While it may have disbanded its Web3-specific team as part of its recent restructure, Snapchat’s still working on related initiatives, with the company announcing a new collaboration with musician J Balvin on its first ever ‘Bitmoji Drop’ of limited edition digital Air Jordan 2 Balvin sneakers.
The Drop will enable Snap users to pick up a pair of these sneakers for their Bitmoji character, for a limited time, marking another development in Snap’s evolving digital identity push.
As explained by Snap:
“The digital version of the AJ2 Balvin is available exclusively to Jordan fans via Snapchat before the physical items are available on September 15th. The sought after shoe will only be available for a limited time on the app, and can only be secured and saved until September 14th at 11:59 p.m. PST. Snapchatters who cop the Drop within the limited time frame can sport the sneaker on their Bitmoji in style, indefinitely.”
If you don’t claim the digital item within that timeframe, however, you’ll never get them, with Snap retiring the virtual item to maintain exclusivity.
While not as evolved as some of the digital avatar options that are currently in development, Snap’s Bitmoji characters are hugely popular, and could become a key channel for Snap to move into more advanced AR and even metaverse experiences.
On that line, Snap’s been working on various digital clothing partnerships, designed to help users create more customized, personalized Bitmoji depictions, which they can then use in different digital settings.
The broader plan, based on a previously filed patent from Snap, is to build a Bitmoji fashion store, where users would be able to buy digital replicas of almost any real-world fashion item, with both Snap and retailers taking a cut.
Exclusive drops could be another element, ushering in a new phase of digital commerce in the app, which would also serve to make users more invested in their Bitmoji characters as representive of themselves online.
And if Snap is then able to incorporate metaverse schemas, enabling users to take their Bitmoji character with them to other digital realms – like, say, Meta’s VR metaverse - that could be the main path that Snap takes into the next phase, if and when it becomes a reality.
They may not look as advanced as some of the digital character models around, but if Snap can start building on its Bitmoji options, and enhance that user connection to their characters, they could end up being key tools in that shift.
Which is why ‘Bitmoji Drops’ is an interesting concept, and an interesting testing ground for Snap to measure potential demand for more exclusive items for Bitmoji characters.
Which, eventually, will lead to buying and selling, either by Snap, and/or potentially by users who are able to pick up the exclusive items.