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Direct-to-Avatar (D2A) Commerce in the Metaverse and Delivery of 3D Assets Explained

The metaverse is growing rapidly as a leader of Web 3.0 with steady participation and support from consumers. Simultaneously, opportunities for selling digital goods abound, as evidenced by the remarkable sale of a digital-only Gucci bag for $4,115, starkly exceeding what its in-store counterpart priced at $3,400 could earn. No wonder this observation from CB Insights: “Brands will go all in on the avatar economy as the metaverse, NFTs [non-fungible tokens], and digital identities take off, and the low cost of development and huge user bases entice a deluge of entrants.” Hence the emergence of direct-to-avatar (D2A) marketing through which businesses sell products directly to avatars (digital identities), including skins, other avatars, fashion, and collectibles. According to Crucible, D2A promises to be the largest digital economy in history, topping $1 trillion during this decade. With augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) slowly trending mainstream and the metaverse assuming a marked presence, 3D assets are more valuable than ever. Read on for a few innovative practices of D2A marketing and the ways in which to effectively deliver compelling 3D assets online.

Charles Hambro, cofounder and CEO of Geeiq, observed that the reasons to go meta vary from brand to brand: “Some want to connect with younger consumers; others want to express their values or messages in a way that they’re unable to do through a typical digital platform.”

Without doubt, the metaverse is an excellent way to target those who The Fabricant’s Kerry Murphy calls Digi-Sapiens or the Gen Zers and Millennials. Those 3.5 billion individuals have grown up with the virtual world as their second home, which boasts blurriness between reality and fantasy. Believing that fashion needs not be constrained to the physical world, they are strong proponents for digital attire on an avatar as an expression of creativity.

To cater to those consumers, Nike has established its world headquarters inside Roblox’s immersive 3D space in which they can connect, create, and share experiences in NIKELAND. Besides mini games, the brand offers a digital showroom in which consumers’ avatars can be outfitted with products like the Air Max 2021. Adidas and Forever 21 have also tapped into the metaverse to reach young customers with innovative merchandise that showcase digital identities.

Among others, these three industries are actively leveraging the metaverse:

  • Fashion — As mentioned earlier, brands like Gucci are enabling consumers to express personalities through digital storefronts, e.g., Roblox and blockchain-based worlds, such as The Sandbox. Also, luxury retailers can spotlight unique merchandise and their authenticity with NFTs on the blockchain. A case in point: Designers of the recent New York Fashion Week added metaverse elements to the catwalk show.
  • Gaming — Over the years, online games like Fortnite and League of Legends have become social environments, in which consumers can buy ‘skins’ or digital outfits and identities. Also, through blockchains, gamers can own in-game items and sell them for a currency that translates to real cash. Statista predicts that gamers will likely spend a whopping $50 billion by the end of 2022.
  • Big-box retail — In January, Walmart filed new trademarks for virtual goods: electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods, personal-care products. It also plans to create its own cryptocurrency and NFTs. All those moves are indicative of the metaverse’s mainstream trend.

Blockchain, crypto, 3D scanning, and other emerging technologies are making it possible to quickly create and store realistic avatars, optimizing the metaverse experience. As stated in our post on direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce, intelligent automation of visuals is a crucial step for bringing forth consistent virtual experiences everywhere. With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Cloudinary automates workflows and delivers captivating visuals that stand out in the metaverse, starting with efficient uploads of 3D assets—including those in AR and VR (or metaverse compatible) formats—to our platform.

Because the Cloudinary Media Experience Platform along with its AR 3D viewer (demo link viewable by mobile only) can dynamically generate 3D model effects and transform assets of various formats, navigating the metaverse and D2A is no daunting experience. Brands can then steadfastly make inroads in D2A and deliver compelling experiences in the metaverse.

Why not find out how to host 3D assets on Cloudinary? Contact us today!

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