How 7 Brands Are Engaging Gen Zers with Roblox Experiences

Gaming platforms in the metaverse have become an essential part of younger generations’ daily digital lives as they offer a highly interactive way to connect and socialize virtually, with a heightened focus on personalization. Roblox is one of the largest metaverse platforms at 65.5 million active users daily spending an average of 2.6 hours on the platform, with over half of the Roblox community in Gen Alpha, younger than age 13

The online gaming and open game creation system allows anyone to create and play games. Users of the platform represent themselves as one of two types of avatar styles that Roblox supports. The accessories that Roblox avatars can wear are highly customizable, with an entire Roblox marketplace where people can buy and sell virtual avatar goods with the in-game currency called Robux; 1 in 5 Roblox users update their avatars daily.

Brands can optimize their Roblox experiences by building them with Obsess, and pairing them with a virtual store, empowering consumers to shop both physical and digital products. While the Roblox platform does not currently allow users to purchase physical items in the virtual experience, Obsess-powered virtual stores do via e-commerce integration. Creating a virtual experience that is accessible across platforms extends the reach of a single activation and speaks to different audience groups wherever they are. While Roblox has built-in reach amongst the youngest generation, Obsess enables brands to speak to a broader audience of shoppers in a highly branded, elevated format.

The number of brands and retailers creating experiences and selling virtual goods on Roblox is growing fast, gaining attention from high-profile multinational brands looking to reach its highly-engaged, youthful audience. In Q2 of 2023, users spent an average of $11.92 a day on the platform. The gaming platform reported $2.2 billion in annual revenue in 2022, up 16% from 2021. Roblox monetizes experiences by allowing brands and creators to sell digital items in their in-game stores or on its avatar marketplace in return for its virtual currency, which users can purchase using real-world money. 

Here are some experiences that brands have already created on Roblox:

1. The Ralph Lauren Winter Escape

Ralph Lauren ventured into Roblox with a limited-term experience called “The Ralph Lauren Winter Escape” that offered a digital collection of gender-neutral clothing. Avatars could wear up to eight sportswear looks and select items from the current collections. Ralph Lauren’s Roblox experience had new product drops on a weekly basis, from new looks to limited-edition accessories and surprise bonus items. Christina Wooton, Roblox’s Vice President for Global Partnerships, commented, “This new digital experience is meant to further express Ralph Lauren’s focus on digital innovation, following its virtual store experience [by Obsess] that debuted in 2020 allowing you to shop via AR.”

2. Crocs World: Tycoon

Crocs World: Tycoon on Roblox allows players to harness the power of imagination and personalization in a park revolving around the iconic footwear—with custom colors, shapes and Jibbitz charms. Players can explore the beach-themed park in a Crocs Car or via Crocs Jetpack and earn likes within the game to unlock new attractions and customization possibilities. Further leaning into personalization in their virtual endeavors, Crocs launched their Jibbitz Experience with Obsess, centered around self-expression, gamification and education. The Obsess-powered virtual experience showcases the brand’s iconic Jibbitz charms with innovative features such as the custom-built claw game and the groundbreaking 3D Jibbitz Customizer, empowering consumers to create their own unique pair of Crocs to be purchased directly in the virtual environment.

3. Nikeland

Nike created their Roblox experience as a permanent virtual space for fans to connect, create and compete, empowering users to be their own creator and design mini-games from interactive sports materials. Users can also compete in various mini-games such as tag, the floor is lava and dodgeball with their friends. Nikeland leverages accelerometers on a user’s mobile device to translate offline movement to online. Users can also get signature Nike sneakers for their avatars from the virtual shop.

4. Forever 21 Shop City

Forever 21 created their Shop City Roblox experience to facilitate social engagement, competition and collaboration with fashion-fabulous content creators and Roblox influencers. Users are able to buy and sell Forever 21 merchandise, hire non-player characters (NPCs) as employees and customize every aspect of their own stores as they compete to become the top shop. Roblox influencers curated the Shop City fashion line in partnership with the brand to create exclusive items to sell within the platform, selling millions of units.

