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Chelsea Football Club kicks up conversational commerce for 3D avatars

British soccer team Chelsea Football Club is building a fan base through the messaging application Rawr Messenger and enabling users to purchase digital merchandise to dress 3D avatars in team gear.

The mobile messaging app allows users to create avatars in their likeness to interact and message with friends. Chelsea’s store will allow users to show off their team spirit by purchasing apparel and accessories for their avatars in the team’s marketplace.

“Rawr Messenger works in a similar way to let’s say, WhatsApp,” said Oskari Häkkinen, founder and chief product officer of Futurefly, the developer behind the app. “However, Rawr breaks down the walls of self-expression in messaging by introducing 3D avatars that react to your texts through body and facial animations.

“Users make an avatar that not only represents themselves, but can also be dressed with their own choice of items, which friends can then see in Rawr conversations,” he said. “Many items are available for free, and some items can be bought with virtual currency which can be bought or earned for free.

“Users who support Chelsea, or even those who just have in interest in football, can visit the Chelsea store within the app and choose official items for their avatars to wear.”

Scoring mobile goals
Users on Rawr can message with each other but also move and complete physical actions with each other through their avatars. Each avatar is created by the user as a digital representation of themselves.

Chelsea is hoping to capitalize on this by encouraging users to dress their avatars with the team’s fan gear such as hats, sneakers, scarves, shirts and jackets, which are all branded to represent the team. Fans can access their store on the apps’ marketplace for brands where they can purchase items with in-app coins.

Fans looking to score a free Chelsea hat can message the app’s chatbot, which acts a tutorial for users learning on how to use the app for the first time. Users can message #CFC to the chatbot named Tim Rawr and automatically receive a free team hat.

Users can message with each other and to have their avatars complete an action can write the movement with a hashtag. For instance, friends that are talking with each other in the app can send the message #hug to see their avatars hug.

For game-time celebration, the app will allow users to have their avatars act out soccer-related movements. For instance, fans can message #williangoal to see their avatar mimic the unique goal celebration dance of Chelsea player Willian Borges da Silva.

Mobile messaging pushes
International airline Icelandair similarly launched the first phase of its mobile messaging bot on Facebook Messenger that drives users to book stopover flights in Iceland while visiting other overseas countries (see more).

Amazon also tapped into mobile messaging app Line to drive sales by starting a conversation with users that consistently drives them to its native online store, ramping up subscriptions ahead of Prime Day (see more).

“Our primary goal is to bring interesting and quality content to Rawr Messenger that our users will enjoy, but we also hope to find new users who are interested in Chelsea but don’t yet know about Rawr Messenger,” Mr. Häkkinen said. “This partnership with Chelsea also, importantly, opens up an additional revenue stream for us.”