The things we are proudest to own sometimes are not purchasable but were hard-earned through time and demonstrated engagements in a community. They are memberships.
Think Reddit karma points: it's probably the most flattering "badge" and directly reflects how much one has contributed to a community. Besides bragging rights, it allows you to join exclusive subreddits and post/comment as many times as your heart desires.
However, Reddit points cannot be used outside of the platform. For someone who has gained recognition in a community, they should be able to carry that credibility to a multitude of other tribes, websites, and events in the same vein.
But it's just not possible. Not in web 2.0.
Good news, in web3, users have the freedom to bring their digital benefits with them wherever they go.
THE FUTURE OF MEMBERSHIP AND LOYALTY IS IN NFT
Let us explain why.
- NFTs are interoperable
- NFTs can be bundled
- NFTs can contain a history
- NFTs follow their owners wherever they go
In an NFT-based world, users can truly own their online identity and all the assets/privileges that come with it instead of borrowing them from the platform.
This means that users can finally chain their digital benefits (now in the form of NFTs) together and enter amazing token-gated experiences. From physical to digital to the metaverse. With the wallet acting as a digital backpack for NFTs, users can get recognized at every touchpoint without showing their ID or password.
Brands can design NFT-based memberships as soulbound tokens where each NFT is non-transferable and will stick with its owner for a lifetime. Through intersections with other “tribes", the NFT represents a person's commitments, affiliation, and credentials, all of which combine to provide an honest depiction of their identity.
This perfectly illustrates how far web3 can go beyond making profits. It is also about providing qualitative experiences.
From a customer to a member
When users are empowered, they transcend the status of a customer and become devoted members of a community or a movement.
Consider a customer who has implemented energy-saving practices at home. Based on her consumption patterns, the electricity provider can reward her with a green token that she can use on e-commerce sites to get a discount on e-appliance purchases. The client builds her credibility by carrying this token and actively participating in green initiatives. She can be invited to conscious events and become part of a much larger community of like-minded individuals, eventually driving a movement that would otherwise be difficult to track and implement.
As a brand, you can obtain not just data but quality data of a consumer's digital footprint without intruding on their privacy. Instead of segmenting users based on their age or marital status, brands can target micro consumer cohorts based on wallet behaviors that actually match their shopping preferences. Relevance is where true personalization happens.
According to research, customers choose small repeated gains and incremental rewards over big, occasional ones. Consequently, membership programs must provide a constant flow of engagements. With a token-based membership program, a brand can join forces with preferred partners to maximize the number of touchpoints and maintain a routine connection to keep customers close to your brand.
NFTs can also double as a perpetual connection between brand-users. For example, via the dMessaging feature of the Arianee Enriched NFT, brands can send messages directly to users' wallets to engage them.
TOKEN-BASED MEMBERSHIPS ARE GAINING TRACTION
Over the past two years, crypto-backed social clubs like Friends With Benefits, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and World of Women have evolved into dominant cultural forces. Not only can members revel in well-curated experiences amidst people with shared skin in the game, but they can also use their membership as entrance tickets to the metaverse (e.g. The Sandbox) and a plethora of offline events.
But the potential of NFT-based membership goes beyond the bounds of the crypto sphere, signaling staying power among traditional brands. Starbucks, Hennessy, YSL Beauty, and IWC Schaffhausen are among the first, but certainly not the only ones.
You're probably thinking: "NFTs have always had an accessibility problem." And you're right! Cutting-edge technology can feel alienating to the public. But it's up to us to simplify things for our users.
Users don't ask about how deep learning works, yet millions of them are using DALL-E to generate digital images. Likewise, they don't care about the nitty-gritty details of blockchain. What matters for them is the experience: is it cool and easy? NFT, in the end, is just the enabler.
The task at hand for brands is to make the experience so frictionless that users don't even realize they are making the first steps into web3. And this happens by freeing first-time users from the burden of having some "crypto" to pay for "gas fees." At Arianee, we provide brands with a seamless way to onboard mainstream users, allowing them to download a web3 wallet and own an NFT in less than a minute.
True loyalty programs aren't about bribery and getting customers to buy more. They are more focused on making customers feel like they are members of a club. Ironically, the stickiness factor of a community lies in mobility - the freedom to use one's digital benefits in numerous environments and chain them together to unlock exciting experiences.