5. Walmart Land

Walmart brought the best of their isles to life in a virtual world, with a variety of immersive experiences including a virtual store of merchandising—bringing the best fashion, style, beauty and entertainment items to the Roblox community. “We’re showing up in a big way—creating community, content, entertainment and games through the launch of Walmart Land. Roblox is one of the fastest growing and largest platforms in the metaverse, and we know our customers are spending loads of time there. So, we’re focusing on creating new and innovative experiences that excite them,” said William White, CMO of Walmart U.S.

6. Gucci Garden

The Gucci Garden Roblox experience was a pop-up styled as a series of themed-rooms where the users’ avatars transform according to a room’s colors, patterns, and special effects. Users could interact with others who were in the same room at the same time. Users could also purchase limited-edition virtual Gucci items for their avatars. One virtual item, the bee-embroidered Dionysus Bag, sold for 350,000 Robux or $4,115 more than the price of the physical bag in the virtual second-hand market where bids on the bag skyrocketed.

7. Tommy Play

Tommy Hilfiger introduced Tommy Play to Roblox as a virtual place for users to play and socialize. The virtual world includes mini-games and Tommy Coins to exchange for upgrades, special abilities and accessories—the iconic brand even created a virtual clothing collection for the Roblox platform, asking user-generated content creators from the Roblox community to reimagine their classic pieces.

Roblox provides a huge opportunity for brands to engage younger generations in the metaverse. Forward-thinking brands are setting up virtual worlds in Roblox and on their own websites, such as with virtual stores. Learn more about how Obsess can help you create your virtual world and sell products on Roblox. 

The Future of Retail: Trends in Retail Technology

In 2022, there was a lot of buzz around the metaverse as a way to create engaging and immersive shopping experiences for consumers online—combining the best of in-store with the convenience of online. 

Moving forward, retailers will continue to focus on creating exceptional experiences for their shoppers—in the metaverse, in physical retail, and on their own digital channels with new technologies paving the way to modernity and increased relevancy. Despite an uncertain economic outlook for 2023, a recent survey by Boston Consulting Group found that 60% of fashion companies plan to increase their retail tech investments in the coming year—it’s simply a matter of what those companies invest in (Business of Fashion, 2022). When faced with a recession, roughly 40% of consumers state that they will remain loyal to brands they currently shop from, decreasing the frequency of their shopping to fit their new budgets (Statista, 2023).

Emerging retail tech focuses on combining and connecting physical shopping experiences with digital, and producing a hybrid omnichannel shopping model that is increasingly gaining popularity. Customers turn to an average of nine channels to communicate with companies—78% have used multiple channels in their buyer journey to complete a purchase (Salesforce, 2022). According to a global survey conducted by IBM and NRF, 25% of consumers prefer to shop the hybrid way as their main shopping model (NRF, January 2022). 

Through new innovations in retail technology, brands are able to mimic various facets of in-person shopping online, and ensure a frictionless transition between digital and physical. The virtual store interface offers plenty of features and thoughtful details to mimic the offline browsing experience, enhancing the online experience to be efficient, experiential, and personalized.

Charlotte Tilbury, founder of Charlotte Tilbury Cosmetics, echoed this sentiment: “By launching this [Obsess] virtual store, we are truly operating as an omnichannel business and offering our customers an immersive, 360-degree experience whenever and wherever they come into contact with the brand. The Obsess platform has enabled us to seamlessly create a quick, easy and personalized way to shop for beauty, skincare and gifts with game-changing 3D digital innovation.”

Obsess has uncovered the top emerging retail technology trends that enable brands to upgrade their omnichannel shopping experience.

Making VR/AR Accessible to the Average Consumer

A popular trend in retail technology is the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). VR/AR allows brands to offer an element of immersiveness on their own sites and elevate interactivity with products and brands for shoppers. From virtual try-on to 3D renderings of products, customers are able to engage with a brand or product sans physically being in a brick-and-mortar.

The use of VR/AR technology in retail has quickly escalated in recent years, fueled by different iterations and use cases as the technology continues to mature. The AR in Retail market, covering segments such as apparel, furniture, grocery, and more, was projected to increase by $9.24B during the forecasted period between 2021 to 2026 with 32% of this growth originating from North America (Yahoo Finance, 2022).

