Forever 21's metaverse venture lets Roblox users customize virtual fashion stores

2021/12/22 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • Forever 21, the retailer owned by Authentic Brands Group, is hopping on the Roblox bandwagon with an exclusive partnership with the gaming platform, per a press release. It entails the Forever 21 Shop City, wherein users and fashion influencers own and manage stores as they try to become the "top shop."

  • Users start with a ready-to-be-customized glass store and can earn points to expand their store and add options like customized exteriors with lights and architectural themes. Forever 21 Shop City features four themed districts — entertainment, obstacle course, food court and yellow carpet — where users can role play, meet up with friends, discover hidden rare items and build their community.

  • The retailer hopes to engage the popular platform's players through gamifying fashion retailing and by encouraging them to express their individuality with "unprecedented customization options," per the release. Virtual Brand Group, a metaverse creation company, is also part of the effort.

Dive Insight:

Forever 21 Shop City arrives as a widening array of consumer products become available in the metaverse, like burritos, sneakers and cars, reflecting efforts by big brands to try to bridge digital and real-world strategies and engage young consumers who are familiar with gaming and are often averse to traditional advertising tactics.

As Forever 21 releases new collections in its physical and e-commerce stores, Forever 21 Shop City will simultaneously offer the ability to add the same merchandise to each store or buy it for one's Roblox avatar, reflecting how shoppers increasingly jump between physical and digital realms in the journey to making a purchase. Dec. 21 will mark the first Forever 21 Day, a monthly promotion introducing new content and activities.

The fast fashion retailer is focused on leveraging Roblox to build community by launching with some of the platform's biggest fashion-forward content creators and influencers, per the release. Sam Jordan (@Builder_Boy) curated the Forever 21 Shop City fashion line in partnership with @Beeism, @OceanOrbsRBX, and @JazzyX3, who have all created exclusive items for Forever 21 Shop City and collectively had millions of sales on the platform. In addition, Forever 21 Shop City will feature personally designed stores by influencers such as KrystinPlays, Shaylo and the Sopo Squad.

Users will run their store with real-life functionality including stocking inventory, working different jobs, assisting customers, operating the cash register, hiring employees and decorating their stores. Features of the game include the ability of shop builders to choose and swap their locations anywhere in-game.

"With Forever 21 Shop City, our goal is to expand how we engage with customers, extending our presence and product in new ways," Katrina Glusac, chief merchandising officer at Forever 21, said in a statement.

The retailer's presence on Roblox follows similar strategies employed by such blue-chip marketers as Nike and Chipotle. Last month, Nike launched Nikeland, an interactive space inside of the Roblox gaming platform representing the athletic apparel marketer's biggest bet on the metaverse.

Vans and Hyundai are among the other companies experimenting with promotions on Roblox. A recent Vans World activation that carries similarities with Nikeland, like online games and virtual try-ons, drew over 40 million visits, executives stated.

(Source: RetailDive Forever 21's metaverse venture lets Roblox users customize virtual fashion stores | Retail Dive)