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OffLimits: Building a Pathway to Web3

Ismail Pathan

Head of Customer Experience

OffLimits is the self-described vegan, gluten-free, and offensively delicious cereal brand uplifting independent artists through inventive collaborations, while also returning to the best parts of the traditional industry: personable cartoon mascots and toys in your cereal box. 

We sat down with OffLimits Founder and CEO Emily Elyse Miller to dive deep on: 

  • What cereal has to do with Web3, NFTs, and the metaverse
  • How she’s using Novel to drive communal ownership and loyalty
  • Why Emily feels the heyday of DTC eCommerce is coming to an end

“Any brand that’s not considering Web3 and tools like Novel, which make it so easy, is missing the boat. OffLimits wants to help build those pathways, rather than follow the flow of the crowd.”

Emily Elyse Miller, OffLimits Founder and CEO

The Intersection of CPG and web3

While web3 usually carries the connotations of tech — not brands and colorful cereal — Emily points to three reasons why OffLimits has sought out a solution like Novel for years.

1. Powering the Creator Economy

OffLimits’ emphasis on genuine creativity and artistry is baked into its DNA in two unique ways: 

  • The first thing shoppers notice on the OffLimits site is its vibrant visuals from end to end, especially its four animated brand mascots — each infused with a personality and serving as the face of the company’s social media, UX, and customer service.
  • OffLimits has also collaborated with independent artists on a number of limited edition SKUs and merchandise capsules, with 100% of profits going to the designer. 

With all of this, Emily explains, the OffLimits team jumped at the chance to leverage NFTs and similar Web3 elements to return ownership and power to visual artists. 

2. Arriving Early to the Metaverse

Emily compares the payoff of arriving early to a space before it takes off to the gratification of listening to a great band before they become mainstream. 

By entering web3 on the ground floor, OffLimits thus has the chance to influence what the next generation of digital brands could look like. 

For Emily, this means shaping new commerce to put power in the hands of the individual users, rather than the corporation, i.e. by giving OffLimits’ early adopters a literal piece of the brand. 

3. Activating Community & Rewarding Loyalty

OffLimits initially launched with an arcade-style points system where each box of cereal purchased equated to points that could be redeemed at their online toy store. 

However, the attempt at rewarding repeat buyers was challenged early on because customer service and troubleshooting requests flooded her team’s bandwidth.

Now, the OffLimits team is looking toward NFTs via the Novel platform as a far more seamless user loyalty system that’ll also be less labor-intensive on the admin end. 

"At the end of the day, I still had to run a consumer business. As a result, it’s just too time-consuming and capital-intensive for a brand to do web3 on their own. Novel was the solution we’d been waiting for to give back to our loyal users."

Emily Elyse Miller, OffLimits Founder and CEO

Web 2.5: A Seamless Onboarding

OffLimits encountered Novel when Emily connected with the team through Club CPG and found, in her words, that they’d built exactly what she had been struggling to design internally.

Perhaps what was most exciting about the platform was its ability to function as a “web 2.5” space, which could meet consumers in their current buying habits while easing them into web3, without any of the deep tech speak, as well as lower barriers to entry for brands. 

As for the actual onboarding process, Emily describes getting on the phone for an hour with the Novel team to discuss use cases and align on specific needs — after which the technical setup ran quickly, smoothly, and without any need for additional labor from her team. 

“I loved how, by eliminating all the heavy tech and crypto minutiae that’d take months to grasp at a basic level, Novel could help brands and consumers alike feel empowered by web3 projects — and actually be a part of them as well.” 

Shopify Checkout with Credit Card

Novel Solutions: Embedded Loyalty & Product Drops

Emily describes the functional benefits of Novel for the OffLimits team so far as threefold. 

1. Seamless Integrations & Maintenance

OffLimits runs on a headless Shopify site, powering that vibrantly and dynamically visual experience for shoppers. Emily points out that her team thoughtfully curates its headless tech stack based on performance, need, and benefit to OffLimits’ customers.

With all the web3 projects they have in the works, Novel was happily and easily integrated. Novel allowed for seamless integration with the site as-is, while ongoing dev will enable OffLimits to sell or gift NFTs with purchase directly through the site and alongside existing physical inventory. 

2. Community Building & Exclusive Experiences

As Emily puts it, she was happily surprised by Novel’s functionality for gated pages which can only be accessed by users in possession of a branded token. 

Diving deeper, she envisions all OffLimits NFT holders being able to gain access to: 

  • Limited edition product drops and updated giveaways
  • NFT token-gated pages with exclusive listings and content

3. Automating Away Pain Points

Prior to Novel, Emily describes coordinating a co-branded NFT — and having to conduct each step of the build by hand, since none of the user-facing tech had existed yet. This included: 

  • A pre-mint using Polygon and a QR code for users to claim the NFT
  • Manually transferring the NFTs to each person on OpenSea
  • Collecting users’ individual wallet addresses
  • Fielding customer service inquiries

Today, the team is planning a campaign that’ll send the physical products to OffLimits NFT holders, which Emily anticipates will function far more simply through Novel due to the fact that: 

  • Purchases will seamlessly run through her website’s typical Shopify flow. 
  • Zero manual checking against a database will be required from OffLimits’ team. 
  • OffLimits can quickly set up a gated page to ensure only token owners can sign up.

“There are so many processes I’d carry out by hand that Novel has abstracted away. I never have to manually transfer on OpenSea again because it’s as simple as running a Shopify workflow.” 

Emily Elyse Miller, OffLimits Founder and CEO

Looking Forward: The End of the DTC Wave

In the next year, Emily expects OffLimits to double in size while pushing into traditional big-box retail and other web3-integrated projects, with hopes of bridging the two disparate realms of commerce. As for larger industry shifts, she admits she’s always disliked operating in DTC.

In fact, Emily anticipates the standard DTC practices of the last decade, which have been continuously reiterated, to come to a natural close. 

It’s a shift she hopes OffLimits can lead. As opposed to funding affiliate programs, where influential users incentivize other audience members, the communal basis of Web3 lends itself to catalyzing your entire consumer base into brand advocates. 

And, as CACs continue to soar, rather than paying up for the Facebooks of the world, there’s a genuine opportunity to leverage owned communities as an advertising and acquisition engine. 

“Honestly, I’ve hated DTC and the old strategies that come with it from day one. Through Web3 and Novel, the biggest OffLimits advocates can be every single one of our customers — not just influencers.” 

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