June 16, 2014
A Wilmington, N.C.-based company has become the first fine jeweler to accept Bitcoin as payment both in their stores and online. REEDS Jewelers, one of the largest jewelry store chains in the U.S. with 64 locations primarily in the Southeastern U.S., said it has partnered with Coinbase to process the transactions. And, while Bitcoin adoption is not high, there is value in being a first mover in digital currency, according to Mark DeCausmeaker, director of multichannel sales at REEDS.
“General adoption level is not high and two-thirds of the ownership of Bitcoin is not even in the U.S.,” acknowledged DeCausmaeker. “But, like most tech environments, it is a passionate environment. The people that are passionate about things tend to be loyal to the people that want to do what they want. We thought it was a nice way to position our brand with this group. As a retailer concerned with fashion, it’s often difficult to find a way into an audience that is more tech driven. [Bitcoin] is a great way to expand our brand to a group of individuals that would not necessarily be exposed to it.”
And, while Bitcoin is primarily an online medium of exchange, REEDS stores are all-tablet environments, so the company easily was able to integrate its use in store. And, DeCausmeaker said, of the first four transactions using Bitcoin, three were in one of their physical stores.
“One of the things about the Bitcoin community is they want to use it in the real world. It will be interesting to see how that plays out over the longer horizon, but we generated about $1,600 in sales in the first 36 hours. There were people who said we wouldn’t have four sales in the first week. We’ve created a way for this passionate base to engage with us in the physical environment.”