Who Buys Digital Products?And Why You Might Be Next...
For the past year, the internet has been buzzing with words like NFT and metaverse and it has given rise to some really interesting questions regarding digital ownership. A digital product is a non-tangible object that exists only in a virtual space - in other words, an item you can buy for virtual use only. Even though buying virtual goods is still a somewhat strange concept to the average shopper, there are considerable reasons why people spend their hard-earned money on things they will never be able to touch. And just to put things into perspective, when we say digital products in this context, we’re not talking about a Spotify membership or online course. We are referring to items like digital fashion, interior design, household objects, and even digital land!
So who are the pioneers of this digital movement which is inevitably going to touch all of us in some way or another and what can they teach us about the power of the immersive world?
Do you remember your first profile on Facebook or even Myspace - how everyone was obsessed with it, posting every possible thing that was on their mind? These platforms seemed to be the absolute endgame at the time when it came to social networks. And then came Instagram. All of a sudden no one wanted to post statuses anymore, but rather upload aesthetic photos and create exaggerated personas for their online audiences. Facebook became a network for our moms, while Instagram was THE network. And then again, soon after came Snapchat and TikTok which caught the attention of Gen Z, and suddenly people had even more platforms to choose from. And all of this happened in a relatively short period.
There are two things we can take from this: that social media platforms will change, rather than disappear and that these changes will happen really fast. That means that it’s not so hard to grab the attention of people, but it is hard to keep it. Anyone can go viral, but you have to have a strong platform with original and entertaining content to stay in the game. You always have to be one step ahead of the trends. And if you are in any way following the trends these days, you know that there is a lot of talk about VR and AR, with AR Social Filters and talks of Meta on Oculus raising questions about the next social platform.
It’s hard to impress an over-saturated audience these days - it seems like we’ve seen it all! The Instagram audience especially is always hungry for new items on their feed, and if you’re a fashionista, there are only so many Shein hauls you can do before your content starts to stagnate. Regular clothes just don’t do the trick anymore. By implementing augmented reality to their posts (primarily digital clothing, but also objects such as furniture) influencers create completely authentic content that will hardly go unnoticed. But that is not the only way to implement AR and VR in a personal brand. As you know already, there are nothing influencers and celebrities love more than selling merch. Imagine how cool that merch could be if it had an AR filter on it so people could just point their phones to the shirt and see a creative message or an image.
It’s not a secret anymore that the fast fashion industry sucks! It seems almost hard to believe that the industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined! The amount you save on cheap articles of clothing is actually paid in double by our home, our planet. But being fashionable and trendy doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to work against the environment. There are alternative ways to add to your fashion collection!
Digital fashion offers a perfect alternative for the people who have a passion for fashion, want to express themselves through clothes, but are aware of the harmful effects of the industry. Environmentalist fashionistas are here to end the toxic trends in which we stuff our wardrobes with outfits we’ve worn twice at best, just to follow the latest trends in fashion. They are mindful of the fact that clothes don’t necessarily need to hang out of your closet for you to be considered fashionable. They are open to the concept of expressing themselves artistically through augmented reality and using social media to display that!
3. Non-profit supporters
NGOs usually come as a group of volunteers fighting for a social mission and operating without any connections to the government. Social media is thus a great platform for them to get their voices heard since their resources are limited and their statement is often universal. The main goal is to raise awareness of the problem and to generate funding that will work toward resolving that problem. A lot of non-profit organizations have realized that merchandise is a perfect way to bring their cause a step closer to people. Personalized merchandise from non-profit organizations works great for both organizations and philanthropists who decide to donate their money to a cause. An organization can send a strong message written on a garment of clothing and raise money whilst the buyer has the opportunity to invest in a cause they believe in and get a creative reminder of that.
But let’s rethink this idea for a second. The reason behind buying this merchandise is often not in the physical comfort or the tangible aesthetics of the product. It is the message. And a considerable amount of the price from the sale is not going to charity but for the production and shipping costs of the garment. So why should it be physical? Digital fashion creates a window of opportunity for NGOs who want to sell their merchandise in a way that gives the product to the donator without the unnecessary costs of physical production.
4. Metaverse users
Oh yes, the metaverse: the place where it all comes together. Simply put, the metaverse is an online virtual world that combines virtual reality, 3D avatars and environments, and varied means of communication. Still confused? Well, imagine a fully digital environment where you can be yourself without the boundaries of the physical world. Think about the digital representations of people or avatars, doing day-to-day stuff like interacting at work, playing games, meeting their colleagues in the office, trying on clothes, or doing who-knows-what, but in a space created virtually. Think about every part of our social life being transferred to a 3D space.
If you haven’t thought about it already, it might be a bit difficult to wrap your head around it, but you better be sure that it’s coming our way soon. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg believes that metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet, which is why he took a sudden twist and rebranded Facebook as Meta. But Mark is not the only CEO who noticed that the metaverse is coming on big doors.
Fashion moguls like Nike, Adidas, and Vans have seen a great prospect for them in this world, and they are betting heavily on the growth of this dimension. Metaverse and digital fashion complement each other perfectly since the metaverse is the ideal runway for articles of digital clothing. But the fashion scene is not the only one displayed in the metaverse. Metaverse is the perfect platform for any type of virtual item, including furniture, articles of land, or anything that someone is willing to buy.
There are a lot of people who would buy a digital asset for the sole purpose of it, but then again an even greater number of people see an investment opportunity when it comes to digital items. To be more specific, we are talking about NFTs. Yes, what the hell’s an NFT? A non-fungible token. Probably now you understand even less. Let's put it this way, it’s a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos. It’s often put in the same category as bitcoins and cryptocurrency in general but there is a crucial difference. And it is this ‘non-fungible’ part, which points out the fact that each token is unique and can’t be replaced since they are blockchain-based, while cryptocurrencies are easily fungible.
This might all seem far-fetched and something only possible in some very distant future, but a wobbling amount of $174 million has been spent on NFTs since 2017. And by the looks of it, this is just a preface. It is hard to evaluate the exact worth of the NFTs because they are something similar to art. A person might be willing to put down a small fortune for an abstract expressionism piece, while others find it worthless. Many consider the NFTs as the future of art trade and investments.
This category is directly correlated with the latter one since NFT investments are centered around the fact that someone will someday be interested in paying more for the item you bought. And that someone is probably a collector. Collectors are willing to pay a decent amount of money for the item of their desire. They can collect all sorts of stuff, artwork, clothes, or any digital good that is in some way interesting to them. The motivation behind this is their exclusive ownership of the collection, which entails uniqueness, or digital scarcity.
Again, it is not easy to understand this notion if you are not a part of this world, but just imagine NFT collectors as art collectors in some way. They see value in owning a cluster of possessions that are theirs exclusively. Perhaps there is a collector who wishes to have a closet full of NFT clothing, or a complete collection of gold accessories.
Even though it might seem like something only the gamers and the investors do, owning digital goods is something that is easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a few bucks to spare. The development of technology, especially in the circumstances of the pandemic has increased our need for a digital presence, and managed to transfer major parts of our everyday lives into cyberspace. But this is just the beginning, with the metaverse approaching and AR and VR trends being implemented into almost every major industry!
The new era of the internet is approaching, and it is going to bring on major changes! And the portal to a new dimension is open to anyone willing to open their mind to new opportunities.
So what’s stopping you from buying a completely one-of-a-kind unique digital item that is exclusively yours?
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