VR/AR helps shoppers get a more accurate understanding of a product prior to purchasing—from 3D product visualization, to detailed information about products in contextual environments. Allowing consumers to visualize how products look, feel, and fit prior to purchasing, decreases online return rates and overall customer dissatisfaction. 

Obsess blurs the line between digital and physical by enabling brands and retailers to digitize their existing retail stores or create fantastical, discovery-driven, shoppable virtual environments that resemble the offline shopping experience using VR/AR technology. Obsess enables brands and retailers to create virtual stores with a multitude of innovative features that make their virtual stores more engaging and immersive such as photo filters, virtual try-on, gamification, Branded Avatars, and more. 

Doubling Down on Loyalty Efforts

Brands must establish efficient touchpoints with potential customers online and offline to gain their attention, business, and loyalty. They must also ensure that the transition between digital and physical is seamless. 71% of shoppers have switched brands at least once in the past year, with consumers citing better deals, product quality, and customer service as their top three reasons for exploring competing brands (Salesforce, 2022). According to Twilio, 38% of shoppers say they will shop with a brand again if they’ve had a good experience, even if there are cheaper or more convenient options (Twilio, 2022). 

Brands and retailers have turned to social technologies in order to strengthen consumer connections, build trust, and provide meaningful customer service. Technology such as chatbots enable brands to provide tips and assist shoppers online, just like a sales associate would in store; shoppers can interact and converse with the bot, asking questions before making a purchase. 94% of customers say an excellent customer service experience makes them more likely to purchase again (Salesforce, 2022). 

Virtual stores provide brands with an opportunity to not only showcase their products but also the various services that were previously only available in-person. With the Obsess virtual store platform, brands can implement innovative features that improve customer loyalty. In addition to the ability to integrate live chatbots with experts into virtual stores, brands and retailers are also able to improve customer service by offering their shoppers one-on-one consultations via video chat, and curated recommendations through quizzes and gift guides. Brands and retailers can increase brand engagements and retention through our core virtual customer service features. 

Using First-Party Data to Increase Personalization

The future of shopping will be increasingly personalized. Today’s consumers expect companies to be able to understand and anticipate their unique shopping needs. Personalization strengthens your brand’s connection to your shoppers. When brands do not embrace personalization, they become more vulnerable to failure against competition—particularly, during questionable economic periods. 62% of consumers are ready to explore other options and rescind their loyalty if a brand delivers un-personalized experiences (Twilio, 2022). 

A great shopping experience means your customers are more likely to buy more, be more loyal, and refer you to their friends and family. 88% of consumers claim that a company’s ability to provide a personalized experience is as important as its product or service (Salesforce, 2022). Consumers spend 34% more on average when their experience is personalized (Twilio, 2022). 

A critical element of personalization is data—high-quality and real-time data—and the ability to derive consumer insights while respecting consumer’s privacy. 40% of companies find obtaining accurate customer data to be a challenge. Traditionally, companies would gather customer data through third-parties. However, with regulatory changes regarding privacy and shifts away from “cookies” by tech giants, companies are turning to first-party data. Business leaders are investing in technology to better manage customer data—37% of brands claim to exclusively use first-party data in their personalization strategies (Twilio, 2022).

Virtual stores are new first-party channels that allow brands to collect a vast set of valuable customer behavioral and demographic insights. With the Obsess virtual store platform, brands are able to evaluate how shoppers move through their virtual spaces and make optimizations in real time. Brands gain a deep understanding into product and content interactions, and can make informed decisions based on consumer behaviors, to create a store that’s more tailored to their audience. Information on shopping behavior can be used to create highly personalized experiences inside and outside of virtual stores. 


The modern consumer places experience above all else, and expects a seamless experience on all channels and in various stages of the buyer journey. New hybrid functionality has exponentially increased during the past few years, offering solutions that streamline services—increasing shopper convenience and flexibility. 

Moving into 2023 and beyond, brands will continue to invest in immersive technologies that provide enhanced online shopping experiences for their shoppers, incorporating elements found in in-person shopping plus online gaming and VR/AR. 

