The Salvatore Ferragamo web3 experience is in collaboration with New York-based digital artist Shxpir (pronounced ‘Shakespeare’) and DE-YAN, a multidisciplinary creative studio. The NFT booth inspires visitors to create one easily, even if they haven’t dabbled in the cryptosphere. At the booth, visitors can choose from a selection of Shxpir designed backgrounds while they are captured on a high-spec black magic camera. Once a visitor is happy with their digital art, it can be minted as an NFT on the Ethereum blockchain via NFT marketplace Opensea.
Ferragamo’s concept store opening coincided with Pride month and as part of the collaboration, the brand created a limited-edition Shxpir graphic print capsule collection with 200 T-shirts and 150 sweatshirts. All proceeds from the collection will be donated directly to The Center – a leading LGBTQ+ organisation in New York City and one of the oldest.
Expanding on the limited-edition collection, shoppers can customise their own pair of gender-neutral 6R3ENE sneakers, choosing from a wide array of colours and details. While they’re designing them, they can check out a 3D hologram of the work in progress. When a shopper is happy with their custom kicks, the order is placed and sent to be manufactured.
The updated sneaker style incorporates ECONYL®, a fibre 100 per cent regenerated from fishing nets and other nylon waste and post-consumer recycled polyester. It takes about two months to receive the specially designed 6R3ENE sneakers. Worth the wait when they’re being made by skilled artisans using premium materials that are good for the environment.
The new store is a celebration of New York’s thriving downtown community and a forward-thinking take on 21st-century retail spaces. As physical retail around the world undergoes major changes, brands of all sizes are reconsidering what bricks-and-mortar means to them and how they’ll take their brand from web2 to web3.
A new era of digital experiences
Fashion is one of the first industries to embrace immersive technology and NFTs and Salvatore Ferragamo’s concept store is just the latest step. Many fashion, beauty, and challenger brands are leading the way in delivering seamless digital-first experiences. They’re blending physical and virtual environments to create highly engaging spaces that boost product discoverability and connection.
Yes, we’re still talking about NFTs – and it’s a good thing. While the cryptocurrency market is suffering yet another downturn, NFT projects continue to thrive. This signals a much deeper investment from brands adopting emerging technologies that offer more interesting consumer engagement opportunities. Look for the continued emergence of digital games, fashion, and popular culture.
In the last 18 months, brands such as Gucci, Burberry, Diesel, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Balmain, Nike, Adidas, MAC, and Guerlain have launched NFT campaigns in concert with physical retail activations or virtual experiences. Within these virtual environments, millions of people play games, dress their avatar, earn rewards and interact with real-time versions of brands they love. It’s a great way for brands to bolster their marketing efforts and establish a presence in online spaces.
Digital gets customisation back on trend
The best way to engage consumers isn’t always obvious, though. Australian retailers would be familiar with the rise and fall of Shoes of Prey. The shoe brand scaled incredibly quickly, allowing people all over the world to customise their shoes, from heel height and style to colour and pattern. It was a dream come true for some; however, the business did not last.
The co-founder of Shoes of Prey, Michael Fox, stated in an interview that the business failed because, “While our mass market customer told us they wanted to customise…what they were consciously telling us and what they subconsciously wanted…were polar opposites.”
Deciding whether to provide customisation services or not involves intricate decisions. For years, Louis Vuitton has offered a monogram service; more recently, accessories brands The Daily Edited and Mimco have also provided an option to monogram some products. We’re seeing an increase in sneaker brands such as Converse and Nike setting up customisation stations in-store for customers to switch laces and add graphic elements – and now there is Salvatore Ferragamo’s store.
It will be interesting to see whether customers really want to customise their sneakers, play with Ferragamo’s hologram experience and wait two months to receive their shoes. Is it a smart long-term play for staying top-of-mind with the customer?
Evidence says yes. A recent consumer behaviour report by IBM stated that “consumers now see digital tools as a necessary part of the shopping experience. They expect stores to be digitally enabled and for brands and retailers to support hybrid shopping journeys, which blend physical and digital channels.”
This presents a huge opportunity for physical retailers to reinvigorate the joy of shopping in real life. Brands can focus on Instagram-worthy interiors, interactive booths, and spaces for easy, convenient customisation and personalisation. They can always give people multiple reasons to come back.
Salvatore Ferragamo is riding the digital wave while maintaining a high level of service and a luxury product offering. The insights and data from the concept store will set the brand up for years to come. It’s about being nimble in retail and having flexibility to try new things that will guarantee a brand’s relevance in emerging generations.
Bravo Salvatore Ferragamo.