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Unlocking Web3 Audiences

Anna Merzi

Co-founder & CRO

Meagan Loyst on Unlocking Web3 Audiences and Token-Gating Shopify Stores

Meagan Loyst is an investor at Lerer Hippeau, an early-stage venture fund based in New York City, and the founder of Gen Z VCs, a global collective of 15,000+ emerging investors.

Lerer Hippeau has been at the forefront of tech and commerce for the past decade, with investments in Warby Parker, Allbirds, Glossier, Blockdaemon, Genies, Abra, Casa, and Novel, among hundreds of others.

In our session with Meagan, we dive deep on:

  • Ways to incorporate web3 as part of a branded content strategy
  • How brands should leverage NFTs to drive consumer engagement
  • Tips for rapidly accelerating loyalty, community, and brand affiliation

“If you want to be on the cutting edge of technology and meet consumers where they are, you need to be thinking about how to design and deploy NFT offerings.”

Meagan Loyst, Investor, Lerer Hippeau

Capturing the Next Generation of Loyal Users

As web3 continues to establish itself in the domain of eCommerce brands, Meagan anticipates its vitality in the future of consumer ownership and community. 

In other words: web3 becomes an entirely new tool to reward both potential and long-time buyers for their attention. Specifically, she points to NFTs and their varied use cases, such as: 

  • Token-gated merchandise, webpages, or events
  • Exclusive avenues for high-value user feedback or product roadmap input
Token-gated merch, webpages, or events

These methods are especially promising since, in Meagan’s words, brands should consider the entry of the next billion consumers into the ecosystem — and how community-first growth channels may be the greatest pathway to sustainably capturing them. 

After all, for this next generation of consumers, fandom is no longer limited to celebrities. 

“Launching an NFT project can kickstart loyalty for consumer brands in a whole new way, as well as bring in sizable revenue within a concise period.”

Meagan Loyst, Investor, Lerer Hippeau

Beyond the Product: End-to-End Brand Experiences

From Meagan’s vantage point, a majority of DTC eCom brands are both excited by and well-equipped for NFT implementation for two reasons: 

  1. They seek a new revenue source with longevity. 
  2. Increasingly, brands are no longer creating products solely for consumers. Rather, they consider and create end-to-end digital experiences. 

For instance, the best brands on the market become so by considering consumer experiences beyond the physical product. 

This looks like engaging digital-first communities, enabling followers to connect 1:1 based on shared experiences, and perhaps eventually incorporating NFT-driven loyalty mechanisms. 

User Engagement for the Creator Economy

Meanwhile, for the creator economy of over 50 million workers worldwide, Meagan sees another prominent solution in the form of NFTs. 

As content creators launch their platforms — many of them to international audiences — they ultimately aim to monetize and derive value from their passions. 

NFTs enable these self-managed brands to essentially own and incentivize their audiences in impactful, unprecedented ways. 

Beeple, a leading NFT artist in the creator economy

“The creator economy is all about helping folks live and monetize their passions. Now, web3 helps them own and incentivize that audience on their terms.”

Meagan Loyst, Investor, Lerer Hippeau

Leveling Up Engagement Strategies through web3

Overall, Meagan considers it a “no-brainer” for every digital-first brand to at least consider making moves toward web3. 

Particularly on the NFT front, she’s advised companies within her portfolio of the potential of leveraging them to enable and guide loyalty and engagement over time. 

In her words, an exclusive NFT drop could be conducive to bringing new users into your brand’s ecosystem — but it’ll be far more effective in incentivizing them to stay. 

Rather than expecting buyers to return out of love for your brand, you can turn them into high-LTV consumers, for instance, by rolling out a one-time-only NFT to reward subscribers. 

Yet, before launching your first web3 campaign, Meagan emphasizes that today’s consumers exercise higher standards before engaging with a brand for the long term. 

The average modern customer cares to understand what a brand stands for. 

As such, Meagan advises brands to think critically and aim to incorporate NFTs into their models in a way that feels authentic and consistent with who they are as a merchant. 

Otherwise, you risk your audience’s judgment and having your campaign labeled as a thoughtless cash grab. 

How to Deploy Tiered NFT Launches

Meagan points out that brands can have success in tiered launches as well as regular launches. 

To determine which strategy to lead with, she recommends starting by segmenting your most engaged users and then providing the most accessible option based on that segmentation.

As an example, she illustrates the following structure for dropping your next NFT capsule: 

  • Start by launching 20,000 NFTS. 
  • Reserve 500 of these as exclusive, higher-value tokens for a VIP community, such as product testers, repeat buyers, and subscribers
  • The remaining 19,500 are then reserved for a far larger subset: users equally invested in your brand’s success, who can then participate at a more accessible price. 

Regardless of how you tier your NFT launch, the most important outcome is delivering on the core utility of your promise for each tier and keeping those consumers in your ecosystem.

Participation through Consumer Content

In a similar vein of accessibility, Meagan points to two other realities preventing participation in web3 for every digital shopper. 

  1. High-friction usage — Transferring money, for instance, from your bank account to Coinbase to MetaMask is still a multi-step flow, creating friction for existing users and discouraging newer ones. 
  2. Gas fees — The average Gen Z consumer who’s most equipped to learn about the ecosystem will likely have the least capital to invest in actually entering it. 

However, she then encourages brands to turn these blockers into opportunities. 

By unlocking new audiences who’ve faced barriers to entry to web3, you can drive growth through community by bringing fans to the forefront of an engagement strategy. 

For example, rather than extending a majority of your marketing budget to influencers, outreach and send products to users who’ve demonstrated loyalty and can produce UGC. 

“What better way to incentivize organic growth than having a supercharged NFT community that’s invested in your success?” 

The Nexus of Fandom and Commerce

Returning to a previous point, Meagan reiterates her belief that fandom will become the norm for communities surrounding brands, as it has for celebrities, influencers, etc. 

She pulls from her own experience with OLIPOP: After tweeting about her love for the drink, the F&B brand reached out about collaborating. 

Since then, Meagan has heard many anecdotes illustrating the brand's skill at building high-touch communities out of individuals with a genuine love for their product. 

As she puts it: People genuinely crave the opportunity to work with and rep their favorite brands. 

By extension, brands can operationalize this phenomenon for the next generation of consumers and the broader eCom space by leveraging NFTs. 

Platforms like Novel thus become an on-ramp for turning informal communities into formalized networks for regularly engaging and rewarding returning users. 

“Novel will do an amazing job of bringing the next billion consumers into this ecosystem through web3-powered brand communities.” 

See how Novel can help you reach your Web3 goals.

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