WOMEN’S WEAR DAILY
Fashion to Fintech, OnApproval Makes Shopping Less Cryptic
Designer Alvin Valley, HauteLook cofounder and the inventor of Internet customer service create OnApproval, to pay with cryptocurrency
BY KALEY ROSHITSH
(Alvin Valley photo by Jason Leavy)
JANUARY 25, 2019
NEW YORK, United States — From fashion to fintech, American fashion designer Alvin Valley partners with HauteLook cofounder Carlota Espinosa and Oracle-acquired InstantService.com founder Damion Hankejh to integrate OnApproval — the “first luxury payment service system” with Uphold in early January.
Having launched in 2015, Uphold serves more than 184 countries to deliver 30-plus currency types including traditional forms and cryptocurrency. Since its launch, it has powered more than $4 billion in U.S. transactions while offering “frictionless foreign exchange for merchants and members around the world.”
The partnership anticipates the formal launch of OnApproval, and it allows its members to “pull goods before paying — providing an in-store shopping experience at home” — by partnering as the alpha merchant with Uphold, the “Internet bank of money,” to onboard 1 million OnApproval members.
According to Hankejh, e-commerce is “ripe for remodeling.” In a separate interview with WWD, Espinosa offered that OnApproval “drives loyalty by reducing payment friction and eliminating the “shopping cart” paradigm, triggering in-store behavior in the home wrapped in personalized customer experience.”
Sometimes noted as the “king of pants” for his extensive design reign in the product category, Valley is in good company with his fellow cofounders of OnApproval. Espinosa is cofounder and vice president of the Nordstrom-acquired HauteLook and Hankejh is a Smithsonian Laureate chief technology officer and is credited with inventing Internet customer service in 1996.
The custom integration between OnApproval and Uphold “allows luxury merchants to be paid immediately in the fiat currency of their choice in crypto payments, uniquely sidestepping the market volatility of crypto transactions, which can take hours to complete,” Hankejh said in a statement.
As Valley stated, the luxury experience constitutes currency choice and is free of payment friction. He envisioned his members having a purely emotional experience, as a celebrity would entertain, without the hassle of a transaction. OnApproval “puts inventory to work online and in-store” and aims to “grow transaction revenue,” reduce cart abandonment and “eliminate return transaction fees for merchants by replacing the shopping cart paradigm.”
Describing her expertise in the area of cart abandonment, Espinosa added; “Luxury retailers have a pernicious shopping cart abandonment problem, with more than 70 percent of carts abandoned online. Among the 30 percent who purchase luxury goods, 40 percent of them are returned.”
Next steps for OnApproval include a formal launch at the close of a private funding round by the cofounders. The funding will be directed toward “aggressively pursuing membership growth” and meeting merchant demand.
Connecting the transaction between luxury merchant and shopper may not be as cryptic as once believed.