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Prices for NFTs might be slumping across the board, but that doesn’t mean that NFTs are going away anytime soon. In fact, a number of very large brands – including the likes of both Nike and Starbucks – have launched high-profile NFT projects in just the past six months. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at three unique examples of NFTs in action.
#1: NFTs as “digital goods”
Back in November, Nike created a new online marketplace called .Swoosh with the ultimate goal of using this marketplace to sell digital goods, such as digital apparel and digital sneakers. In April, Nike announced its first digital sneaker drop for .Swoosh, featuring its iconic Air Force 1 sneakers from the early 1980’s. Selling for the relatively low price of $19.82 (the year the physical-world sneakers first appeared for sale), these new digital sneaker NFTs have the potential to be a collectible for Nike fans and customers for years to come.
For brands looking to emulate this NFT strategy, there are two potential advantages. One, of course, is the incremental revenue you will be making by selling digital goods. The other advantage is the ability to keep your brand relevant for the new era of social media. Digital goods, for example, enable people to take your brand into the metaverse, or into new Web3 gaming platforms.
#2: NFTs for customer loyalty
Another approach to using NFTs comes from Starbucks, which recently launched a new customer loyalty program called Odyssey. This program is based around the concept of NFTs. Basically, by performing certain online actions, you can “unlock” Starbucks NFTs. And, once you have “unlocked” enough of these NFTs, you can use them for real-world perks. So, for example, if you watch enough online videos about the Starbucks coffee-making process, you might one day be able to visit an exotic location where Starbucks sources its coffee beans.
The concept might sound a bit complex at first, but it’s really no different from the whole “stamp your paper loyalty card” approach that many coffee shops use today. Every time you order a coffee at many coffee shops, you get a little stamp. And, if you collect, say, 10 of these stamps, you might get a free coffee later. So why not extend that same concept to include NFTs? Give consumers a little digital collectible every time they prove their loyalty. In fact, Starbucks uses the term “digital journey stamp” as a way to prove that you have completed a new online “journey.”
#3: NFTs as new customer experiences
Finally, there’s the emerging concept of using NFTs to facilitate an entirely new type of customer experience. The best example of 2023 comes from Sports Illustrated, the iconic sports media brand. Sports Illustrated recently launched Box Office, an NFT-only ticketing platform that integrates with its existing SI Tickets platform. Instead of buying tickets for events, you buy NFTs for events. When you show up for events, you simply show your NFT as proof of admission, much as you would show a digital ticket on your phone.
So why would anyone do this? One answer has to do with the concept of the NFT as a “digital collectible.” What better way to prove to future generations that you attended a Philadelphia Phillies World Series game? Instead of showing a crumpled-up physical ticket, you’d show a digital NFT on your mobile phone. And, you might even be able to sell this ticket later on the secondary market for a tidy little profit. That’s because Sports Illustrated plans to create “Super Tickets” that embed images, video clips, and other digital content into each NFT ticket. Thus, a “Super Ticket” really becomes a new form of sports memorabilia. If people are willing to pay millions of dollars for a 1950’s Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card, just imagine how much they’d be willing to pay for a 2023 Bryce Harper “Super Ticket.”
Of course, the big caveat here is that only the biggest mega-brands can afford to create huge platforms for selling NFTs at scale. But, working with many digital agencies, it’s possible to find ones that can help you mint and sell limited-edition NFTs to broaden your customer base, build your brand, and keep your company relevant in the changing era of social media.