Obsess virtual stores are immersive shopping experiences that incorporate multi-sensory inputs, such as music and aesthetics, into their designs. Virtual stores integrate with brands’ existing e-commerce sites for accurate pricing and live inventory availability. Through the strategic implementation of innovative features, brands and retailers are able to bring in various elements of in-person shopping, such as visual merchandising and curated service, to elevate their online experiences. To learn how the Obsess virtual store platform can enable your brand to create immersive and engaging virtual shopping experiences that build brand engagements and long-term loyalty, email us at


Bain, M. (December 2022). How to Invest in Technology During a Recession. Business of Fashion.

Faria, J. (January 2023). Consumers’ perception on brand loyalty in the face of a recession in the United States as of August 2022. Statista.

NRF (December 2022). 2022 Retail Returns Rate Remains Flat at $816 Billion.

NRF (January 2022). Consumers want it all.

Salesforce (May 2022). Fifth Edition State of the Connected Customer.

Segment (June 2022). The State of Personalization. Twilio.

Yahoo Finance (December 2022). Augmented reality market size to increase by USD 157.21 billion: 37% growth to originate from North America.

Introducing: Branded Avatars, A First-Of-Its-Kind Custom Avatar Technology by Obsess

Introducing: Branded Avatars, the latest in retail innovation from Obsess.

Our latest technology enables brands to bring the metaverse directly to their  websites—complete with walking, talking 3D avatars. Build your own immersive virtual world for shoppers to navigate, shop around, and socialize through the eyes of their own customizable characters. 

Branded Avatars technology enables brands to customize the look-and-feel and character style of the shopper avatars in their virtual stores. Within your brand’s styling parameters, your shoppers will then be able to further personalize their branded avatars via body shape, skin tone, hair style/color, facial features, outfits, and makeup looks. This technology is the first time shoppers have the ability to customize their own avatars in a fully branded, browser-based virtual store environment.

Global beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury has already adopted the new Obsess Branded Avatars technology in their virtual Magic Gifting Universe. The brand wanted a set of runway-ready avatars that mirrored their campaign ambassadors: Jourdan Dunn, Kate Moss, Lily James, and Twiggy. With the Branded Avatars feature, Charlotte Tilbury customers are able to outfit their avatars in full-glam makeup looks inspired by the brand’s IRL iconic ambassadors. 

This innovative new functionality further personalizes the Charlotte Tilbury virtual store experience and deepens customer relationships with the brand.

Shoppers can explore your virtual store and navigate via their avatars in real-time—just like a traditional video game. To explore a new area within the 3D real-time environment, shoppers can use a joystick on mobile or their keyboard on desktop to make their avatars move; the avatar will then walk in their desired direction. 

Through their personalized avatars, shoppers can interact with the 3D environment and each other. A new avatar-centric iteration of the Obsess Shop with Friends feature allows customers to converse, shop, and attend events along their friends’ avatars—replicating the IRL group shopping experience online. With Branded Avatars, all Shop With Friends communications are done through the avatars themselves, making the experience feel more realistic, gamified, and elevated. 

Obsess created Branded Avatars to make consumer shopping more engaging, more social, and more in line with consumer expectations for gamified environments. Branded Avatars take virtual stores to a new dimension by incorporating more personalization and connectivity. 3D Branded Avatars enables brands to bring the metaverse directly to their websites, and makes the virtual shopping experience mirror IRL shopping more closely than ever before.

See the feature in action here

Interested in learning more? Email us at to chat with our team about Branded Avatars and how you can incorporate the new feature into your e-commerce website.  

How to Use Virtual Stores to Drive Holiday Shopping

It’s not surprising that holiday sales account for a significant amount of retailers’ sales. In fact, holiday shopping can account for as much as 30% of a U.S. retailer’s annual sales. Despite concerns around inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues, sales for the 2021 holiday season in the U.S. increased by 14.1% from the previous year, breaking a new record at $886.7 billion

Brands are continually searching for engaging and entertaining campaigns to capitalize on holiday sales pushes. A 3D virtual store offers a new experiential shopping format and serves as a viable sales channel. With a virtual experience, brands can create an environment that is modeled off of their retail store, a creative concept store, or a completely fantastical location.

