Pioneering the Web3 Commerce Wave: Puma's Vision for the Metaverse and Beyond

While some companies are still grappling with their Web3 strategies, Puma is an ardent advocate. The athletic wear brand sees Web3 as a significant business opportunity akin to e-commerce and social media—this time, they’re aiming to be pioneers in the trend.

Puma is well-versed in the Web3 environment. It already operates its own virtual world based on the Unreal Engine, known as Black Station, and has a non-fungible token (NFT) initiative named Super Puma PFP. They’ve also executed in-game activations like a “Fortnite” partnership with professional footballer Neymar. Now, Puma is designing a comprehensive plan to consolidate these investments.

A crucial part of the company’s Web3 plan is its expansive interpretation of the concept, encompassing both NFT initiatives and non-blockchain virtual worlds such as “Fortnite” and Roblox.

“In essence, we see it as the emerging marketing technologies that shape the interaction between consumers and brands,” said Ivan Dashkov, Puma’s head of emerging marketing tech and Web3.

As Web3 evolves from an experimental novelty to a steady part of brands’ marketing strategy, this broad perspective of the domain is gaining traction. Vayner3, a self-proclaimed “Web3 consultancy” and one of the initial partners of Roblox’s Partner Program, shares a similar interpretation of Web3.

“Discussions about the next internet era with our partners entail a wide range of technologies including immersive experiences and blockchain-based solutions,” stated Vayner3 President Avery Akkineni.

The primary motivation behind Puma’s deep commitment to its Web3 vision is straightforward: it doesn’t want to fall behind yet again in the next significant retail evolution. Puma perceives the arrival of Web3 commerce as a potential groundbreaking transformation. The company acknowledges its past hesitation to invest in e-commerce and social media, resulting in some degree of catching up. With the advent of Web3, Puma is determined not to repeat the same mistake.

Despite significant growth in Puma’s e-commerce sector in recent years—an 11.8% surge in Q3 2022, representing a large part of Puma’s nearly $538 million in direct-to-consumer sales for that quarter—the brand still lags behind competitors like Nike, which amassed over $13 billion in e-commerce sales in the last fiscal year. Citi’s report last year suggests that by 2030, the metaverse economy could be worth trillions.

Currently, direct commerce possibilities within Web3 landscapes are somewhat restricted. While Puma clients can buy physical sneakers in the Black Station virtual environment, direct purchases of physical goods via popular virtual platforms like “Fortnite” and Roblox remain unfeasible. Nevertheless, industry experts foresee the emergence of more commerce opportunities in these platforms, which validates Puma’s proactive investment.

“Your aim is to engage with your consumers wherever they are—that’s the essence of an omnichannel retailer,” commented Justin Hochberg, CEO and founder of Virtual Brands Group. “You sell at physical stores like Bloomingdale’s, at pop-up events, on e-commerce platforms, through DTC channels, and now in the metaverse where there’s a new customer base.”