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How Brick and Mortar Stores Will Stay Relevant with NFT Fashion

By Carmella Contesti

Within the past few years, we have seen a dramatic shift in the retail industry. Shopping is ever evolving, and brick-and-mortar stores are losing their traction. Before retailers’ online presence, shopping in-store was a frequent and enjoyable experience. Shopping at malls was a day trip compared to a casual activity. Whether you shop for functionality or aesthetic, most of us can agree that buying clothes is exciting and fulfilling. It can lift your mood, lower stress levels and release serotonin in the brain. But, with an increase in technology and consumer habits, traditional retail has experienced a slow decline. Physical stores have been essential for many years, but with the rise of technology it leaves us questioning how brick-and-mortar stores will remain relevant.

The Fundamental Reset

Many malls and physical stores around the world have shut down or temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a steady increase in online shopping over the last several years. The pandemic led to dramatic shifts in consumer behavior. Not only have we changed the way we shop, but our expectations for brands have also shifted. Some consumers prefer online shopping because of increased convenience, affordability, and a wider choice of products. Everything that you could imagine is at the consumers' fingertips. With social media and technology consumption in everyday lives, people want new products, and they want them fast. Having the ability to order clothes straight from the comfort of your bed has changed the industry forever.

To remain relevant, retailers must adapt to experience requirements. As society moves forward, the fashion industry moves with it. The topic of NFTs have become more relevant as time passes. NFTs are digital tokens that provide proof over an asset. They are often tied to digital assets such as images or videos. With fashion at the forefront of the latest trends, it is not surprising that the industry is gravitating in this direction. We are in a world where there is demand for digitalization.

The Future of Fashion

Fashion brands are investing their time into the digital world and exploring how they can introduce NFTs. Augmented reality clothing, metaverse fashion, virtual stores, digital twins, and video game collectables are just a few ways that the industry is capitalizing on the NFT trend. The capabilities of technology in the fashion industry are unimaginable. Augmented reality provides a real-world experience as an overlay. Realistic environments and objects can be created on a phone, and this generates revenue for brands. If a consumer can see product on their body before purchasing, they are more likely to buy it. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry are a few of the luxury brands that are capitalizing on digitalization. Gucci partnered with Snapchat to launch their first augmented reality shoe try-on campaign. This allowed Snapchat users to see how Gucci sneakers would look on their feet and was ultimately a huge success. More AR features are no doubt to be seen in the future of fashion.

With the video game industry being worth more than the music and film industry, the idea of entering the metaverse may be a key part of our future. Gucci offers digital experience with Gucci Garden on Roblox. Also, Plein Plaza purchased $1.4 million worth of land in Decentraland, another metaverse. This space will have museums, luxury boutiques, and entertainment. The metaverse allows for full creative freedom in the industry. Digital avatars can wear any garment without any constraints of type, design, fabric, and use. It is safe to say fashion has made its way into the digital world.

Brick and Mortar Retail

As we slowly return to normalcy post COVID, more and more people are craving experience. Physical stores can provide the experience that consumers have been missing. There is something to be said for touching, feeling, and trying on clothing in store. Customers can immediately take home their garments without having to wait. Though ecommerce still poses a threat to brick-and-mortar retail, people are entering an era where they want to be a part of innovation. Just like the industry, retailers must find new ways to adapt to societal changes.
Experiential retail is one way that stores are evolving to keep up with consumers. Immersive experiences give shoppers the engagement and community that they desire. Experiences help shape identity and create long-lasting memories. We are naturally connected to people and experiences. Consumers get to be involved instead of simply buying something. This increases foot traffic and helps build brand loyalty.

As technology continues to expand the future of fashion will no doubt continue to become more futuristic. Brick and Mortar Retailing is phasing out and NFT is coming in.

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