Retailers are continuing to build out virtual offerings as interest in the metaverse and adjacent technologies grows. PacSun has introduced PACWORLD, an interactive mall inside the Roblox video game, while Forever 21 has signed a lease agreement with Tokens.com for a piece of virtual property that the retailer will use as an NFT storefront.
PacSun first began offering digital items on Roblox in June 2021, with its bestselling items being “fantasy”-focused gear like gold wings. The launch of PACWORLD will allow the retailer to build on this success and create its own hub where it can combine fashion, technology and community. The socially-driven environment will let players be owners and operators, with the goal of making their malls as profitable and popular as possible. Players will be able to create and remove shops, upgrade the shops that do well, decorate the mall to try and attract more customers and invite their friends to visit their mall.
“Innovation and creativity are at the heart of PacSun’s brand voice, and we view our audience as the cultural pioneers of the future,” said Brie Olson, President of PacSun in a statement. “As we are catering to a fully digital generation, we recognize that Gen Z values community and accessibility more than any other generation, and we joined Roblox to further build that connectivity with our consumers. Considering that they leverage Roblox as a point of socialization, we knew that in order to further our strong emotional resonance as a brand, we needed to continue to build alongside them in the gaming world.”
PacSun isn’t the only retailer with a virtual presence in Roblox. In November 2021, Nike launched NIKELAND inside the game, creating a space where visitors can participate in games such as tag, the floor is lava and dodgeball with their friends. NIKELAND also has tools that let players design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials, as well as a digital showroom where players can purchase special Nike products for their avatars.
Additionally, the Roblox venture isn’t PacSun’s only digital initiative. The retailer also is involved with social media activations, strategic campaigns and plans to make NFTs and VR major focuses in the coming years. PacSun first entered the NFT space with the launch of the PacSun Wave NFT in November 2021, followed by the Pac Mall Rats series in January 2022 and the second drop of Pac Mall Rats in March 2022. PacSun also will debut its first-ever video game, “PacSun the Game,” alongside a relaunched PacSun App in spring/summer 2022.
Forever 21’s metaverse storefront opened during the 2022 Metaverse Fashion Week, March 24-27. The dynamic digital shop features avatars that act as Forever 21 sales team members, ambient sounds and custom fixtures. It launched with 10 Forever 21 NFT fashion items inspired by pieces that are available at Forever 21 stores.
“When Forever 21 first entered the metaverse, we were able to harness a unique opportunity to connect with a growing audience,” said Winnie Park, CEO of Forever 21 in a statement. “Being a part of the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week aligns with our mission to encourage self-expression through virtual and physical fashion. We are proud to partner with Metaverse Group as an avenue to connect our brand with a new demographic.”