Roblox will be one of the metaverses, says metaverse consultant Cathy Hackl, who advises luxury brands as CEO at tech consultancy Futures Intelligence Group. “It offers a very strong glimpse of the bigger metaverse as an idea. I don’t think it’s the sole metaverse, but it is one of the leading platforms.”
Hackl works with several fashion brands, and many are considering Roblox, which she says allows luxury fashion to test the waters without having to create a new game or app. Brands have also worked with games such as Animal Crossing and virtual worlds including Zepeto.
Opportunities in the metaverse unlock access to and a relevance among younger customers, let brands test new designs including some that wouldn’t be possible in the real world and introduce a new revenue stream. Jumping in also comes with risks of alienating endemic users or missing the mark on what will sell, Wootton cautions. “Just because you are a popular brand and you have massive intellectual property, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to translate,” she says. “You have to really understand the community and take time to learn what’s already going on in the metaverse.”
Co-creation is key
Gucci’s May experiment in the world of Roblox demonstrated how virtual value translates to the real world. For two weeks, the brand sold limited-edition digital Gucci clothing and accessories for between approximately $1.50 and $11.25 in equivalent Robux. One bag, originally sold for about $5.50 on Roblox, resold for more than $4,000. People who purchased Gucci items within Roblox also wear them five hours longer throughout Roblox experiences than they wear other accessories, according to insight shared with Vogue Business.
Prior to the Gucci Garden, the brand experimented on Roblox with three outfits in October 2020 and created virtual goods for a December gift campaign. As Gucci EVP of brand and customer engagement Robert Triefus told Vogue Business, a willingness to test and learn is “fundamental”.
Working with designers familiar with the metaverse can also help brands translate items for the virtual world. Gucci created items in partnership with designers cSapphire and Rook Vanguard, who are Roblox creators who already have a popular following. Stella McCartney, meanwhile, partnered with community creator Samuel Jordan, who goes by “Builder Boy” on its virtual collection. Top-selling items were a tote bag, heart-shaped sunglasses and a puffer. “I would highly recommend that brands study the collaborative and community aspects of the metaverse,” says Vanguard, who is part of Roblox’s official creator programme. “There is incredible potential to create long-lasting impressions on users.”