Retailers & NFTs: 7 Examples You Can Learn From

May 3, 2022

The Bolt Team

online retailers that accept bitcoin & nfts

NFTs aren’t just a curiosity anymore. They’re becoming an everyday facet of our digital lives. And retailers must find ways to incorporate NFTs into ecommcerce to remain relevant.

In this article, we’ll look at seven top retailers using NFTs to position their brands as digital leaders. Keep reading to learn how you can leverage NFTs for your brand and how Bolt can help.

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What are NFTs?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. The key word here is fungible. A fungible item can be interchanged for another identical item. For instance, one dollar can be substituted equally for another. 

Non-fungible describes something that’s unique and can’t be replaced. We see this in the art world all the time. You can own a copy of a Monet painting, but there’s only one original. 

NFTs are easier to authenticate than a Monet, however. You need an expert to authenticate your Monet in the art world. NFTs are registered on a blockchain ledger, making them one-of-a-kind digital assets with exclusive ownership rights. 

A lot has been written about ecommerce and NFTs, especially in the last few months. But there’s still a lot of confusion about what NFT’s are and how they fit into the cryptocurrency space.

Any digital asset can become an NFT, from photos and graphics to videos and music. But it’s important to understand how they differ from collecting physical items like baseball cards or artwork. 

When you buy an NFT, you’re buying a token, not the actual asset. Your purchase includes rights to the item or information inside it and a certificate of ownership that can be verified publicly on the blockchain.

Why retailers are interested in NFTs

What’s the point of NFTs? How do they help you grow your brand? Let’s look at two benefits of getting involved in NFTs now before they become mainstream.

Monetization potential

The average consumer may not be able to make heads or tails of NFTs yet, but that’s changing. Major brands are venturing into NFTs, which has brought them positive attention and awareness.

NFTs have mostly been digital art or collectibles, and brands are launching NFT collections of their own. But the potential for NFTs is much broader.

For example, apparel brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are creating digital versions of their clothing lines that can be used in the metaverse. But many of them are also tying these digital versions to physical products. 

Dolce & Gabbana created an NFT collection that launched during Venice Fashion Week and sold for nearly $5.7 million. Owners of the NFTs also received real-world versions of the items, plus exclusive access to future D&G events.

The monetization potential for NFTs, and the metaverse in general, is almost unlimited. Goldman Sachs predicts that it’s an $8 trillion opportunity ready to be tapped. 

Brand loyalty and community

Another reason retailers should look to NFTs is the added layer of connection they offer with consumers. NFTs are part of Web3, a new iteration of the World Wide Web that utilizes blockchain technology. 

Web3 decentralizes web software protocols, giving users control of their data and identity. As a result, brands and their customers can own their digital relationship.

Community and authenticity are at the heart of Web3 and the metaverse, and this means consumers can feel closer to their favorite brands than ever before. They’ll be able to interact immersively with a brand’s virtual space from anywhere in the world.

Companies can use the technology that makes NFTs digitally secure to offer unique experiences, special access, or a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality, and real-world products or experiences.

How are retailers are using NFTs

Many brands are starting with digital collectibles as they wade into Web3, but there are other creative applications as well.

Here are seven examples of retailers using NFTs and Web3. Let’s examine what they’re doing to determine how you can step into this emerging space.

1. Nike

Nike joined the NFT game by acquiring RTFKT, a major digital sneakers and collectibles creators. They even secured a patent for their virtual footwear.

Digital sneakers can be used in video games, but they can also be tied to physical versions of the shoe. Additionally, the virtual shoes can be digitally crossbred with other virtual shoes to create original versions. Those crossbred digital shoes can then be turned into real-world shoes.

Nike plans to add more virtual products and experiences to their product line, including exclusive pre-launch product drops for dedicated fans.

2. Adidas 

Adidas launched their NFT collection, Into the Metaverse, as a collaborative project between Adidas Originals, GMoney, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and PUNKS Comic. Adidas also bought a Bored Ape named Indigo Herz and dressed it in a custom Adidas-branded tracksuit.

A total of 30,000 NFTs sold for around 0.2 ETH, or about $765. They sold out in a matter of hours and netted Adidas $22 million.

Adidas calls this release phase one and includes access to the Open Metaverse virtual land experiences. In phases two through four, owners of the NFTs will be able to redeem, or “burn out,”  their token for real world merchandise sometime in 2022.

3. Adidas and Prada

Not long after dropping the Into the Metaverse collection, Adidas partnered with Prada to create another NFT. What makes this NFT unique is that it features user-generated and creator-owned art.

Both companies invited their audiences to provide 3,000 community-sourced pieces of art. Each was minted as an NFT. Then digital artist Zach Lieberman compiled all 3,000 to make a single work.

The project was groundbreaking in several ways. It was completely free to participate, and contributors will maintain full ownership rights over their individual NFT tiles.

Additionally, a majority of the proceeds from the auction were donated to the non-profit organization Slow Factory Institute.

4. Budweiser

Budweiser launched its first NFT collection called The Heritage Collection in November of 2021. It featured 1936 unique digital designs of beer cans to commemorate the year Budweiser created its first can.

Each token is a one-of-a-kind digital asset based on designs from Budweiser’s history. 1,900 Core Heritage tokens were priced at $499. The other 36 were Gold Heritage tokens that went for $999 each. The collection sold out in less than an hour.

5. Evian

Evian recently announced their partnership with Sara Shakeel to create their first NFT series. Shakeel is known for her unique combination of both digital and physical collages using glitter and Swarovski crystals.

