Fashion Innovation and Building the Future of the User Experience
FSW examines back-to-basics strategies of tools like user persona design as an important part of building fashion's digital future.
What do customers want from fashion and luxury immersive experiences like Web3, gaming, XR, and the metaverse?
This is the big question that brands, tech companies, and marketers are facing as they consider the next phase of immersive and Web3 projects.
The so-called “metaverse winter” (as it was dubbed in 2023) presents a perfect opportunity for brands to take a step back and reassess business goals. It is a good time to do user research and strategize more effective ways to utilize these new technologies to engage customers and inspire them to action, whether that be purchasing products, participating in new experiences, or becoming part of a new community. It is also a great moment to focus on building infrastructure, focusing on applied storytelling, and thinking about experiential utility when it comes to immersive customer-facing experiences.
As we explored in discussing the need for content strategy in metaverse projects, new technology misses the mark for customers when it takes the broadcast approach of traditional marketing. Customers expect dynamic, interactive, and collaborative or community-oriented experiences that encourage discovery and are fun and easy to use.
So, how do brands figure out what customers really want when it comes to immersive experiences and new technology?
One simple approach lies in the basic toolkit of user experience (UX): persona development. In the field of UX, a “persona” is a fictional representation of a real user and is often used in the early stages of product design and development.
Developing personas provide a different lens to understanding user needs and preferences outside of the often-dizzying bevy of quantitative data most brands have at their fingertips. Personas can give key insights into not only what drives user decision-making throughout their buying journey but also their blockers and biases when it comes to the adoption of new technologies and new ideas.
Let’s look at a quick example for a hypothetical Brand A:
Brand A is interested in collaborating with a major metaverse platform to stage a virtual show for its latest collection, complete with shoppable phygital designs and customer incentives. But, the marketing team behind Brand A is unsure what kinds of incentives will encourage customer participation and drive purchase decisions.
For Brand A, consider two possible personas that represent hypothetical target customers the brand wants to reach with its metaverse event:
In this scenario, Joseph is an inexperienced user when it comes to the metaverse and web3 but is not disinterested. He loves shopping but lacks education and exposure to these new technologies.
On the reverse, Tanya is a Web3 evangelist who is steeped in the technology but may find overly-branded or presentation-like experiences frustrating because they lack interactivity and personalization.
These two personas are oversimplifications, to be sure. But, they are highly useful abstractions that present opposite scenarios for Brand A and show different but overlapping pain points when it comes to diving deeper into Web3 and the metaverse. Comparing these two personas—and even sketching out their unique buying journey into a full user journey map—can provide key insights to Brand A’s marketing team on how to shape the strategy, content, and design for their metaverse event.
Persona development is just one of many elements in a UX strategist’s arsenal that can help create more effective, intuitive digital experiences for customers. Like its sister content strategy, UX offers many useful approaches that can provide product and marketing teams important insights into how to shape the front end of Web3 and metaverse experiences to meet customer needs and preferences.
To put it simply: If brands want customers to be more engaged with Web3 and metaverse projects, the user experience across the board needs to be more effective, intuitive, and personalized.
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