Key benefits of holiday virtual stores: 

  • A new and engaging virtual channel to drive sales
  • A unique, interactive, and discovery-driven shopping experience 
  • Lower production costs for CGI visuals compared to on-location shoots

Below are some examples of some retailers who have successfully created holiday virtual stores. These experiences, all powered by Obsess, incorporated unique e-commerce and content features that allow users to engage on a more immersive and enriching level than traditional e-commerce sites.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club created a holiday virtual store, providing its consumers with an immersive and discovery-driven way to shop. The store was a 3D recreation of the Griswold family house from the hit 1989 holiday movie, ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’. It allows users to browse Sam’s Club holiday essentials in a familiar and beloved setting.

When first entering the store, users will notice two ornaments on the corner of the screen that can be switched between different styles of Christmas décor. In the dining room, users can switch between a Thanksgiving table setting and a Christmas table setting. The functionality enables users to see different sets of products associated with each style and provides a personalized experience.

Users can tap on any product within the experience to shop it. They can also interact with a variety of hotspots that reveal movie trivia and sound effects. The content helps further immerse the user into the store resulting in higher engagement and conversion.


The media brand theSkimm created a cozy and magical virtual holiday shopping experience called the Holiday Village, inspired by the design of the Bryant Park holiday village in New York City and set in a virtual Bryant Park. The virtual store was part of their seasonal gift recommendation guide called “The Sleigh List” which contains the year’s hottest gifts. The Holiday Village visually represents the gifts in their list of recommendations in an immersive and engaging way.

The experience consists of seven shopping cabins that each contain different kinds of gifts such as stocking stuffers, gifts for significant others, electronics, and more. Clicking on any product shows summary information about it, and then the user can click through to the individual brand’s website to make the purchase, earning theSkimm affiliate revenue.

In addition, theSkimm was able to create a new revenue source of sponsored content, with Saks Off 5th sponsoring one of the cabins, that featured their branding and products. This experience won theSkimm an award for the Best Use of Native Advertising / Sponsored Content in Digiday’s Content Marketing Awards.

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury’s Virtual Beauty Gifting Wonderland offers a virtual holiday experience for beauty consumers and is a great example of where virtual shopping is headed. As users enter the whimsical 3D wonderland, they are immersed in stars and fairy animations and guided by a “Magic Charlotte” digital avatar. 

“My three-dimensional Virtual Beauty Gifting Wonderland is at the center of the Charlotte Tilbury metaverse this holiday season,” said Charlotte Tilbury MBE, founder, president, chairman and chief creative officer of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty. “It combines all the sparkle and retail theater of our stores with the ease and portability of the digital universe to unveil a truly immersive Charlotte Tilbury experience. Customers will be guided by my Magic Charlotte avatar to enjoy the magic of in-store from the comfort of their own home. Digital innovation is at the heart of everything we do, and I am so excited that we can bring this beauty tech to life for you to shop and play this holiday.”

Within the virtual store, customers can shop and receive personalized advice and product recommendations, join live events with Tilbury and special guests, and watch makeup and skincare tutorials. Utilizing the Obsess Shop with Friends functionality, Charlotte Tilbury customers can opt to invite friends to join them during their virtual store shopping experience by sharing a link to the virtual store via email or text. The Shop with Friends feature allows individuals in the group to see and hear one another as they navigate the virtual environment separately or together, similar to the experience of a multiplayer video game.

Salvatore Ferragamo

Italian luxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo created a holiday virtual experience called House of Gifts, set in a spectacular villa in Tuscany at dusk. Customers journey through 3D-rendered rooms in the villa such as the library, the dining room, the piano room, and the projection room, all contextually merchandised with Ferragamo products. The space is inspired by Ferragamo’s “Movie O’Clock” campaign and provides customers with an elegant digital holiday shopping experience as a unique way to engage with the brand.

Throughout the virtual store, shoppers have the opportunity to view products with detailed descriptions and add them to cart right within the store or to a holiday ‘wishlist’. The wishlist can then be shared with friends via WhatsApp or email.

The experience also features a gift suggestion quiz. Based on users’ responses, the quiz will recommend products from the store. This capability can be added to any virtual store and enables brands to collect first-party data, while further engaging shoppers to make a purchase.

