Boson Protocol eCommerce use-cases are wide-ranging and rapidly evolving. Utilising the ground breaking technology of ‘redeemable NFTs (rNFT)’, Boson Protocol offers retail businesses with the technology to easily launch a range of web3 eCommerce use-cases.
If you are new to the concept of Boson Protocol, we recommended you read our previous article ‘Boson Protocol: Web3 eCommerce Layer‘ as a starting point.
In this article we will highlight the main eCommerce use-cases of Boson Protocol. As technology and adoption advances in the coming months, this list is likely to expand and evolve and the article will be updated accordingly.
- Phygitals: Physical-to-Digital Twins
- Metaverse Commerce
- Loyalty Schemes
- Omni-Channel Activation
Boson Protocol eCommerce Use-Cases: Phygitals
‘Twinning’ and ‘Phygitals’ are two phrases you may have heard. Its basically the concept of using NFT technology to create a digital duplicate of the physical products you buy.
Connecting Digital and Physical Worlds
As we spend more and more time in the online world, our digital profiles will continue to increase in importance, with profile pictures and photos replaced by avatars. These avatars will be customisable, with digital versions of products allowing people to also ‘wear’ products in a the digital world.
Utilising the Boson Protocol redeemable NFT (rNFT) concept, people will be able to purchase digital fashion items to wear in virtual worlds, with a physical version available at a later date through the redemption of the NFT.
This concept of ‘twinning’ therefore allows for consumers to connect their physical and virtual personas, with Boson Protocol enabling web2 retail businesses to easily access the digital clothing market, estimated to reach $4.8 billion USD in 2031.
Zero Inventory Retail
The concept of zero inventory retail looks at reinventing the traditional ‘high inventory’ model employed by most fashion brands and retailers. Utilising technology to create made-to-order products removes waste from the fashion industry and offers a significant sustainability benefit for brands.
Whilst zero inventory models have no reliance on web3 technology, a major limitation is the poor customer experience created by holding customers funds whilst garments are produced.
The concept of redeemable NFTs (rNFT), unlocks the ability for digital versions of products to be sold as NFTs in advance of production, with these NFTs redeemable for the physical product at a future point.
Digital versions of a product unlocks the potential for brands to offer consumers with an elevated user-experience prior to production. These use-cases are endless and will evolve, but this could currently include ‘digital twinning’ to allow wear in a virtual environments, exclusive social media filters of the product to enable virtual try-on, and the ability to easily trade/sell items prior the item actually being produced.
From a sustainability perspective, brands are able to only manufacture the exact number of units required, significantly reducing waste and increasing profit margin, by eliminating unsold products that either need to be sold at a discount or disposed.
Secondary Resale Market
Many fashion and lifestyle businesses are built upon scarcity. Whether its limited edition sneakers, designer handbags, or Prime energy drinks, making a product exclusive and hard to access is a key brand pillar for many sectors.
This in turns creates, and feeds, a secondary resale market, with people earning large sums of money purchasing and then reselling these limited edition items. Now clearly there are ethical questions surrounding reselling, however regardless of your feelings on this, scarcity of product is key marketing technique that is not going anywhere soon.
With Boson Protocol, brands have the potential to sell high value products as rNFTs, creating a high value digital collectable holding all the same scarcity characteristics as the physical product. People can buy, sell and trade in the same way they would do with a physical product, without the need to actually pass around a physical product.
At any point, the current owner of the rNFT can redeem the digital collectable and exchange for the physical version directly with the brand utilising Boson Protocol.
From a business perspective, the ability to implement a perpetual royalty into the rNFT smart contract allows the brand to create an ongoing revenue stream from these secondary sales. With the Recommerce industry estimated at $51 Billion USD in 2023, this offers brands an automatic entry point into this secondary resale market.
From a sustainability perspective, whilst not significant or a primary reason to adopt the technology, the reduction in footprint of secondary sales by not having goods shipped, and re-shipped, around the world should not be overlooked.
Product Authenticity Verification
A key challenge for the luxury fashion sector is counterfeit goods. Whether its clothing, handbags or sneakers, the high price point provides significant incentive for people to create replica product.
The products are often sold and traded via the secondary market, something that is very challenging for brands to control, and for consumers to be aware of.
