These days, crypto is everywhere and now it has made its way into the high fashion and luxury industry as well. While a lot of high end brands have been experimenting with blockchain technology and NFTs, in store crypto-payments are still an unfamiliar area for most.
Gucci, known globally for being a high end, luxury fashion brand has established itself as an early adopter of new age technologies of Web3 like blockchain, NFT artwork collection and token based economics. Gucci will now be accepting cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH to INR), as valid forms of payment. This puts Gucci ahead of the curve by integrating its market presence with the developing web3 endeavors.
What do we know so far?
By the end of May, the brand will begin accepting crypto payments in certain select stores in the US. They also plan to expand this to all of the North American stores by the end of the year.
Wooster Street in New York, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, Miami Design District, Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, and The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas are some of the first Gucci locations to accept cryptocurrency.
How will this work?
Clients can make payments through their crypto wallets via an email link which will comprise a QR code and the Invoice. This QR code will enable and facilitate the payment process automatically through the wallet.
Gucci will accept Bitcoin (BTC to INR), Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Wrapped Bitcoin, Litecoin, Shiba Inu, and five stablecoins tied to the US dollar as a valid form of payment. While dogecoin was designed as a joke, it will also be acceptable.
In physical locations, crypto payments are often accepted via a QR code or NFC reader on an existing point of sale terminal that interacts with a customer’s smartphone cryptocurrency app, similar to mobile credit card purchases. The store has the option to either convert the money to fiat currency or let it remain as is.
What else is in the works?
Gucci recently made an announcement through its discord channel that owners of two of its NFT projects — SuperGucci and Gucci Grail — will have exclusive access to pre-order a Gucci collection before it is offered to the general public. A move tying NFT collections to Gucci’s growing Web3 Community presence is a giant step for the brand. Gucci is aiming to create an improved experience for its customers by adopting new technologies and methods while also enabling cryptocurrency refunds on bitcoin purchases.
Gucci has just formed a Web3-focused team and has acquired and is constructing digital real estate on The Sandbox, a blockchain-based real estate platform where Adidas and Al Dente are also developing property. Gucci was the first premium company to produce an NFT, which sold for $25,000 in June. In addition to its Sandbox investment, it has published two more NFT projects and launched a Discord channel since then.
How are other brands responding to cryptocurrency?
A few more high-end stores have begun to experiment with cryptocurrency payments. They handle transactions by scanning a QR code given by the customer’s payment app and finding the optimal crypto-to-fiat conversion rate at the moment of transaction. There are no payment limitations, and refunds are only available as shop credit in local currency. This is due in part to the relative volatility of the different cryptocurrencies’ values. Another high end brand is now constructing a London shop that, in addition to taking crypto payments, will have an NFT gallery and the ability to upgrade select purchases with a matching digital Decentraland wearable NFT.
Offering cryptocurrency in-store payments necessitates some training for in-store staff, particularly when NFT collectors grow to demand unique privileges of ownership, such as access to certain product drops or access to specialized places. To that goal, Gucci’s parent company Kering presented this week an in-house game created in partnership with creative agency Al Dente that teaches staff about NFTs and Web3. After floating this idea, Gucci has seen enthusiastic responses from its employees who are willing to learn and have signed up for it.