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Make it Big Podcast: Brands Breaking Barriers with Web3
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Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce.
Greg Phipps, Head of Digital Performance and Growth at Gap, joins Liz O’Neill, Associate Product Marketing Manager at BigCommerce, to explore strategic methods in which brands can leverage Web3, the newest iteration of the World Wide Web, to outpace the competition.
In this episode, Phipps provides insights and education around the foundations of Web3, discusses emerging retail trends in the space and shares ways interested brands can get started.
Liz O’Neill: Let’s just start with Web3. Why does it matter? Why should brands be paying attention and getting into the space?
Greg Phipps: “I think Web3 is an interesting space because basically digital identity and digital ownership and digital funding is all owned by the consumer and it removes sort of decentralized organizations. And why it matters is because as we think about how we transfer assets and objects and money among different places, we want to make sure it’s secure and we want to make sure that we’re obviously a part of a new way of thinking.
“So oftentimes, Web3 has been talked about as being the next sort of Internet moment where people didn’t really understand how to use the Internet. I think very strongly that Web3 is very similar to that.
“I think the sooner we start learning and understanding why it’s important to have, the sort of web anarchy of owning your own things, it will naturally come that consumers will gravitate towards it and want to be the owners of their digital identities, which goes all the way into sort of cryptocurrencies, which is monetary, right? NFTs, which are things that you can own. And then of course Metaverse is our next-gen social. How we identify in the universe of digital. So I think it’s important that we all keep a pulse and a track on Web3.”
LO: Speaking of blockchain, what is the blockchain and how does it tie into the crypto narrative?
GP: “The simplified way that I think of the blockchain is every block that is created, you do some sort of work or you do some sort of validation.
“As a reward, if you’re a validator of the blockchain, you get some sort of cryptocurrency, which in Bitcoin’s case is a Bitcoin. Ethereum’s case is Etherium and Tezos’ case is Tez. And I think as you are validating, as a validator for a blockchain, you add a block to this network that just keeps growing almost for infinity, for as long as the blockchains live.
“What you’re doing is you’re essentially capturing and recording everything that’s happening for each blockchain, that each block is building and being added to the block. And so there are different types of blockchains that have different types of cartography and consensus algorithms.
“Proof of stake, proof of work, liquid proof of stake is another type of blockchain, and they all have their own sort of pros and cons. They all have more capabilities.
“I think the most interesting part as we think about blockchain from a decade ago is really how far the technology has advanced. When you think of Etherium and Cardano and Tezos, where they truly are seeing people who are creating really rich, decentralized applications that rely on big map data and smart contracts for NFTs, and so I think it’s fascinating to see the evolution.”
LO: From your perspective, do you feel like shoppers really want to pay with crypto? Do you think they’re hesitant? Do you think there’s more demand for brands to adopt crypto payments as an option?
GP: “So I think it’s really up to the consumer on how they want to pay. I think, yes, there are some consumers that are gonna want to pay crypto and they should be pretty flexible to pay with crypto.
“I think it’s going to be quite some time before the masses adopt a different type of payment.
“I do think that crypto in general is here to stay. And I think it represents the desire to own your own things in the digital world because it has gotten so centralized and sharing of data.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice to finally own your own wallet, your own funds, your own data you want to share with your companies and their own?”
LO: Let’s dive into NFTs. Non Fungible Tokens. What the heck are these things? And how do they play a part in crypto?
GP: “NFT just represents that you have a token that can be exchanged equally for another. But what has been turned to you in the mainstream is basically a jpeg or a picture attached in smart contract to a series of digits that we have now called an NFT.
“I think it represents a new business capability that we should all be taking advantage of.
“Certainly there have been very good analogies drawn to things like medical documents or deeds or exchanging of cars, blue papers. So that is another way to think of how NFTs could be used in the future. They’re not just representative of art. They’re just things that can be attached to a person.”
LO: Speaking of NFT and you know the value behind that utility, right? How are NFTs relevant to ecommerce? And have you seen any good examples of brands using NFTs?
GP: “There are many brands that I’ve seen. I think a lot of brands are starting to just dip their feet in…I think the clearest one I can think of is adidas. adidas definitely rode the trend wave to sell those NFTs, which were an amazing outcome for them.
“But my hope is that what we’re seeing with companies like Starbucks and Disney are a little bit more representative of the sort of things that you own. Loyalty tokens and token gating, which is another term that’s starting to come out, where by owning certain NFTs you have access to certain things in real life or on the website or even in your Metaverse.
“I also think being part of a wallet is interesting. How wallets work is incredibly important for anyone who’s in the Web3 space because I think those have the most opportunity to convert someone from being a normal customer to someone who understands what Web3 is about.”
To learn more about Web3, explore BigCommerce’s Global and Consumer Report and Intro to Cryptocurrency Knowledge Base article and tune into The Make it Big Podcast on Spotify, Apple and Google for more ecommerce insights.
Kelsey Daubner is a Content Marketing Specialist at BigCommerce, where she specializes in thought leadership content. She holds a B.S. in Journalism and Media Studies from Texas State University and, prior to joining BigCommerce, worked in marketing roles in various industries spanning from food and beverage to nonprofit.