The twinning of a digital NFT with a physical products offers the most complete solution to this problem. The very nature of Blockchain technology as distributed ledger technology with immutability means that data held on the Blockchain is virtually impossible to tamper with, providing a secure and scalable way to prove authenticity.
On top of this, every action in a blockchain is a transaction recorded as a new ‘block’. The original sale of a product plus every subsequent resale will be tracked and available to view, alongside specific transactional data. This provides complete transparency for both buyer and seller, eradicating the potential for replica products to be passed off as the real thing.
This makes the technology perfect for industries like sneakers where resale plays such an important role.
Boson Protocol eCommerce Use-Cases: Metaverse Commerce
Like it or not, the ‘metaverse’ is happening.
Its a confrontational term that sparks a reaction in most people, however we are already in the metaverse. Every single person spends a large percentage of their day locked to the computer in their pocket. Many everyday events from conversations with friends, to the weekly food shop, are now done digitally so we are affectively already living in this so called ‘metaverse’.
The only change is going to be to the front-end surface layer in how we navigate around these virtual worlds with increasingly immersive environments. Boson Protocol provides the commerce infrastructure to make these virtual worlds ‘shoppable’.
The most iconic flagship physical stores provide customers with more than just products, they provide a experiences, an immersive journey into the values and vision of a brand.
A major issue for the majority of the world however is that flagship stores are only located in a handful of cities across the world, so 99% of the world never get to experience one.
Virtual worlds offer the opportunity to create a digital duplicate of a flagship retail store, allowing customers from anywhere in the world to digitally walk, interact, and experience the store in an increasingly similar way to the real-life version.
When you then layer on the concept of redeemable NFTs (rNFT), you have the opportunity for customers to purchase items in these virtual stores, then redeem for the actual product in the physical world. The early iteration of this can be seen in ‘metaverses’ like Decentraland where Boson Protocol is powering shopping experiences for multiple fashion brands.
Advances in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology such as Apple Vision Pro will be a further catalyst to moving these virtual worlds forward providing an even more compelling eCommerce use case.
By 2025, the gaming industry is set to be worth over $268 billion, with an estimated 3.3 billion gamers worldwide.
This is a huge market, with 60% under the age of 30. These are the consumers of the coming decades and yet most eCommerce businesses have no connection to the gaming industry, or a strategy to access the dollars spent by gamers.
On top of this, in traditional gaming, players spend substantial amounts of time and money acquiring in-game items, yet have no real ownership.
The introduction of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gives players true ownership and the ability to buy, sell and trade these items in decentralised marketplaces. This introduces a new type of eCommerce in gaming, both from initial sales and secondary royalties perspective.
Boson Protocol unlocks this lucrative gaming market for businesses, with Boson eCommerce widgets allowing businesses to easily sell products in these virtual worlds.
Whilst these Boson eCommerce widgets are only currently available in Decentraland, the application in technology is identical so its fair to assume an application in the gaming world shortly.
Boson Protocol eCommerce Use-Cases: Loyalty Schemes
Loyalty schemes in the traditional web2 eCommerce world have become tired.
Predominantly these schemes will manifest in the form of discount codes sent on bulk to loyalty member lists, eroding margins and not offering loyal customers with any feeling of value.
A key USP for the web3 industry is the concept of tokenisation. In the web2 world, tokenisation only refers to sensitive data like credit card numbers, however web3 offers the ability to tokenise interactions and engagement, offering a unique and advanced way to engage and reward communities.
Redeemable NFTs (rNFT) can be programmed to be only be available based on certain criteria, providing the potential to loyal reward customers with exclusive access to products and services.
These criteria can be as complex or simple as required, but provide an automated way to reward loyal customers based on their interactions with a company or brand.
- Play to buy: unlock access based on actions in a gaming or metaverse world
- Hold to buy: unlocks access based on the contents of a users wallet and therefore previous shopping activity with a brand
- Engage to buy: unlock access based on actions on social media channels
Exclusive access to a brands products or services offers a much more effective way to engage and retain an audience, with much better business outcomes, compared to discounting.
Loyalty Partnerships is where web3 technology really unlocks the potential for advanced loyalty schemes, with brands collaborating and cross-pollinating customers by offering loyalty rewards based on behaviours with external businesses.
The rise of web3 wallets will allow retailers to personalise and reward based on every NFT a person holds, not just the ones from their brand.
