Shopify is leaning into NFTs as the future of e-commerce.
The online shopping giant, which allows small businesses to create custom e-commerce shops, is launching NFT-gated storefronts as a new feature for brands looking to make their stores more exclusive, Shopify announced Wednesday.
“Invite your community into a world that recognizes and rewards loyalty,” a narrator says in Shopify’s announcement video, which features a skateboarding woman who goes through a pastel portal and turns into a Doodles NFT.
“Token holders connect a crypto wallet to unlock exclusive shopping experiences, from early access to drops and limited collections to one-of-a-kind experiences and other surprises,” the video explains.
Shopify’s “gm” shop (gated merch, and a pun on the Crypto Twitter acronym for “good morning”) is currently in beta, and only those with existing NFT collections are eligible to apply for early access.
Those not yet approved are still able to add an NFT token-gating app like Shopthru or Single to their Shopify storefronts, though.
As a part of its token-gated shop launch, Shopify revealed it’s already partnered with the Adam Bomb Squad, Doodles, World of Women, Invisible Friends, Superplastic, Stapleverse, and Cool Cats NFT collections to create token-gated storefronts.
In addition to online token-gating, Shopify is adding “IRL” token-gating at brick-and-mortar stores, meaning that only eligible NFT holders can purchase select merch at that physical location.
Why does this matter? For one, it means that the future of Web3 shopping is about exclusivity. And while NFTs often are oversimplified as digital art, or “jpgs,” these unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership over an asset are increasingly being used as membership passes, tickets to events, and “keys” that unlock perks.
And this isn’t Shopify’s first foray into NFTs: The company has been into Web3 for a while now, as it announced the rollout of NFT sales through its platform last year. On Shopify, brands can mint and sell NFTs to customers on Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, or Flow.