Retailers can create entirely new revenue streams and discover new customers using Web 3.0 technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse.
Chain Store Age recently spoke with Adryenn Ashley, global blockchain influencer and co-founder of the Billionaire Zombies Club decentralized NFT art community, about how retailers can take advantage of emerging “Web 3.0” technologies such as NFTs, blockchain, and metaverse. Following are highlights of her commentary on the opportunities which exist for retailers in each technology area.
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According to Ashley, NFTs - unique digital assets stored on a blockchain ledger which certifies the owner – can provide value to retailers far beyond the simple sale of collectible digital files.
“An NFT is much more than a JPEG file and a serial number,” explained Ashley. “You can build a community with NFTs.”
Ashley recommended that retailers place an NFT portal in their consumer apps which have already been downloaded, and then create a custodial wallet inside the app by offering an NFT tab where users make digital payments.
“Retailers can deliver gated content there,” said Ashley. “You can geolocate NFT users on your app and reach them via their phones with push notifications.
Examples of content retailers can push to targeted customers via NFT include early access to hot products, specific reminders and discounts, or purchasing an NFT to reserve the right to receive a specific product in a certain color or size, regardless of where the product is located relative to the consumer.
“Where retailers are failing with NFTs is not understanding their enormity,” said Ashley. “You can use NFTs to really inspire the buyer and have them become an evangelist for your brand.
The metaverse is a sophisticated digital environment where consumers use augmented and virtual reality technology to digitally engage with each other and their surroundings, with crossovers into the physical world. Ashley sees a very bright future for the metaverse as a retail channel.
[Editor’s commentary: What could the ‘Metaverse’ mean for retail?]
“You will have shopping malls in the metaverse,” said Ashley. “Be the first to get to the metaverse and build a mall. Lease out stores and make up for the last two lost years of revenue.”
[Read more: America’s newest ‘mall’ is located in cyberspace]
Ashley thinks the metaverse could really break out with the red-hot collectible sneaker market.
“Nike has a metaverse store, and could digitally alpha-test designs, see what people like, ad let them collect multiverse assets,” she said. “They could then poll multiverse customers about popular designs and see if they want to buy them in the real world. You could have New York Fashion Week in the multiverse.”
Many retailers (including Nike) currently operate multiverse commerce initiatives on virtual gaming platforms such as Roblox. While Ashley said these platforms can be “clunky,” she advises retailers to hire individual 3d artists to create robust, proprietary multiverse environments they can control.
“Tap the global talent market to obtain development services at a reasonable price,” she said. “A social media platform owns your audience and limits the number of people who see your posts unless you pay for ads. When your brand is a solution provider in the multiverse, you own your audience.”
Ashley also touched upon the potential value that lies within cryptocurrency, which she said has become a major technology trend in the past two years. Cryptocurrency is a nearly-anonymous, decentralized, peer-to-peer online currency that is based on blockchain technology. Blockchain serves as a real-time, single ledger verifying all transactions conducted on the blockchain network.
“Cryptocurrency directly adds a new revenue stream that is larger than you would have otherwise,” stated Ashley. “Only 5% of the population uses cryptocurrency, but it’s 5% you didn’t have before cryptocurrency and they have a lot of money.”