A large jewelery chain in the United States has announced that it is now taking bitcoin as a form of payment.
REEDS Jewelers is headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina. It has 64 retail locations in the eastern US as well as an online presence.
The retailer, which has been in business since 1946, tapped Coinbase to serve as its payment processor and is allowing its customers to pay using bitcoin both in-person and online.
Mitch Cahn, marketing director for REEDS, told CoinDesk that his company’s decision to accept bitcoin is all about embracing the growing community surrounding digital currencies, saying:
“There are a lot of people out there that have bitcoin. And they are looking for ways to convert it into other things. We want to be able to provide that as a service.”
Cahn says that although the jewelry business is relatively traditional in nature, REEDS is trying to keep up with new digital trends.
“We’re a very old industry. Us as a company in particular, we’re not bleeding-edge. But we’ve tried to stay pretty current,” he said.
The jeweler was one of the first to have a website, which it first established in 1998. Since then, online sales have become a big part of its business. Because of this, each physical location has at least three iPads that link to a system with online access to REEDS’ entire inventory.
Moves by large companies like Overstock to accept bitcoin made the integration a strategic one for REEDS. With tablets already in place, software configuration was pretty easy for the company to begin accepting BTC compared to older point-of-sale systems.
According to Cahn:
“We see a trend, obviously we’re not the only retailer to do this by far. It’s not extremely difficult to implement. It wasn’t a huge undertaking.”
Opportunity for investors
Precious gold and diamonds, according to Cahn, can be considered “semi-commodities”. REEDS believes bitcoin investors may be interested in diversifying, purchasing gold and diamonds with digital currency.
Another aspect of the business is that many jewelers such as REEDS also buy precious metals and other valuables.
Cahn says that after the 2008 global economic crisis,” gold buying and diamond buying became a big part of the jewelry industry. [And] we always do trade-ins and repairs. It’s been a big part of our business.”
When asked if REEDS pay out in bitcoin for trade-ins from its customers, Cahn replied that such a service is not on the immediate horizon, saying:
“We’re pretty progressive, but I don’t have answer for you on that. I’ll never say no to anything because you never know, but as of right now that’s not in the forecast.”
The company is not planning to hold onto bitcoin right now, using Coinbase to turn BTC proceeds into dollars.
“For what it’s worth, we’re not holding on to the bitcoin. We are converting [it to fiat],” said Cahn.
Jewelry ring image via Shutterstock