the five favorite strategies of brands to make room in the virtual world

The digital universe is not a new concept, and while the fashion industry immediately took an interest in it, the presence of industry players in the digital world has grown at breakneck speed in recent years. . In summary, 2022 will have been the year of digital integration and activations in the metaverse.

A new report from Fashionbi identifies the different ways brands are using this virtual space and the different strategies they are putting in place to continue offering new experiences to their customers.

Through this report, FashionUnited highlighted the most popular methods brands are adopting to enter the metaverse and why they favor these strategies in the current business environment.

The NFT craze

A non-fungible token (NFT), such as a cryptocurrency, exists in the blockchain ecosystem, but remains unique and can contain additional information. The possession of an NFT, which can be an art object, a software or a virtual good such as a fashion item, gives its owner the exclusive ownership of that good. It is this element that has made NFTs so popular in the luxury industry, because they offer their buyers a unique experience.

While brands that have invested in NFTs can thus generate a new revenue stream, shoppers also reap many additional benefits from owning this new generation of artwork, such as the ability to incorporate them into online games and unlock exclusive experiences.

Fashionbi’s report lists the best-selling NFTs to date, many of which have been auctioned and then resold through a dedicated marketplace. Dolce & Gabbana tops the list with “The Doge Crown”. The artwork, originally auctioned, sold for over $ 1.2 million. Among other big sellers, Gucci’s Supergucci collection sold for $ 83,000, and Givenchy’s NFTs in partnership with Chito fetched $ 13,000.

Image: Kollectiff

Popular gaming platforms and virtual worlds

The virtual world offers users many advantages: games, networks, new experiences … Games like Fortnite or Zepeto have already attracted a large number of brands eager to try their hand at digital merchandising and explore the possibilities offered by online games, whether online commercial spaces or the launch of other digital resources.

While Animal Crossing (Nintendo) was a hit with both gamers and retailers during the pandemic, it’s Roblox that has particularly stood out for partnering with brands like Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, and most recently Clarks, with fashion offerings. digital and directly related brand experiences The virtual platform Decentraland also made a name for itself in the fashion industry with the launch of the first Metaverse Fashion Week last March. This digital event saw brands and retailers like DKNY, Selfridges and Etro jump into the metaverse for the first time.

Image: Decentraland, Tommy Hilfiger

Invest in metaverses

Acquisitions and investments in digital companies have also played an important role in developing brand activations in the metaverse. Nike, for example, acquired virtual sneaker company Rtfkt in December 2021 after launching its virtual experience on the Roblox platform, which has since had nearly seven million visitors. Diesel also embraced digital platforms by launching its own virtual platform D: verse in March 2022. The site allows visitors to purchase unique NFT versions of the brand’s apparel, as well as physical pieces.

French luxury group LVMH invests heavily in startups and digital businesses as part of its annual innovation award, presented at the Viva Technology conference. This year’s edition of the award includes a roster of 21 young startups ranging from the 3D product experience to metaverse companies, omnichannel and retail specialists.

Virtual fashion shows

Since the year 2020, when the world was facing confinement, many brands have turned to the virtual world to continue presenting their collections and maintaining a bond with their customers. The GCDS brand led the way by presenting a virtual fashion show. Shortly after, the Museum of Other Reality (MOR), a virtual art center, presented The Fabric of Reality, an immersive experience produced by RYOT. Now virtual reality (VR) shows have become more common, with shows held via the Second Life platform, run by Jonathan Simkhai, and Crypto Fashion Week, which launched numerous NFT drops and hosted panel discussions of digital world experts.

As brands are investing more and more in the digital space, physical fashion shows are also starting to integrate the metaverse into their collections. For the Spring-Summer 2022 season, Paris Fashion Week has integrated NFTs into its offer, provided to accredited guests so that they can access exclusive content and augmented reality experiences. During London Fashion Week in February 2022, Roksanda specifically showed the latest silhouette from her collection as a limited edition NFT that shoppers could virtually try on.

Image: Perry Ellis America, Decentraland

The virtual shop: an experience

Along with virtual catwalks and digital artwork, many brands have also tested new online retail experiences. Often located in the aforementioned virtual hubs, these new outlets allow players to browse, buy and wear branded products through their personal avatars, bringing a brand’s products to life in the digital world. Selfridges was one of the first to adopt this strategy, with the launch of its own augmented reality department store on the Decentraland platform. This immersive experience, modeled on the Birmingham store, has hosted various art exhibitions and various events, with the collaboration of brands such as Paco Rabanne.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.com. It was translated and edited in French by Maxime Der Nahabédian.

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