The Japanese media descended on Marui department store this morning, to see the country’s latest bitcoin payments launch. But this time was different. Marui is one of Japan’s largest and more established retailers, and its main focus is women’s fashion — i.e., not your typical bitcoin-using market.
Marui and bitFlyer Want More Female Bitcoin Users
Similar to electronics giant Bic Camera before it, Marui has partnered with local exchange bitFlyer for a one-store trial for two months. However Bic Camera was reportedly impressed with the results and are extending bitcoin payments nationwide.
A department store with a predominantly female customer base represents a new direction, though.
“The female (bitcoin) user ratio was below five percent a year ago, but it’s now around 20 percent,” bitFlyer CFO Midori Kanemitsu told Bitsonline.
“More and more women are using bitcoin. We’re not planning any promotion only for women — but bitcoin payment at Marui is a kind-of promotion for girls.”
Bitcoin Trial Conditions
Marui will use the same browser-based point-of-sale software on tablets and smartphones at registers. However this time shoppers must pay using the official bitFlyer wallet. The company is giving away ¥3,000 JPY ($27 USD) in BTC to ten customers in a lottery each month.
Customers can make single purchases of up to ¥100,000 ($903) in BTC. The trial is running only at the Shinjuku Annex store, until 31st October.
Kanemitsu said bitFlyer approached Marui to offer a bitcoin trial, after hearing the department store was eager to try new payment methods like Apple Pay and Origami.
Today’s launch event drew plenty of interest from the local mainstream media. Press and TV crews filled the swimwear section to ask questions and try the POS software. Many appeared fascinated by their first time using a phone camera to scan QR codes and pay.
You can see more images from the press event today in our gallery below.
Will bitcoin become an everyday consumer payment option? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Jon Southurst