Fred Segal, the iconic Los Angeles boutique, took this concept and ran: Working with metaverse experience creation agency Subnation, it just debuted Artcade, a store featuring an NFT gallery, virtual goods and streaming studio both on the Sunset Strip and in the metaverse; items in store can be purchased with cryptocurrency via in-store QR codes.
NFTs, loyalty and legalities
NFTs will have staying power as long-term loyalty or membership cards that bring exclusive perks, and unique digital items that convey exclusivity and status. More product purchases will include both digital and physical items, with interoperability — still fledgling at best — being a key conversation. Both brands and consumers are primed for the unexpected. “Consumers are more willing to try out unconventional brands, alternative ways to buy, and innovative systems of value like NFTs than they have been at any point in the past 20 years,” Forrester reports.
Brands will need to be mindful of legal and ethical oversteps, and form metaverse teams to address trademark and copyright concerns, and future projects, in this new frontier. Already, Hermès has decided to break its previous silence regarding NFT artwork inspired by its Birkin bag. Another NFT snafu — either from a brand or an entity in conflict with a brand — is likely, given the nascence of the space. The pace of technological change frequently outpaces the ability of laws to adapt, says Gina Bibby, head of the global fashion tech practice at the law firm Withers. For intellectual property owners, she adds, the metaverse presents in enforcing IP rights, because appropriate licensing and distribution agreements are not in place and the ubiquitous nature of the metaverse makes tracking infringers more difficult.
Marketing strategies will be highly affected, parting because brands are still adapting from the iOS update that made Facebook and Instagram spend less successful. “The next year will be an opportunity for brands to reset and invest in loyalty,” says Jason Bornstein, principal at VC firm Forerunner Ventures. He points to customer data platforms and cash-back payment methods as other incentivising technologies.
Expect limited-access events online and off, with NFTs or other tokens to grant entry.
“Luxury is rooted in exclusivity. As luxury goods become more ubiquitous and easier to access, people are turning toward unique, non-reproducible experiences to fulfill a desire for the exclusive,” says Scott Clarke, VP of consumer products industry lead at digital consultancy Publicis Sapient. “For luxury brands to gain an advantage, it will be important to look beyond what has historically characterised these brands as ‘luxury’.”
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