For this project, Shakeel created a sparkling rendition of the French Alps, where Evian water is sourced. And since Evian is known for its commitment to maintaining a low-energy footprint, they minted the NFTs on Tezos, an energy-efficient Proof-of-Stake blockchain that uses two million times less energy than Ethereum-based platforms.

The limited run of 20 NFTs sold for around $620 each, and all 20 were gone in less than a day. Evian donated 100% of the proceeds to Somerset House to help provide workspaces for aspiring artists in London.

6. Tiffany’s

Tiffany’s vice president, Alexandre Arnault, turned his CryptoPunks NFT (#3167) into a one-off piece of jewelry. The rose gold and enamel pendant features sapphire and mozambique baguette rubies for glasses and a yellow diamond for the earring.

Arnault’s father, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, isn’t convinced the brand is ready to delve into the metaverse, stating that “…it is not our objective to sell virtual sneakers at €10. We are not interested in that.”

Even though the younger Arnault transformed his NFT for himself and not for the Tiffany’s brand, it illustrates how the metaverse is impacting the real world. Soon after Alexandre tweeted the pic of his new pendant, other cryptopunk owners expressed interest in having Tiffany’s transform their NFTs into real-world jewelry too.

Tiffany’s did release a limited edition TiffCoin on April 1 of this year. Each of the 499 individually engraved and numbered coins sold for $9,999 and were only available for 24 hours.

It’s not cryptocurrency. Instead, these 18k gold coins were made to resemble Tiffany Money from the 1970s. Tiffany Money was silver and gold coins that could be exchanged for Tiffany jewelry.

Tiffany’s also advertised on their website that TiffCoin holders will get access to “Tiffany happenings, bringing high glamor to the Metaverse.” So even though these coins aren’t cryptocurrency or part of the virtual world of the metaverse, they bring the two worlds together.

7. Norwegian Cruise Lines

Cruises are designed to be fantastical and exotic, but NCL is venturing into the virtual and exotic with their first NFT collection.

The series of six was designed by Manuel Di Rita, the artist who designed hull artwork for the Prima and the Viva, two of NCL’s newest ships.

The first piece will be auctioned off with a starting bid of $2,500, and the proceeds will be donated to Teach For America. The auction winner will also receive a balcony stateroom on one of the Prima’s inaugural voyages.

The other five pieces all dropped on April 13th and sold out in 20 minutes. Three of the NFTs are digital copies of pieces that will be on display in the three-story Penrose Atrium aboard Norwegian Prima.

Diving into the metaverse as a retailer

Most consumers aren’t actively involved in this space yet. They don’t understand it or the vocabulary. And there are no clear instructions on how to get started. 

But the transition is already happening. Retailers need to step into this $8 trillion opportunity now to establish themselves as the market emerges. 

The biggest obstacle for retailers today is making NFTs accessible to consumers who want to participate but may not understand Web3, cryptocurrency, or the metaverse.

That’s why Bolt has announced its intention to acquire Wyre

Who is Wyre and how will they integrate with Bolt?

Wyre was founded in 2013 to develop crypto and payment infrastructures for the new economy. They spent the last ten years building a platform that speeds the adoption and deployment of crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. 

Bolt is dedicated to giving merchants access to the latest digital technologies. Wyre helps their partners navigate the license and regulatory hurdles to integrate into the cryptosystem. So the partnership made sense.  

This is Bolt’s biggest acquisition and the largest ever in the cryptocurrency space. It allows Bolt to democratize cryptocurrency transactions and bring Coinbase-like functionality to all of commerce. 

That means you can help introduce cryptocurrency to a new generation of consumers. This acquisition makes Bolt the dominant checkout service and identity layer for crypto, NFTs, and digital assets still to come.

As a merchant, you’ll be able to offer one-click checkout for consumers who want to use cryptocurrency as payments for physical goods or vice versa.

Enable one-click crypto

If you’re ready to sell NFTs, you need to give your customers the same seamless buying experience you offer with physical products. And your customers are interested in exploring this space. Thirty-three percent of consumers say they collect NFTs as a hobby or investment, according to Morning Consult.

As it becomes better understood, more shoppers will want to consider NFTs and crypto, so you need to be ready. Thanks to Bolt, you can be.

Through Wyre’s technology, Bolt can now offer the power of cryptocurrency transactions to you and your consumers. 

So what have we learned?

NFTs are here to stay, and smart retailers are leaning into them. But remember, this shift is not just about making money. It’s about serving your customers and building community. 

1. NFTs offer tremendous PR

In many of the examples included here, retailers donated the proceeds of their NFTs. Their goal was to engage their community, build relationships, raise awareness for their brand and a cause they care about. But it also positions them as a leader in the digital economy. 

Few retailers offer NFTs, which means you can become newsworthy with just one campaign. The key is to tie the NFT to your brand and its mission in a significant way.

2. NFTs tie the physical to the virtual world

Retailers are using NFTs to bridge the gap between the real world and the metaverse. Digital products like NFTs allow you to offer value-added bundles, create multi-sensory products, and provide the instant gratification of a virtual version of a physical purchase.

NFTs and crypto are growing in popularity. The additional security, unique benefits, and enhanced customer experience means you can give your customer both virtual and real-world solutions. 

3. You can help your customers step into the future

With Bolt’s One-Click, you will soon be able to offer NFTs without requiring your customers to create cryptocurrency accounts or learn confusing terminology. We are democratizing NFTs..

Retailers are using NFTs to drive revenue and connect with their customers, but the experience is still a challenge. With Wyre, Bolt makes this exciting advancement available to you and your customers. 

Get started today. Enjoy checkout everywhere in just one click, and usher your customers into the world of NFTs. Get your 3-minute demo now.

ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.