Fashion Gamification: Should more retailers be on Roblox?
The platform is used by millions of tweens daily. And ignoring it may cost brands loyalty, revenue and a future audience.
If you haven't heard of Roblox, ask your 10-year-old to explain it. Because while most of the adult population may still be struggling with the concept of the metaverse, chances are the tween in your life is already in it. Launched in 2004, founders David Baszucki and Erik Cassel wanted Roblox to user in "a new category of human interaction."
The company built out three major arms: Robloc Client, the application that allows users to explore 3D worlds, Roblox Studio, which allows developers and creators to build, publish and operate those 3D experiences, and Roblox Cloud, which includes the services and infrastructure that powers the platform. Users create a unique avatar that is able to go across experiences, like games and events. The result is a digital space where people can play, learn and communicate in a world that is user-generated. And it is gaining steam.
Roblox as a marketing tool
Take Forever 21, which joined the platform in December. The retailer, which is owned by Authentic Brands Group, created "Forever 21 Shop City," where users can manage a digital store and compete to become the top shop. Participants customise the look of their store and complete tasks like stocking inventory, operating the cash register, hiring employees and assisting customers.
The fast fashion retailer's objective is to gamify fashion and encourage players to express their individuality by running, and customising, their digital spaces. Products can be purchased for users' avatars with monthly "metamerch" drops - namely, apparel, makeup and accessories.
However, some products can be purchased in real life. A page on the retailer's website dedicated to the partnership currently includes a quilted zip-up puffer vest, a colour block shoulder bag, a cable knit sweater dress, and high-rise jeans, among other items. The ability to purchase both digital and physical clothing creates different touchpoint for customers, and has the potential to be an additional revenue stream as well as a means to build brand recognition.
Retailers joining Roblox is a sound strategy to increase brand awareness and sales, according to Jenn Szekely, managing partner at Coley Porter Bell. "As a person with two children under the age of 13, I can tell you firsthand the amount of requests I get from them to purchase things from their visibility to brands and products in their online entertainment usage."
Szekely said that brands entering into the world of Roblox is a great long-term strategy that should be considered. "By getting to these younger audiences early, they are building affinity to brands they most likely would not be aware of yet," she said in emailed comments, adding that a presence on the platform demonstrates to existing audiences that a brand is "on the pulse of immersive technologies."