Roblox, Avatars and Spending
An advantage of being on a platform like Roblox is the ability to create virtual items that can be worn or used by an avatar. Each user creates a digital identity, and has the ability to keep the same avatar across Roblox. When users sign up, they personalise their avatars by selecting a body type, clothing and "gear" which may include weapons, musical instruments or skateboards.
While signing up is free, along with most of the platform's experiences, users can also use real-world currency to purchase Robux, the platform's digital currency. Robux is the way people within the universe can purchase experiences and items for their avatar.
That means if a retailer sells a digital hat with a logo, let's say, the user will be able to wear the hat while visiting different experiences on the platform, and thereby show off the brand. Just like in real life where people can sport labels and perhaps be influencers, avatars can show up wearing items that are valuable within the digital world.
"You're becoming an ambassador for a brand," Ben-Shabat said. "Your avatar can go between different games, and show up as a representative of Gucci, for example," she said, noting that, "right now everyone wants to be an influencer."
Avatars wearing brands from space to space has big potential, according to Biedermeier. Because, if the metaverse evolves in ways that are being forecast, avatars don't have to stay within one world - they can potentially jump from platform to platform. "That's one of the huge values to brands," he said.
Additionally, virtual items can translate to real-world money. Last May, Gucci offered a limited-time, digital version of its Dionysus Bag with Bee through its Gucci Garden exhibition. The bag sold for around $6, but when people started flipping the product its price went up. One user paid around $4,115 for the digital purse, while the actual, real-life version of the bag sold for $3,400, according to reports.
So while brands are creating hype and brand awareness on the platform they could potentially be accelerating sales. And those digital purchases come with high margins because, as Niedermeier states, there's "no holding costs. There's no manufacturing costs. There's no distribution costs."