Consumer behavior constantly shifts to meet generational—think Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z—and consumer trends. Though mobile-first businesses continue to skyrocket, there’s still a push for more innovative ways to keep consumers constantly engaged online, thus, the growth of the virtual-first landscape like the metaverse.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) first launched in 2015 and has since been an area of enterprise of many tech-savvy consumers. This collided with the development of the metaverse, which has come a long way since the first acknowledged virtual platform was launched in 2003. Now, anything from gaming platforms and retail brands are growing their virtual footprint.
With that, we see a shift in the customer experience in the paradigm of purchasing behaviors and for those looking to ride on the latest consumer trends.
The Role of NFTs in the Metaverse
In a span of several months, the integration of NFTs in the metaverse has been fueling its virtual economy. Owning NFTs allows buyers an extension of their identity, community, and social experiences. Users need a digital crypto wallet to purchase NFTs for gaming, fashion items for avatars, real estate, and even art. Purchases are then coursed through a blockchain network, which provides unique codes registered under them, therefore attaching distinctive identities and properties to users. On the other hand, users can also mint anything they create, such as artworks, online community, games, or digital fashion into NFTs they can monetize through selling or auctioning.
In most metaverses, NFTs can be purchased and resold within the platforms. For those requiring a crypto wallet to participate, in-game NFTs can also be resold in other platforms, and then cashed out for cryptocurrency or fiat money.
The Key Types of NFTs in the Metaverse and How to Buy Them
Take a look at a few key types of NFTs and their uses in the metaverse:
Real Estate or Land NFTs
Enthusiasts use major NFT marketplaces to sell or purchase one-of-a-kind real estate parcels. Some virtual world platforms contain a digital section of real estate where users can buy land parcels and build their preferred virtual community on it, such as a scene or a game. To monetize their properties, users can rent out or auction off these assets as mint NFTs.
Retail giants are staying competitive by meeting their customers where they are (in metaverses), and giving tech-savvy ones what they want (NFTs of exclusive digital drip). Several brands have launched immersive shops and experiences where patrons can buy and exchange items digitally.
- Virtual items from a luxury label and sports brand were sold in the avatar marketplace of a metaverse gaming platform for a limited time.
- A fashion giant quietly launched and auctioned off its first NFT fashion collection in 2021, which reportedly fetched approximately $5.65 million.
- Another major sports brand collaborated with a mobile money service and an NFT blockchain collection to launch a virtual showroom where enthusiasts can purchase and mint exclusive NFTs.
There is a growing list of gaming NFTs available of all sorts of players, including the following:
- In play-to-earn games, users collect and trade NFTs of virtual pets and other items, with rarer NFTs fetching more money in marketplaces.
- Consumers use NFT-powered gaming platforms to build games within their assets for monetization or for other users to enjoy.
- An NFT version of physical card-collecting games enables users to verify rarity of traded and collected digital cards through blockchain recordings. As with physical card games, rarer and stronger NFTs are more valuable.
The constant need to engage consumers online will certainly impact the buyer’s journey and CX in the metaverse customer experience. We’ve yet to see the full picture, but we’re already seeing rising trends within these digital platforms. Therefore, brands selling mint NFTs and partaking in metaverse experiences should start building their CX roadmap for the future. New digital support channels will emerge that leverages on the changing customer behaviors towards NFTs, as well as to ensure consumer privacy and security in public virtual spaces.