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger launched a holiday virtual store with enormous candy canes, mountains of presents, twinkling stars, and furry snow-white rugs. Also included are a variety of interactive experiences to enhance user engagement such as the “All of Our Favorite Scents” game where the user can click on a scent and receive instructions for a Tommy DIY Diffuser. The “Tommy Hilfiger Hot Chocolate Bar” gives recipes for a Caramel Spice, CoolHaus’ Dirty Mint Hot Chocolate, or Fatty Sundays Mint Hot Chocolate. The “Get All Wrapped Up” section is an educational experience in which users can watch a short video on sustainable gift wrapping with activist influencer GreenGirlLeah. The Tommy Hilfiger virtual store provides consumers with holiday cheer, décor, music, and entertainment through a highly interactive virtual sales channel. 

These examples only scratch the surface of the limitless possibilities that can go into your next digital holiday experience. Virtual stores allow brands to create completely custom, immersive, and discovery-driven experiences while cutting the cost and maintenance of a physical holiday experience. They equip brands and retailers with a new competitive virtual sales channel that increases click-through rates, customer engagement, and conversions. To find out more information on how you can create your own holiday virtual experiences, click here

6 Things Gen Zers and Millennials Expect From Your E-Commerce Site

For brands, digitization is increasing at a growing rate as technology and consumer expectations continue to evolve rapidly. E-commerce technologies are allowing consumers to easily shop for their favorite products from the comfort of their homes, making online shopping the preferred way to shop. Gen Z and Millennial consumers, in particular, crave online shopping. Over 40 percent of Gen Zers purchase more than half of their clothing items online. However, this increase in time spent online has introduced a new consumer need as users are now missing the interactive, engaging experiences they once had shopping in physical stores.

Many brands have begun to capitalize on this consumer need and have employed technologies and strategies such as gamification and gaming platforms, virtual stores, live & social e-commerce, metaverse technologies, corporate social responsibility, and personalization and customization. The following 6 strategies and technologies are paving the way for brands to engage a younger audience base.

1.) Gamification and Gaming Platforms

A tactic that is increasingly gaining popularity among brands is the use of gamification and gaming platforms. While different concepts, both methods mix the idea of games with e-commerce to promote engagement and, ideally, conversion. The key difference to note between the two is that gamification is the term for when games are incorporated into e-commerce sites, whereas the use of gaming platforms is aimed at building brand awareness among the existing audience within a game.

Gamification has been shown to drive meaningful engagement for the end-user. The Club Paradise Virtual Experience, a collaboration between Crocs and rap superstar Saweetie, is a great example of gamification to enhance engagement. The Club Paradise offered a drawing to purchase a pair of Crocs bundled with Saweetie’s new Jibbitz pack. The Saweetie Jibbitz Matching Game tasked the user with matching all of Saweetie’s new Jibbitz charms in a tic-tac-toe format. The game drove high user engagement for The Club Paradise.

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Many brands are beginning to understand the value of establishing a brand presence on gaming platforms like Roblox and Fortnite. Roblox is home to 202 million monthly active users, just behind Fortnite with 350 million daily active users—each allowing users to purchase virtual clothing, accessories, or other in-game extras with real currency. While brands are creating experiences on both platforms, Roblox currently lends itself to a higher degree of customizability. Tommy Hilfiger is the latest brand to release a Roblox world. Entitled “Tommy Play”, the game allows users to explore a reimagined Brooklyn through BMX biking as they collect “Tommy Coins,” discover art and graffiti from real Brooklyn-based artists, and amass Tommy branded garments and accessories. The company plans to release monthly map and feature updates to keep users engaged all summer. Tommy has followed suit with many brands who are beginning to understand the power of establishing brand awareness among young audiences on Roblox.

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2.) Virtual Stores

With Gen Zers and Millennials making more purchases online, adding experiential elements to e-commerce is the natural next step to enhance engagement and brand loyalty. Experiential e-commerce has presented itself in a variety of ways, but one of the most notable and immersive is through Virtual Stores. Obsess has created a variety of virtual stores for retailers that have integrated their existing e-commerce sites with virtual reality 3D rendered or 360° photographed store experiences. The Metaverse Consumer Report revealed that 25% of consumers have already shopped in virtual stores, and among those that have shopped in a virtual store 70% have made a purchase. Shoppers in a younger age cohort show a higher likelihood of making a purchase from a virtual store, due to their comfort with emerging technologies.

