Electronic store

NFTs become physical experiences as brands bring in-store typing

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have taken the world by storm over the past year. Digital collectibles that were characterized only as CryptoKitties in 2017 have since evolved into famous works of art, digitized music, premium mode for the metaverse, and a way for communities to connect with others at worldwide.

Even with the current crypto bear market, recent findings from research firm Security.org found that NFT ownership has doubled in the last year, from around 4.6 million people to 9, 3 million people. The report also revealed that while the vast majority of Americans are not ready to buy NFTs, around 16.3 million potential customers are likely to buy non-fungible tokens over the next 12 months.

Consumers experience NFTs with IRL mints

Given the potential of NFTs, it should come as no surprise that a handful of retailers and brands are beginning to integrate non-fungible tokens into their product offerings. Although it has been proven by brands linking physical goods to digital NFTs, a handful of retailers are now integrating NFT technology into physical stores.

This was recently demonstrated by the Italian luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo. Ferragamo’s new concept store opened on June 24, 2022 in New York’s Soho neighborhood, the day after NFT NYC concluded. From the outside, the Ferragamo store at 63 Greene Street looks ordinary, but once consumers step inside, they can experience Web3 first-hand through immersive shopping features.

Daniella Vitale, CEO of Ferragamo North America, told Cointelegraph during a preview of the store that the Soho site is merging technology with the world of luxury by incorporating an NFT installation alongside a custom hologram sneaker program. She says:

“Everyone is always talking about NFTs, so we wanted to bring a real experience to the Soho store that allows people to create their own NFTs. We hope to acquire new customers who are familiar with Web3, but it’s also about making make our existing customers a part of this world. I think it will be a huge success.

Vitale added that Ferragamo’s NFT installation – which was created in partnership with digital artist Shxpir (pronounced like the English poet and playwright Shakespeare) – is the first of its kind, noting that no other Ferragamo store contains a such functionality.

“We didn’t want our Soho store to be so static — we wanted it to have a tech angle. The NFT booth was integrated directly into the store design to encompass the entire shopping experience,” she said. Vitale added that she hopes these immersive features will allow customers to learn about Web3 technology rather than be intimidated by industry developments.

NFT installation in Ferragamo’s Soho store. Source: Ferragamo

To ensure this, a representative from multidisciplinary studio De-Yan – which has worked with Ferragamo on installations and helped with immersive projects for Louis Vuitton and Dior – told Cointelegraph that hitting a Ferragamo NFT costs customers nothing.

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“This will be the first NFT for many people, so Ferragamo will pay all Ether gas fees on transfers.” Additionally, he noted that representatives will be available to help customers through the minting process. He further shared that the installation of NFTs will be ongoing but the store is limiting the inaugural collection to 256 NFTs. “There are 972 potential combinations that NFTs can take, but only 256 can be hit at this time,” he said.

NFT installation touch screen at Soho Ferragamo store. Source: Cointelegraph

Regarding the actual typing process, he explained that the experience is fully immersive, noting that the NFT facility is enclosed in a mirrored room to ensure customers have a 360-degree view of the NFT they are creating. .

“Customers can personalize their NFT and can then shoot a video with that NFT to then share on social media,” he said. After the mint, customers receive a complaint email asking for their wallet address. “The NFT is then sent to their Ethereum address and will appear in their OpenSea account approximately one day later,” he explained.

Ferragamo NFT with digital artwork by Shxpir. Source: Shxpir and Ferragamo

While Ferragamo may be one of the first luxury fashion brands to bring NFT typing in-store, the Web3 media and entertainment brand known as Doodles has provided its community with a similar feature. Doodles has set up an offsite home during NFT NYC 2022 for fans and community members to hit the last NFT drop, view Doodles artwork, and purchase exclusive merchandise like sweatshirts. shirts and t-shirts. Julian Holguin, COO of Doodles, told Cointelegraph that the goal of the Doodles house is to elevate the brand by allowing people to experience everything in real life. He said:

“We just announced the pre-sale of our second NFT drop, that’s what’s happening here. People are here to physically hit a ‘Genesis Box’, which is a crate of clothing that will be the next level of rarity. People can buy a wearable today at a fixed price to reserve their spot for this mint.

NFT installation at the Doodles house during NFT NYC. Source: Doodles

To date, the Doodles NFT project has generated approximately $500 million in secondary sales since its launch in October 2021. With more than 6,000 Doodles owners, Holguin said the typing experience should be “fun and joyful.” , noting that this is what the brand stands for. “I believe when people can touch and feel things, it creates an emotional response. They can then feel those emotions online,” he said.

Like the Ferragamo NFT facility, NFT NYC’s Doodles House hosted a machine for customers to hit their Genesis Box NFT reservation. At the end, a gold card resembling a credit card was dropped from the machine, which guests could take away as a souvenir. Users had to pay for gas charges, which cost around $127 and could be purchased with a credit card.

The importance of bringing NFTs to life

For example, John Crain, co-founder and CEO of SuperRare – a digital art marketplace launched in 2018 – told Cointelegraph that having a physical art gallery associated with NFTs presents a great opportunity for crypto. -natives and crypto-curious to discover NFTs. . With that in mind, SuperRare opened its first physical art gallery in May this year, also located in New York’s Soho neighborhood. Crain said:

“I think people are seeing headlines about celebrities buying Bored Apes, which is exciting, but at the same time there’s a cultural renaissance happening where independent artists are empowered by this technology. It’s hard to see, which is why it’s important to have a physical gallery where the community can experience the art first-hand, while meeting the artists and curators.

Crain shared that the SuperRare gallery in Soho will be open through the end of August, with the option to expand or expand to other cities. “We hold different exhibitions every two weeks, which is a great way to promote community development while adding deeper context to the art on display. It’s hard to get from a purely digital experience,” he remarked.

Physical map generated by the NFT facility at the Doodles House. Source: Doodles

The De-Yan rep added that he thinks the mix of technology and personalization will be important for the retail industry in the future. He said:

“Ferragamo has taken a particular approach that we think is a good start. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see other brands follow our lead. That’s the fun part of the NFT space – right now everyone think of NFTs as images or videos, but there’s a whole physical and application layer.

While bringing digital NFTs to life in physical spaces can be revolutionary, it’s also important to highlight the challenges that can hinder adoption. For example, while in-store mints can be fun and interactive, users who are new to the crypto space may still find it difficult, especially people in older generations.

Inside the Soho SuperRare Gallery. Source: Cointelegraph

According to findings from Security.org, people aged 25 to 34 were more likely to buy NFTs in the next 12 months than older or younger generations. The research also revealed that men are slightly more interested than women in buying NFTs next year.

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Given this, fashion brands like Ferragamo may struggle to get customers to get NFTs. In order to prevent this from happening, De-Yan’s rep explained that Ferragamo is sharing instructions on how people can get started with NFTs. “MetaMask is probably the easiest way. Ferragamo also initiates the transfer, so all a customer needs is a wallet address,” he said.

The fact that Ferragamo pays the gas charges is indeed attractive, as Security.org also found that the main problem with NFTs remains the high costs associated with minting. Given this, Vitale noted that the current crypto bear market is unlikely to deter customers from creating Ferragamo NFTs. “Paying the gas bill is an important gesture, especially at times like this,” she said.