An NFT-driven model for businesses to entirely remake their customer networks

Background

One of the biggest problems that small businesses face is that customers come in and buy something, but there’s no community or way to engage those customers again. Businesses have to rely on expensive Google paid ads to try to remarket to those folks, or blast marketing emails that are competing with 100 other brand marketing emails that everyone gets each day and nobody ends up reading.

These annoying remarketing ads are also expensive for the business

Businesses are trying to create COMMUNITY because with COMMUNITY comes LOYALTY with their audience. However, the above methods show, it’s expensive and difficult to create community (and therefore loyalty) with their audience. You buy something from a small business once, there’s nothing else that usually comes of that relationship.

Originally, the idea with NFTs and still is, is that if you buy an NFT, you get an item in real life. This is like the Golden State Warriors NFT collection where if you buy some of the expensive NFTs, you would get courtside tickets, a specially engraved ring, or some other in-person perk like touring the Warriors practice facility. Or you buy a Bored Ape and you get access to a specific party in person.

What if the right model though for most small businesses is the exact opposite. You buy something in person, and you are GIFTED an NFT for making that purchase. You then own a digital collectible of sorts that you can send to someone else, sell, or hold in your wallet?

That not only creates a PUBLIC community, as anyone can use Open Sea to look up the owners (how many, floor price, etc) for a certain collection, it also creates some bond or linkage between customers who shop at the same store. Maybe they self-organize to create a Discord for holders of that NFT. The community is PSEUDONONYMOUS, as each user will exist behind a name or identity that could be their real name or a screen name. Maybe they do nothing. Or maybe they sell or trade those NFTs with others outside that community, thereby growing the community organically, which is good for the business.

What if the right model though for most businesses is the exact opposite. You buy something in person, and you are GIFTED an NFT for making that purchase.

Today, if you went into say a candle store, and bought a candle, you would not have any way of connecting with or linking with, or being part of a community of other people who shop at that candle store. Sure you could join the candle store’s Instagram page, but you’re unlikely to message another member of that page.

Instagram is one way, the candle store owner creates content and users like that content.

However in the future, what if making a purchase at a specific store gave you an NFT, something that could later also lead to rewards of some kind or membership in some club with other customers from that business. The exclusivity aspect of NFTs is part of the reason they’re so popular. It feels like a magic ticket to something. It also makes you part of a community, whether you choose to engage with that community or not.

We know rewards and memberships for businesses are really powerful. Having a gift card from a company is something you often hang on to even if there’s only $10 on it. Or being part of Target Circle feels like you’re part of some club, even when, c’mon it’s just Target. It drives LOYALTY, but doesn’t drive COMMUNITY in Web 2.0.

It’s just Target

Web 2.0 is a model where anyone can create content and build a following. Web 3.0 will be about decentralized networks coming together over shared ownership of something, whether it be an asset or something else.

My 5-minute visual for the difference between a business today and a business in the future

This matters for business because businesses become stronger when they are able to create linkages between not only themselves and their customers but between one customer and another customer. That creates further COMMUNITY, which is a natural human instinct to try to join.

Proposal

Some type of system where it’s stupid easy for a business to create an NFT, at no fee, and gift that to a person or persons of their choice, at no fee.

Users

Businesses would be users of this system, where they could upload their NFTs and use the system to send those NFTs to any wallet of their choosing.

Current Market State

Right now it’s very expensive to send an NFT, given high gas fees. Besides Opean Sea, there are other solutions out there, but these are catering towards “art” projects, like ImmutableX. There’s also mintable.app but again, it’s just art. However, none of these solutions are being designed for a BUSINESS first, that might be trying to gift or give rewards to loyal customers.

Problems

  1. It’s very expensive to transfer an NFT, I think. Right now you can mint an NFT very easily I believe at no cost on Open Sea, but then to sell/transfer it to another wallet will cost $200.
  2. It’s possible that using an L2 chain will cost $10 but I haven’t tried it myself to see how that would work. This is definitely coming, and being prepared for the wave of NFTs that gets created would get ahead of this trend.
  3. Customers would need crypto wallets, but I don’t see that being a major barrier, given it takes about 20 seconds to set one up.

Further thoughts

The whole point of this proposal is that businesses need new ways to create a community for their products and social media is an attempt at that. However, following someone on social media doesn’t really connect you with other followers nor does it give you any kind of benefit or special deal.

NFTs would allow for both of those things for those customers/followers who are really motivated, and for everyone else, it would give them a sense of being part of a community, even if they are completely apathetic to doing anything with their NFT (or even if they forget their keys).

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Designer. UX researcher.

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Jonathan Maimon

Jonathan Maimon

Designer. UX researcher.

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