NFTs may seem very summer 2022 but spring has galvanised a host of major retail and fashion brands, which have launched NFTs as part of their wider Web3 and metaverse strategies.
Charged Retail picks out seven brands that are pushing new initiatives to engage with consumers across virtual and web platforms and the strategies they are using to expand their digital universes.
Nike: Rewarding collaboration
Nike launched its first virtual trainer collection today. Its Our Force 1 features “digital renditions of Air Force 1 Lows from the past, present and future”.
The community co-created trainers sit on .SWOOSH, Nike’s new platform for virtual creations, unveiled last November.
Ahead of launching its projects, Nike acquired NFT studio RTFKT in December 2021 and said that the .SWOOSH platform will give users the tools to develop virtual creations for video games and experiences, plus the opportunity to earn royalties from co-created virtual products.
The first collection comes in two digital “boxes,” the Classic Remix box and the New Wave box, each priced at $19.82. Each box contains a digital Our Force 1 version of one of Nike’s iconic Air Force 1 shoes.
.SWOOSH members can open their box to discover which Our Force 1 shoe it contains, learn its unique features and unlock utilities in the coming months for special access to physical products and experiences.
Nike is already making big money from NFTs, generating $185m last year.
Starbucks: Latte is better than never
Starbucks will launch its first store collection of 5,000 NFTs on Wednesday, each costing $100.
The collection includes a multimedia collage of photos, in-store textures and prominent icons inspired by the chain’s first store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
“Experience the first Starbucks store in a whole new way”, says the coffee giant. “This collection encapsulates that same experience in each unique art piece, depicting an array of elements from our home at 1912 Pike Place. With the Starbucks First Store Collection, you can own a piece of history.”
The launch comes on the back of Starbucks’ first paid Siren collection of NFTs, which sold out in just 18 minutes.
Since then, the secondary market has gone into overdrive, with one NFT trading for over $2,000, according to Nifty Gateway.
The company first launched its Web3 push in December, when it opened up a new membership programme called Starbucks Odyssey.
An extension of the existing rewards programme, which offers customers perks like free drinks upgrades, Odyssey promises to deliver new benefits and “immersive coffee experiences that [customers] cannot get anywhere else”.
Adidas: Earning its stripes
Adidas created a splash in the digital world with the introduction of Chapter 1 of its ALTS NFT collection, bringing the brand to the top of the rankings in the Web3 universe.
ALTS by Adidas represents the third phase in an 18-month project via its recently rebranded collect.adidas.com platform and is a personalised, token-gated Web3 loyalty programme based on an avatar of the user.
It focuses on what the brand – which remains one of the most sought after according to a recent survey – calls the user’s ‘ALT[er] ego’ – the first of eight traits that determine a customer’s unique identity, which provides an exclusive utility tailored to personal interests.
An interactive storyline, starting with Chapter 1, has been designed. To participate, holders need to burn their Phase 1 and 2 NFTs to mint ALTS by Adidas.
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Gucci: Exclusive partnerships
Gucci is one of the leading luxury brands working in NFTs and has ambitious aims. The luxury retailer has reportedly generated over $11.5 million in NFT revenue.
Gucci is looking to establish a solid foundation in the metaverse and expand its Vault Art Space after partnering with the NFT project 10KTF.
The brand initially unveiled the Gucci Grail non-fungible tokens, which are mintable on the Ethereum blockchain network. The NFT would feature a personalised and unique NFT, created by Gucci’s creative director.
Gucci has also partnered with NFT giant Yuga, which initially worked on the Gucci Grail collection and now plan to “create a new narrative that blurs the boundaries between the physical and digital”.
Printemps: Educating luxury shoppers about NFTs
French department store group Printemps expanded its digital offer last year, launching a virtual department store which Printemps digital marketing director Morgane Lopes called an “imaginary, fantasy Printemps, where nature has reclaimed its rights and the products have been modelled in three dimensions”.
Lopes said the concept was to create a virtual store which would engage its luxury consumers and would be extremely easy to use for its core store shopper, aged 45-55.
The company did not go down the metaverse route because it did not feel that the technology would be familiar to its customer base.
“The luxury market is changing and we wanted to bring Printemps to a wider audience and become a place for more brands,” said Lopes. “But luxury does not always work well online because of the loss of experience and so creating a digital store that was even more beautiful and extravagant than the real flagship is our attempt to change that perception and bring something new to digital retail.”
Launching the platform, Printemps.com also offered anyone purchasing a product from the virtual store the chance to enter a draw to win one of 30 NFTs created in collaboration with the artist Romain Froquet via the Arianee NFT platform.
This allowed the 30 holders to receive the original painting by Froquet, exhibited in the atrium of Printemps Haussmann during the campaign.
This was intended as more than a gimmick, said Lopes, but as a way of reintroducing the ideas of rarity, exclusivity and uniqueness: “Our expectation was that for the winners this would be their first NFT ownership, so it was a way of helping them understand the technology and to make luxury feel special in a virtual environment.”
Louis Vuitton: Gamification of luxury
Designer brand powerhouse Louis Vuitton entered the NFT area after it collaborated with artist Beeple to build its own NFT game.
‘Louis: The Game’ also commemorated the 200th birthday of the brand’s founder, Louis Vuitton. The game includes 30 NFTs, some of which Beeple created himself. Players can collect the NFTs, but they cannot be resold.
The brand has been linked with rumours of several other projects but, although it is expected to remain active in the NFT space, none have so far been realised.
Tiffany: Sparkling commercialisation of NFTs
Tiffany has reportedly recorded an estimated $12.62 million in total NFT income and organised the sale of approximately 250 NFTiffs.
These are essentially digital passes, which can be minted and redeemed for CryptoPunks pendants and a corresponding NFT artwork.
Tiffany’s designers are behind the creation of these unique pendant designs for each NFTiff, and CryptoPunks would be required to purchase NFTiffs. Each pendant is composed of 18-carat gold and 30 jewels or diamonds, while NFTiff owners have access to a digital representation of the pendant as an NFT.
The company sold out the collection when it launched them in August 2022.