March 2, 2022
Anyone who’s worked in retail in the last several decades can repeat the same mantra on command:
“The customer is always right.”
But are they really? In a physical retail environment, this saying is often reserved for difficult customers trying to get their way—which disrupts the flow of the shopping experience for others, and depending on the day, can result in the difficult customer getting exactly what they want.
What about the online retail environment?
Companies like Amazon provide their customers a near-literal flood of options when searching for non-branded items. Suddenly, it’s impossible for the customer to always be right.
How could they?
They know nothing about these brands with funny names and inconsistent reviews. And it’s this persistent push for the customer to know less that has led to a strange shift in the online marketplace—the customer is almost always wrong. Being unable to physically hold the product before purchase reduces their ability to validate the quality of the product, and the pages of contradicting reviews and unchallenged marketing documents leave the customer in a state of complete confusion.
This experience is magnified even more when looking at the secondary market that is mostly peer to peer driven. By now, it’s likely painfully clear just how toxic the consumer market has come—seemingly in reaction to difficult customers who adversely affect the bottom line.
All this works together to give the customer far less ownership and agency over the products they purchase and own. As the overall market has moved to take the customer for granted, there has been a significant decline in several key areas:
Let’s dig in to better understand how the world of special encrypted NFCs and NFT-enabled goods can provide the antidote for a toxic consumer experience.
For customers and consumers, the responsibility of falling into a company’s product ecosystem typically falls on their shoulders, rather than on the company’s. And after many years of fast, convenient, and interaction-free shopping, those who sell goods have forgotten what it means to add value to their customers and consumers.
The era of convenience has passed—it is no longer viable for sellers to lean on convenience as the allure to help customers return. Likewise, customers and consumers can no longer accept the lack of personal touch that comes with a hyper-focus on convenience and expediency.
In this age of inflation, rampant price gouging, and poor labor practices, it’s up to the consumers and customers to demand more from companies. It’s also a call for small business owners to step up and see the bigger picture at play.
Web3 and NFTs are the future of physical and digital retail. The largest reason for consumer and customer fatigue these days is, as said previously, the lack of personal touch. Most products feel manufactured in a way that lacks soul—there is rarely any sense of personal experience or community associated with picking up a product.
But think back to childhood and the sense of wonder that came with getting a new toy, book, or stuffed animal. NFT-enabled goods can recapture some of this nostalgic wonder, and is the core reason NFT-enabled solutions have grown in popularity recently. There’s something about minting an NFT, and knowing that it is a one-of-a-kind product, that revitalizes the present-day consumer experience.
As NFT physical products become more popular the floodgates of community and personalized experiences are thrust open. Products created by brands and manufacturers, of all sizes, can be given a digital counterpart for owners to show off on their social profiles, while also having verifiable ownership of the associated physical item.
This is accomplished through a marriage of NFC (Near-Field Communication) and NFTs.
A special NFC chip, called a Smart Tag, can be embedded into a physical item, which is then tied to the digital twin of the item. For those who are security conscious, these Smart Tags—created by Smart Seal—feature strong encryption and dynamic authentication, which enables an unprecedented level of data security for end customers and creators alike.
Because both NFTs and NFC tags can carry a small package of data with them, customers could receive exclusive messages from item creators or manufacturers, join any community that forms around owning the product, or even gain access to an ever-expanding list of ownership perks—all because they bought one product.
And this ultimately becomes the restoration of the customer journey.
Rather than seeing it as advertisement → introduction → sales page → purchase → follow up, ‘follow-up’ can become so much more in a meaningful way that builds far more good will in customers. Additionally, this marriage of NFT and NFC allows for an unprecedented level of provenance—basically ownership history—that enables customers to engage in a more intentional buying experience (say if they’re looking for an item owned by a brand they like).
In one stroke, NFT-enabled physical goods can both improve the customer journey, and create a meaningful long-term value proposition… but how do they inspire a move toward better product quality?
First, we need to identify the why behind low-quality products and mass manufacturing.
Mass-market products serve as a large amount of revenue for consumer-facing companies. Whether it’s a USB-C to 3.5 mm adapter for Samsung phones (which have opted to remove headphone jacks), or a pack of unbranded sticky notes—there is a need for cheap and accessible goods. However, product quality has decreased across the board, even with “name brand” or even mid-tier products. The need for higher profits because of higher customer churn creates a vicious cycle that punishes the customer for the company’s failing.
Acknowledging that product quality is impacted by an inefficient and ultimately short-term customer journey, improving the latter two aspects encourages the revolution of the former. Products that become NFT-enabled will in-turn require companies to pay greater care in how they manufacture their products.
Because NFTs enable a radical level of ownership for a consumer, having them robbed of ownership by a low-quality or faulty product puts more pressure on the long-term relationship companies try to create with their customers. Now, not every product can or should be a physical NFT-enabled product—there is a need for cheap, mostly functional products that serve a short-term need. However, as this attitude has become largely acceptable in the mid-tier and luxury good space, the need for honoring the customer has never been higher.
This is why NFT-enabled products must become the norm for consumers: with it will come a wave of restoration for an upside-down, abusive, and toxic customer experience.
Notature is a SmartSeal Product. To enable your physical products, contact us here.
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