Taking the exclusive access concept mentioned above to the next level, exclusive access to products and services can be tailored based on your shopping behaviour with other retailers:
- Experiences: Online experiences completely tailored to meet your web3 profile. Imagine a store completely customising a eCommerce experience to match the NFTs you hold.
- Pricing: Exclusive pricing unlocked by your overall shopping history, allowing companies to collaborate on what a consumer spends across an entire ecosystem.
The use-cases are extensive but as an example. Imagine you buy a certain brand of laptop and have a ‘phygital’ NFT associated to the product. You visit a retailer who sells laptop accessories and your experience is completely personalised to match the brand and model of laptop you own, including exclusive pricing due to being a loyal customer of that laptop brand.
For years brands have tried, and mostly failed to cross-pollinate customers through partnerships due to a clunky user-experience of vouchers and coupons. Web3 commerce and specifically the criteria based functionality of redeemable NFTs (rNFT) can solve this.
Token gating refers to the process of restricting access to an online platform based on the contents of a web3 wallet.
Think of this as the web3 equivalent of a platinum creditcard or gold frequent flyer tag, however rather than showing a membership card (or requiring users to sign into accounts), the functionality of a web3 wallet will allow for this to be automatically identified.
Loyal customers can be rewarded with NFTs and these can in turn to be utilised to unlock digital experiences. We previously unpacked the potential for virtual flagship stores, with exclusive ‘phygital’ products being made available using Boson Protocol rNFTs. These flagship digital experiences could easily be made exclusive, token-gated worlds, only accessible to loyal customers.
Boson Protocol eCommerce Use-Cases: Omni-Channel Activation
Whilst we are considering the Web2 to Web3 evolution, many brands and retailers are still struggling to adjust to customers moving from instore to digital retail. The rise in eCommerce has left many businesses struggling to integrate digital and physical stores, offering a disconnected and often disjointed user-experience.
Web3 technology in the form on a unified wallet will eventually offer the potential to make this user-experience more seamless. In the short-term, Boson Protocol offers the potential to utilise the store to activate the redeeming of rNFTs, and ultimately connecting this omni-channel journey.
Selling Boson redeemable rNFTs online with the aim of driving customers into a physical environment to redeem for a physical product, offers a unique opportunity to drive a omni-channel experience
This offers the opportunity to surprise and delight your customers, with high levels of brand engagement something all businesses are striving for.
This also expands on the potential of loyalty partnerships mentioned previously. Imagine you buy online from BrandX and as part of the sale you are rewarded with a rNFT that can be redeemed instore with BrandY as part of a new product activation.
Cross-pollinating customers by providing rich and engaging omni-channel experiences.
Token Gated Experiences
We’ve already noted the concept of token gating, with this concept made even more impactful with online to offline journeys, and the potential to offer exclusive real-world experiences based on holding a specific NFT.
In the airline industry, being a ‘gold member’ provides frequent flyers with the coveted access to luxury lounges at the airport using a membership card. This ‘token-gated’ experience will 100% be tokenised and controlled by NFTs (or version of) in the near future.
Boson Protocol offers the ability for any business to easily replicate this airport lounge experience utilising redeemable NFTs (rNFT).
Imagine a world where Nike offers customers exclusive access to ‘members only’ bar at a football stadium for a team sponsored by Nike. Maybe this is taken one step further with the most loyal customers getting exclusive ‘free drink rNFTs’ only redeemable at this members only bar.
All possible and easily executable utilising Boson Protocol.
Decentralised Click and Collect
The traditional bricks and mortar store environment has evolved dramatically over recent years, with the more progressive (and successful) retailers understanding the store environments potential to be utilised for a cross-function of roles.
A key omni-channel strategy in recent years, accelerated by the COVID pandemic, is to utilise store networks as collection points for online orders. Providing customers with the option to ‘click and collect’ a product reduces shipping cost, increases speed, and provides businesses with a further opportunity to engage with their customers.
With Boson, anyone purchasing an item online to collect in store could be provided with a Redeemable NFTs (rNFT) as the redemption key for their purchase, with Boson Protocol infrastructure providing a secure and transparent system for businesses to manage this ‘click and collect’ process.
This niche eCommerce application for Redeemable NFTs (rNFT) highlights the potential for more functional, operational Boson Protocol eCommerce use-cases, rather than necessarily forming any kind of digital ownership.