NFTs have been the subject of discussion in the fashion industry for several months, bringing a new level of exclusivity and opportunity to transform digital designs and collections into extremely valuable and unique collectibles.
With so much potential, it’s largely a time of experimentation for brands as they navigate the metaverse and find a significant place in it. Companies like SmartMedia Technologies, a Web 3.0 platform that drives proprietary data acquisition, user engagement, and retention across digital and mobile audiences, are a part of that navigation, helping brands understand what the industry should be like and providing foresight in how the industry continues to grow shaped by that vision.
Michael Chock, chief solutions officer of SmartMedia Technologies, told WWD: “An important part of what we look at right now is that the NFT market is approximately 95% speculated. You look at some of these NFTs falling and you see that they are hugely successful, and then you look at some of them that a celebrity can’t even sell. We work in both spaces, but what our true belief is around NFTs is less about speculation and how an NFT becomes an engagement currency and what we have built since our company was founded in this solid history of advertising technology “.
Specifically, the original team of SmartMedia Technologies built an ad server that it sold to Microsoft for $ 6 billion and later to Facebook Marketplace.
“Now, we’ve created the first enterprise marketplace for creators, brands and agencies so they can use NFTs as a currency of engagement as a way to build communities and as a way to create and monetize intellectual property,” Chock said. “Do we take it a lot from that side of how we use it for loyalty, how we use it for consumer engagement, and how we create truly unique brand experiences that bring more value than we drop a new shoe and hope people buy it?”
Operationally, the company has a TV agency in its group and serves to operate in Web 1.0, TV, Web 2.0, everything digital and now Web 3.0. The goal is to make things extremely easy for consumers and brands, emphasizing that having all of these functions provides a smooth transition as brands work to understand strategies to move forward.
Conversely, many of the available solutions are point solutions found only in Web 3.0. The problem, Chock said, is that it makes it difficult for brands to bridge the gap for consumers who are overwhelmed to see that in order to buy something, they may have to download the technology to get the token into another specific crypto wallet to fund the desired action. .
This multi-step process has created a growing sense of negativity in online forums. Chock explained that this speculation also stems from consumers’ discomfort in buying things that don’t have a direct connection with a physical, tangible piece.
“Even when you look at successful NFTs, art is a great concept that is already challenging for me; it’s easier for people to wrap their minds than something like earth in the metaverse, “Chock said.” The point I would argue with is when you think about what a metaverse is, it’s just a digital ecosystem and we’ve spent money. in the digital ecosystem for centuries “.
For example, Chock points to Farmville, where people pay money to buy fake cows, fake crops, and fake land in a metaverse where they pay real money. Call of Duty is another huge metaverse that people pay not only for access, but also to upgrade tools, technology and everything in between.
And many consumers are becoming more comfortable with buying digital goods in exchange for regular currency. However, where that mental shift hasn’t happened for many consumers, Chock said, is understanding what the utility is. They want to know when they buy an NFT and what they get.
Responding to this, some of the brands SmartMedia Technologies works with have created what are known as “utility tokens,” which means that owning the token gives the consumer ownership of a physical asset or does something.
“I think a great thing for fashion is to look at the Supreme model,” Chock said. “I lived a block from [a] Supreme store in SoHo, and every morning when you know, there will be a drop, people starting to camp the night before in front of the Supreme store. But imagine if you do this for a fashion brand that uses NFT so that they have fans involved in a loyalty program, taking high-value actions for your brand, whether they are following you on social media, or posting photos of you. in their clothes, they get a digital token and only that NFT would get access to the new drop. “
And the community standing in line wouldn’t leave; instead, it creates a community in a virtual environment so that engagement for the benefit of the brand and the consumer receives new content.
“I think the next kind of step for NFT in the fashion industry is to replicate some of this similar methodology if people have reasons that people are used to,” Chock said. “Is this transition of how do you get consumers into this state of mind very easily? Where do we focus and where we think the industry will now go on to say how we use NFTs to build markets and loyalty, rather than just these one-off drops. “
Putting it in the context of luxury fashion, Chock said he imagines buying a Birkin bag. “There’s a beautiful functional piece, but buying a Birkin bag is also a statement. He is saying that I have status, I have wealth if I have these goods and when you carry that Birkin bag, your sphere of influence is only the people who see you. Now the idea with NFT and fashion is to say, “OK, what if instead of that Birkin bag, you buy a digital Birkin bag or imagine if they come as companions, so when you bought a Birkin, you get an NFT?” Suddenly, your sphere of influence in which you post becomes much larger.
SmartMedia Technologies is seeing this particularly with Millennial audiences of consumers who buy things and want to show not only immediate contemporaries, but create a greater impact on the status and value that those fashion labels in their digital ecosystems – digital ecosystems are very larger than physical ones. However, some consumers don’t even realize when they are acting in the metaverse or the Web3.
Looking ahead, Chock said he thinks educating the consumer about the metaverse is a joint responsibility of the consumer as well as the brand and tech companies. With endless possibilities for digital markets and AI events, as all brands become part of the metaverse, Chock said it’s critical to be authentic and offer the consumer – and their upcoming avatars – something of value.
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