the five preferred strategies for brands to make their place in the virtual world

The digital universe is not a new concept, and while the fashion industry quickly took an interest in it, the presence of sector 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 to offer new experiences to their customers.

Through this report, FashionUnited has highlighted the most popular methods that brands are using to enter the metaverse and why they prefer these strategies in the current economic environment.

NFT craze

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

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

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

Image: Collective

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 that want to start digital merchandising and explore the possibilities that online games offer. online, be it online retail spaces or launching other digital assets.

While Animal Crossing (Nintendo) has been a hit with gamers and retailers alike during the pandemic, it’s Roblox that has excelled in particular by partnering with brands like Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger and, more recently, Clarks. with digital fashion offers and brand experiences directly related 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 such as DKNY, Selfridges and Etro launch into the metaverse for the first time.

Image: Decentraland, Tommy Hilfiger

Investing in metaverses

Acquisitions and investments in digital companies have also played an important role in the development of brand activations in the metaverse. For example, Nike acquired the 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 has 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 conglomerate LVMH is investing heavily in startups and digital companies as part of its annual innovation prize, presented at the Viva Technology conference. This year’s edition of the award includes a list of 21 young startups spanning everything from 3D product experience to metaverse companies to omnichannel and retail specialists.

Virtual fashion shows

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

As brands invest 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 offering, delivered to accredited guests, allowing them to access exclusive content and augmented reality experiences. During London Fashion Week in February 2022, Roksanda notably showcased the latest silhouette from its collection as a limited edition NFT that shoppers could try on virtually.

Image: Perry Ellis America, Decentraland

The virtual store: an experience

Along with virtual runways and digital artwork, many brands have also tested new online retail experiences. Often located in the aforementioned virtual hubs, these new retail locations allow players to browse, purchase and wear branded merchandise 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, based at the Birmingham store, hosted various art exhibitions and various events in collaboration with 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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