The advent of cryptocurrency in 2009 kick-started a revolution in the world of digital payments. Slowly, more and more people began using blockchain for transactions. Today, nearly a decade and a half later, it has even led to several businesses — including retail fashion giants – accepting payments in the form of cryptocurrency.
But who are these fashion brands incorporating blockchain payments, and why?
Why is the Retail Fashion Industry Embracing Cryptocurrency?
Accepting payments in cryptocurrency has a lot of benefits for luxury fashion brands.
- To cater to younger, tech-savvy customers such as millennials and Gen Z who prefer crypto transactions.
- Cryptocurrency has lower transaction fees since the middle-man is eliminated.
- Accepting crypto payments makes shopping for products and services easier for international buyers, as credit card fees can often run high.
- Crypto’s decentralized setup also saves businesses from fraudulent transactions and chargebacks.
- Crypto payments save the brands from high currency conversions.
- Blockchain payments offer a risk-free and instant way of accepting money from customers, as brands do not have to hold any cryptocurrency. They can accept payments in crypto and get it settled as fiat currency in their account.
In short, it helps luxury fashion brands expand their customer base and future-proof their business.
5 Luxury Fashion Brands Accepting Payments in Cryptocurrency
Here are 5 luxury retail fashion giants embracing cryptocurrency and staying ahead of their competition.
Gucci Ventures Further into the Metaverse
In May 2022, Gucci, the fashion label, announced that it would start accepting payments in the form of various cryptocurrencies. Besides the usual suspects such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, USD stablecoins, and Litecoin, the brand currently also accepts ApeCoin, Euro Coin, and Shiba Inu. This made Gucci the first notable brand to accept ApeCoin.
To facilitate crypto payments, Gucci partnered with BitPay, a crypto payment service provider. Customers will receive a secure QR code via their email. They can use this QR code with a digital wallet asset and complete the transaction.
Gucci initially rolled out this measure at only 5 of its stores in North America. After a good response, the brand now accepts cryptocurrency in around 70% of its physical stores. This number is also expected to turn to 100% very soon.
The brand aims to embrace new technologies and provide top-notch customer service by allowing for various payment options. Considering Gucci’s previous forays into the metaverse in the form of NFTs, digital collectibles, and partnerships with virtual universes such as Sandbox and Roblox, this latest venture into cryptocurrency as a form of payment does not come as a surprise.
Lifestyle Fashion Brand Experiences Success with Roblox, Now Accepts Crypto Payments
Alo Yoga, the wellness and lifestyle brand, wants to stay on the cutting edge of technology, especially when it comes to the Metaverse and the blockchain world. After conducting a successful virtual mindfulness space on Roblox, the immersive virtual gaming platform which, funnily enough, captures the essence of other engaging crypto and blockchain games due to its “building” nature, the brand decided to dip its toes further into the web3 world and accept payments in cryptocurrencies on online purchases.
Users who are purchasing Alo Yoga products online will now be able to pay using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a few other cryptocurrencies. But it does not stop there. If customers make their first crypto payment, they also get a free 1-month subscription to Alo Moves, the brand’s wellness app that offers several fitness classes.
In addition to accepting payments in crypto, Alo Yoga is going one step further and allowing employees to choose to be paid in cryptocurrencies. All employees – regardless of their employment type — will have the option of choosing to receive their salaries in the form of crypto – either in part, or in full. These will be deposited directly to their crypto wallets. Employees can also convert a portion of their wages into digital coins at absolutely zero transaction fees.
By fully embracing web3, Alo Yoga is not only trying to attract more customers, it also hopes to forge a path within the metaverse for the wellness and digital fashion industry.
In response to this, Danny Harris, co-founder and CEO of Alo Yoga, mentioned that embracing the metaverse was the brand’s first step in staying ahead of the curve. “Enabling crypto payments takes it even further, introducing a real-world connection to Web3, something we find more and more of our customers are interested in.”
Farfetch Spreads the Influence of Crypto Far and Wide
In order to expand its customer base and enhance customer experience, Farfetch, the luxury fashion marketplace, began accepting crypto payments in a total of 37 countries, with a worldwide expansion in the works for 2023. Customers will be able to pay using any of 6 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether USDT, and USD Coin.
For this, the retail fashion giant partnered up with Lunu, a German-based payment processor, and Triple-A. After accepting payments on behalf of Farfetch, Lunu will convert it into fiat currency at the best rates. Any refunds will also be processed in the same currency. Apart from crypto payments online, Farfetch also tested it in a few of its stores in France, Italy, and the UK.
According to Jose Neves, founder and CEO of Farfetch, embracing blockchain is a vital step for the brand “to test and learn, and empower others to embrace cryptocurrency.” The brand believes that as the leading luxury fashion marketplace, it is upon them to be the harbinger of change.
Additionally, Edward Sabbagh, the Chief Marketing Officer, said that “customers are seeking new payment methods” and that this new innovative step was “to enhance customer experience.” The brand has also committed to support net-zero emissions in the blockchain industry by signing the Crypto Climate Accord (CCA). This is in line with the brand’s Positively 2030 Goals wherein they seek to be more sustainable, circular, and inclusive within the next decade.
Upping the Balenciaga Craze with Cryptocurrency Payments
Following in the footsteps of Gucci, in June 2022, Balenciaga, the French luxury fashion brand, opened its doors – or, rather, its digital wallets — to payments in cryptocurrency. This made Balenciaga the second fashion brand from the Kering Luxury Group to embrace cryptocurrency.
Initially, to test this new payment method, the fashion house announced that it would only accept Bitcoin and Ethereum, two of the largest cryptocurrencies. Only a few of its flagship stores in the U.S., such as the ones located on Madison Avenue, New York, and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, will try out blockchain payments. After seeing how this plays out, Balenciaga will expand digital coins to other stores and its online marketplace. More cryptocurrencies will also be accepted later if everything turns out well.
Apart from this, the brand is also building its own Metaverse. It is clear that the fashion brand is doing everything it can to embrace blockchain technology and lead by example. In fact, the company higher-ups even mentioned that “they were thinking long-term” and thus “were not fazed by cryptocurrency’s volatility.”
Big Fashion Brand Brings in an Era of Crypto Payments
In true Phillip Plein fashion, the Switzerland-based major fashion retailer was actually the first big fashion brand to accept payments in cryptocurrency. Having been known for being an early adopter of technology in the fashion space, this is no wonder. In 2021, before the other fashion giants were even debating the merits of blockchain payments, Phillip Plein began accepting online and in-store crypto payments.
For this, Phillip Plein partnered with Coinify, a crypto payment platform. Currently, the brand accepts a total of 24+ cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Voyager Token, Litecoin, Nano, Polygon, and Solana. Customers from more than 24 countries can purchase crypto items from their website.
Phillip Plein’s goals with this move are to earn the title of “Crypto King” and also enhance the customer experience for its usually young clientele.
In response to this move, Plein said that cryptocurrencies are the future. “My team and I have made a major commitment in time and resources, performing all necessary system modifications in order to adopt this new type of currency. I am very pleased to be able to offer to our customers this additional payment tool and the flexibility associated with it.” He also predicted that crypto payments will see a spike in the coming years, especially in the fashion space.