The metaverse is becoming a testing ground for new products. The American fashion brand Forever 21 just announced it will taking digital clothing it first tested in the Roblox metaverse and bringing them to physical stores.
A year ago, the brand opened a shop in the gaming metaverse Roblox and began selling digital wearables to outfit people’s avatars. Its most successful product is a digital black beanie that it didn’t offer in the real world. The beanie is priced at about 70 cents, and the brand is on track to sell over 1.5 million this year — making it one of Forever 21’s the top performing items of all time.
Now, that beanie — and other products that were first tested digitally — will be available in-real-life at physical locations throughout the U.S.
Jacob Hawkins, a chief marketing officer at Forever 21, said that testing products digitally is much cheaper than in stores. In fact, according to the chief executive officer of Virtual Brand Group — the Web3 company that built Forever 21’s metaverse — the digital beanie cost less than $500 to make.
Besides the price, testing digital products in the metaverse before manufacturing them allows companies to avoid months of work that go into creating a physical product. Digital products, on the other hand, can be created in days.
Forever 21 exited bankruptcy in 2020 when it was acquired by Simon Property Group, Authentic Brands, and Brookfield Property Partners. Now the brand appears to be finding news ways to use Web3 technology to expand its audience. It is also planning a real-life version of a “digital-first prom collection” scheduled to be dropped in early 2023.
Roblox Continues to Have a Big Year
Forever 21 isn’t the only company that’s used Roblox this year to sell digital products. Despite the downturn in the crypto and NFT markets, Roblox continues to lure big name brands and companies into its popular gaming metaverse. Here are some of our most recent stories about Roblox.
First, Chipotle Mexican Grill became the first restaurant chain to debut a new menu item in the metaverse. The California-based chain launched the Garlic Guajillo Steak through its Chipotle Grill Simulator experience in Roblox, and the new item was also available at real-life restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.
Next, on September 26th, Walmart debuted two gaming experiences on Roblox. “Walmart Land“ had an obstacle course featuring items from beauty brands, and another experience included a virtual concert called “Electric Fest.” The American retail giant views Roblox as a testing ground before it makes its next move in Web3.
Lastly, FIFA, the world’s governing body for soccer, partnered with Roblox to create a virtual experience for the World Cup in Qatar. FIFA’s metaverse experience includes challenges, skill-based games, and video content from the FIFA+ archives.
The idea to use Roblox to test products before releasing them in the real world adds even more utility to the metaverse. We’ll have to wait to see if the black beanie and other products that were first designed and sold digitally will be popular in-real-life. If they are, we expect Forever21 and other brands to continue testing products in virtual worlds.