is opening doors for new creatives and new communities that are forming around the creation of new digital products that will influence the products in real world. As we can observe fashion creative around the world are pushing the limits of new digital clothing pieces in form of NFTs and new young talents start collaborations with established brands for future drops. All this is having at the core the creative process based on collaboration and community push.
By observing and being part of all this, we believe web3 will be driven by the maturity of the digital community, as we call it “Community 2.0” and by the power of collaboration and discovery of new creative ways and talents.
The idea of digital ownership, brought in by the NFTs market and cryptocurrency’s that are imbedded in the virtual worlds. Adding to this list for example digital where music artist like Travis Scott of Justin Bieber hold concerts in Fortnite and Decentraland. This is opened a new dimension of connecting with the fans rather then social media or live concerts.
New territories and new possibilities
As we mentioned before, the idea of a presence somewhere in the digital space that is parallel to the reality is not new. The things that start making the difference is that now we have places that holds events, avatar that can wear branded clothes, digital products sold as NFTs and “in world” economy via crypto currency.
Visiting an art exhibition in Spationl.io can expose the user to a new type of experience and its could be a new territory for creatives to write now rules. The same applies to the in world avatar creation, customisation and clothing where fashion is exploring new possibilities without having to deal with gravity for example. We believe all this is part of exploring new territories and new possibilities that we didn’t define yet. Adding to the fact that users can acquire with crypto currency different items ranging from digital clothes to digital property in form of NFTs is something that is being described as “meta-economy” and its also at the begging of its formation.
As brands are always present where customers are, we can witness the fashion industry taking the lead into new digital territories and embracing new tech & trends. Brands like Nike becoming metaverse ready with the acquisition of RTFKT and high end fashion houses becoming the lead to engage more and more customers in the digital worlds. From in game collaboration of avatar dresses by the Gucci fashion house to the 2022 Fashion Week that is going to be held for the first time virtually and continuing with NFTs launch events. The fashion brands seem to create the way of engaging with new metaverse ready generation and tech trends.
As digital worlds are becoming new territories for brands to interact with customers, new lessons are learned along the way. The maturity of digital communities is becoming stronger than ever and the long years spend under the dominance of big tech and the collection of data had led users to lean towards the decentralisation of the world wide web. As a new iteration of the internet is happening web 3 will generate new ways towards open-source approach & blockchain technology.
New brand moves towards customers interaction need to take the communities into consideration more than ever and the decentralisation of internet to create new dialogues, relations and fans taking into consideration user driven community of block chain crypto assets.
From artist holding concerts in Decentraland, communities holding gatherings and brands opening retail spaces we believe the web 3 and digital worlds are opening new ways and refreshing the idea of brand experience and founding new relations with their customers.
The new creative approach
We are at the beginning of what we call web 3. This is an opportunity for creatives, retailers and brands to create something new, and be the first one to do it. This could be a moment for innovation and for new directions for retail areas be that in the physical world or in the brick and mortar.
Possible new virtual economies will rise and mature. NFTs could become the new brand loyalty program linking to customers directly to some areas of the retail store or mixing digital ownership with physical product. This could mean brands and their agencies will need to find new ways to address the customer journey and engagement concepts in the upcoming metaverse.
New future creative steps have to have the full understanding of the new formed digital community, as this new world is highly community driven and highly decentralized. This set of challenges addresses new ways of looking at customer journey landscape and new personas that could be a dramatic change in creation of marketing strategies, retail formats and engagement concepts.
The parallel existence of another digital world where customers are and where a new economy can be formed can change the understanding of phygital and create new territories for creatives to explore and bring brand fans together.
As experience economy changed the way Millennials engage with brands and outline their request, Gen Alpha is web 3 native and this could iterate a new customers approach and formulate new relations that will change retail and brand experiences.
We believe that retail should be part of the social fabric and culture, and whatever this will bring we need to be ready as creatives to offer new aesthetics to the experiences. And as retail and brands are driven by customers behaviour, the maturity and evolution of metaverse, usage of NFTs and blockchain will have to pass the test of adoption rate from the customers side.
We believe the success and maturity of metaverse and web 3 is more than ever in the hands of the communities that are using it, in a nutshell the users. The adoption rate of the hyped digital environment will have to stand the test of time and user adoption – as we use to say, a design is finished when the user starts using it. Whatever the next steps will be, for sure we see major brands making big moves to be present where new customers are and are going to be in physical world and for now especially in metaverse worlds.
Vladimir MoldovanuCreative Director
Vladimir Moldovanu is the Creative Director in our CX Team. His expertise: He works at the confluence between digital and physical brand experiences, with a focus on emotional customer experience. He has been working for a numerous global brands around the world for more than 10 years .