Balenciaga, Hugo Boss bank on Web3 to boost customer loyalty

    Balenciaga launches NFC-connected merch; Hugo Boss introduces a new Web3-powered loyalty program; and Adidas taps the Apple Vision Pro at its Seoul store.
    Balenciaga has launched a new mini-game to boost customer experience. Image: LinkedIn

    Hot on the heels of Blackpink’s digital collectibles drop, the Web3-powered entertainment industry is gradually regaining momentum. This week, Balenciaga launched another NFC-connected merch collection, this time in collaboration with music artist BFRND.

    The collection marks the next NFC-infused project to arrive from Balenciaga’s Music subsidiary and also introduces a new gamified experience. But has the concept got legs?

    In other news this week, the Aura Blockchain Consortium has hit a milestone of onboarding 40 million products onto the blockchain — a watershed moment for the technology and its rocky past — while Hugo Boss has unveiled a Web3-powered loyalty program to improve the customer experience.

    A snapshot of Balenciaga’s new mini-game. Image: Balenciaga
    A snapshot of Balenciaga’s new mini-game. Image: Balenciaga

    Balenciaga drops new NFC-connected merch and game#

    What happened: Balenciaga’s music division has launched its latest NFC-connected merch collection in partnership with musician BFRND. The French music artist, who is the composer behind all of Balenciaga’s shows since 2017 and a regular campaign fixture, curated a new playlist for the drop, which owners can listen to by scanning the chip on the garments.

    Unlike Balenciaga Music’s previous tech-connected releases, the department also incorporated a new mini-game into the project. Players can navigate their way through the brand’s iconic show sets, including the theater from its most recent Spring 2024 collection. The game is accessible via a dedicated site, WeChat, or on a touchscreen in select Balenciaga stores.

    The verdict: Balenciaga’s latest move in Web3 signifies a new chapter for luxury and gaming. While brands such as Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger have capitalized on the cultural cachet of platforms like Roblox and Minecraft to do the heavy lifting, a number of players are choosing to go solo, kicking off a new trend of exclusive mini-games in luxury.

    Louis Vuitton, for example, launched its own mini-game last year to coincide with its Yayoi Kusama collaboration, while Chanel released its “Chance The Game” app in April. Meanwhile, Balenciaga’s take on the trend has already got tech proponents and the fashion circuit talking.

    Hugo Boss has launched a new Web3-powered loyalty program. Image: Hugo Boss
    Hugo Boss has launched a new Web3-powered loyalty program. Image: Hugo Boss

    Hugo Boss unveils Web3 loyalty program#

    What happened: Hugo Boss has announced the release of its new customer loyalty program, promising its members “a new world of engagement.” Coined Hugo Boss XP, the new community platform will enable audiences to collect and redeem NFTs that unlock exclusive products, unique brand experiences, and additional offers.

    The program is slated for an initial launch next month and marks the next chapter in the brand’s “ambitious multiyear roadmap.”

    The verdict: Hugo Boss’ omnichannel approach to Web3 is pushing the brand ahead of once-untouchable competitors in the space. The first half of the year saw the brand go all in on its tech-driven playbook, combining holograms, gaming collaborations, and metaverse activations.

    Its new Web3-powered loyalty program is Hugo Boss’s next step in prioritizing meaningful engagement for its audience, which can translate into sales further down the line — efforts that suggest that the label is in the digital space for the long run, not just for a quick win.

    Meta Bites#

    The Aura Blockchain Consortium announced this week that it had onboarded a total of over 40 million products onto its private blockchain. The news marks a major milestone in blockchain technology, which is still grappling with its errant past. The Aura Blockchain Consortium has now assisted 40 member brands, including Tod’s, Loro Piana, Prada, and Maison Margiela, with bringing their products to the blockchain.

    Stepn, the crypto-powered move-to-earn app that announced a long-term, strategic partnership alongside Adidas last month, has launched a new social lifestyle app and gaming token. The Stepn Go app rewards users’ daily movement and social interactions with a new GO Gaming Token (GGT), which they can earn by walking, jogging, and running with digital NFT sneakers. To date, Stepn boasts 5.6 million registered users and over 1 million NFT sneakers owned by players.

    Adidas recently hosted an exclusive Vision Pro pop-up experience at its Seoul store. The brand invited customers to try out the headset to explore its products in AR, transforming its physical space into a virtual environment complete with digital sneakers, immersive activations, and a digital deep dive into the label’s historic legacy.

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