If what a user can get in the metaverse is becoming as important as what they can hold in real life, the Direct-to-Avatar is something brands need to be aware of. With Direct-to-Avatar (D2A), brands, companies and users can sell and retail products directly to avatars. The future of retailing is more than likely to be digital, and the metaverse is set to become an important new channel for all kinds of products and services.
Direct-to-Avatar: when the avatar becomes as important as the user
Avatars represent a person in virtual worlds, in metaverses, in games or even social networks. Made to look like the user or a fantasized vision, they can be customized as it pleases the user. From 2D to 3D, avatars can by a cartoon-like character, emoticons to represent their owner. Virtual avatars still play a powerful role to communicate. Currently, they allow users to project themselves into virtual worlds so they can interact with each other more directly.
Virtual communities and virtual reality have become the new model for communication. Consumers are increasingly opting for virtual purchases. This means that brands have great opportunity to reach consumers and sell products directly to avatars, bypassing all the logistics and middlemen associated with the delivery of physical products. Those goods must either be sold on a shop or be delivered to the user. And all avatars are unique, from how they look to how they interact with the world around them. That’s why Direct to Avatar (D2A) Commerce has a huge potential for retailers looking to reach specific audiences and sell products directly to them. Brands must capture all the potential D2A has to offer in order to deepen the link between them and their users through avatars. It looks like a new business model introduced by the metaverse.
Direct-to-Avatar, the perfect fit for Gen Z
The metaverse is a vast space and millions of people call it home, especially Gen Z. Realizing the potential to engage Gen Z on a deeper level, Metaverse is transforming from a virtual reality brand into an avatar brand. Generation Z uses the metaverse as a means to hide from the harsh realities of life through virtual worlds. In order to reach Generation Z, brands must provide customizable avatars. Metaverses and avatars are considered a self-expression territory for Gen Z users, so creating interactions directly with their virtual representation is the best way to immerse them more in a brand universe and strengthen the bond.
Building an avatar economic system
An avatar economy is emerging to connect the virtual world and real world. Brands are already getting on the direct-to-avatar train. But, many focus on providing just cosmetics, when the opportunity is much larger than this. In this digital space, people can hang out with other avatars, dress them up and meet their friends all in a relaxed setting that provides privacy and anonymity. In fact, by 2022 the direct to avatar economy is expected to reach $50 billion. The role of marketing teams in these avatars’ lives will be crucial and they will need to use their creativity to provide valuable services that they can’t access anywhere else.
With millions of engaged users, precisely 50 million daily active users and a growing economy built on virtual goods, Roblox metaverse provides brands with huge opportunity to create engaging experiences that bridge the gap between physical and digital worlds. With 67% of Roblox users being mostly Gen Z, it is clear that this population has a big impact on virtual purchases.
Use cases of Direct-to-Avatar business model
Using NFTs, brands can scheme their acquisition strategy through levels of engagement and membership and provide their users with a unique and custom brand experience. Using influencers can also be an interesting activation lever around the D2A model, as the game Fortnite did with a collaboration with the singer Ariana Grande. The release of the singer’ skins has been extremely popular around the Fortnite community.
Digital fashion has become a fascinating platform for brand engagement. While some brands are already selling clothing to avatars through a third-party, such as Decentraland, others will continue to focus on player interaction and cross-promotion, such as Gucci and The North Face‘s collaboration on Pokemon Go. This partnership resulted in the release of virtual sneakers worn with Augmented Reality technology. Ralph Lauren on the other side revealed a 50 piece of wearables collection, available on the metaverse app Zepeto.
A new digital frontier is emerging, where the customer holds the power. Brands acknowledging this fact, might succeed in the future and keep delivering incredible virtual experiences to their users.