Italian luxury brand Gucci , owned by French luxury company Kering Group , has launched a new pilot program to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments in stores. It is reported that the plan will be piloted in some stores in the United States to accept cryptocurrency payments by the end of May 2022, and plans to expand to all directly operated North American stores this summer.
Currently, five US stores have become pilot stores, namely the Wooster Street store in New York, the Rodeo Drive store in Los Angeles, and the Design District store in Miami. Phipps Plaza store in Atlanta and Crystals store in Las Vegas.
These pilot stores will accept more than 10 cryptocurrencies for payment, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin ( LTC ), Shiba Inu Coin (SHIB), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), and 5 USD-pegged stablecoins.
The payment method is as follows: The brand will email consumers an encrypted link containing a QR code (two-dimensional code), through which consumers can use the encrypted wallet to pay.
Consumers make encrypted payments via smartphone crypto apps using QR codes or NFC readers on store retail terminals. Stores can automatically convert cryptocurrency to fiat currency (such as US dollars), or keep it in cryptocurrency.
Marco Bizzarri, President of Gucci, said: "Gucci is always looking for new technologies that can provide our customers with an enhanced experience. Now we are able to integrate cryptocurrencies into our payment system, for those customers who want us to offer this capability. It's a natural evolution."
More and more brands are testing blockchain technology, mainly through NFT (Non-Fungible Token) for art collection and storage of digital information on products, but in-store encrypted payment is still in its infancy .
Gucci has been an early adopter of Web 3 technology, and the brand has recently formed a team focused on Web3. Blockchain technology and crypto payments mark another solid step for brands to combine their existing brick-and-mortar retail with the emerging Web 3.
Previously, the brand launched two NFT projects, Super Gucci and Gucci Grail, through the opening of the online concept store Gucci Vault, which will allow users of these two projects to have pre-order rights before Gucci officially releases the new series. The move, which connects NFT and Web 3 technologies with real-world consumers, is another big move for luxury brands.
In addition, brands such as Off-white and Philipp Plein have also recently announced that their stores will accept cryptocurrency payments.