As an example, Armani Beauty’s recently unveiled virtual store, powered by Obsess, blends elements of an in-store experience with the convenience of online shopping. Set in the UK’s Piccadilly Circus, the store is digitally rendered and packed with exclusive content. The store features hotspots that tell the Giorgio Armani story, a virtual photo booth where users can take a selfie with their device, AR try-on technology that helps users select their perfect shade, professional makeup tutorials for Armani’s product line-up comprised of 40 shades, a fragrance matching quiz, and much more.

3.) Live & Social E-Commerce

In addition to experiential e-commerce, an increasingly popular component of e-commerce is live commerce and social engagement. According to Mckinsey, “Live commerce combines instant purchasing of a featured product and audience participation through a chat function or reaction buttons.” Live commerce technologies allow users to shop while viewing a live stream from a sales associate or influencer, or while video chatting with their friends as they shop together.

Nordstrom introduced live stream shopping to its e-commerce site, allowing users to shop while viewing real-time commentary from Nordstrom employees and brand partners. The live stream shopping channel features a calendar of events filmed in different locations and focused on different clothing brands and looks. The Senior Vice President of Nordstrom believes, “Livestream Shopping enables us to stay closer to the customer with interactive and engaging experiences that allow for discovery, personalization, and service at scale.”

As another example, Charlotte Tilbury introduced an innovative feature called “Shop With Friends” developed by Obsess as part of its Pillow Talk Party virtual store. The social experience invites customers to shop with their friends and watch live beauty masterclasses together. The Obsess functionality allows users to shop with their friends within the virtual store via a live video chat, as they browse the store and its products, creating an enriching social experience. This innovation comes as a large number of retailers begin to push into the metaverse, aiming to capture the convenience of online retail with the social experience of in-store shopping.

4.) Metaverse Strategies

As the metaverse grows, users are beginning to prefer e-commerce experiences that have metaverse-like components. Many users who are already interested in gaming platforms like Roblox and Fortnite are familiar with concepts such as play-to-win and digital assets. The metaverse is adopting many of these videogame-like capabilities, and similarly, many e-commerce brands are adopting them to improve user engagement.

Louis Vuitton illustrates the usage of the play-to-win concept with its mobile game called the “Louis Game”. The game, released in 2021, is a celebration of Louis Vuitton’s bicentennial birthday and has provided added engagement for 2 million Louis Vuitton shoppers who have downloaded the game. Louis Vuitton took the game a step further when it introduced a new dimension to the game that gave users who had reached the last level access to view exclusive Louis Vuitton NFTs. In this new dimension, users then had the chance to win the NFTs via a raffle system. The game is set to come to real life in experiential form and will likely be a new channel for Louis Vuitton to sell its products in a more engaging, Gen Z- and Millennial-friendly way.

5.) Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is increasingly becoming an important factor that younger consumers weigh in deciding to shop from a brand. 

Climate change for example is a social issue that can particularly influence consumers’ buying decisions. Brands as a result are course-correcting their corporate operations around this sentiment and some are even establishing their entire corporate ethos around eco-friendliness and sustainability. While there are many avenues that brands are exploring in pursuit of greater sustainability, virtual stores are a viable solution. Virtual stores, like e-commerce sites, have little store footprint and waste associated with them. However, unlike e-commerce sites, virtual stores don’t sacrifice the experience of shopping and discovering in a store-like environment and are more immersive and engaging than traditional e-commerce shopping.

Ralph Lauren is an example of a global brand that has realized the possibilities of virtual stores. The RL Virtual Experience, powered by Obsess, is an online hub that lives on Ralph Lauren’s website, from where users can select and explore various Ralph Lauren flagship stores from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual stores are more eco-friendly for consumers as they don’t necessitate travel to a physical store location, hence creating lower carbon emissions. Virtual stores, in addition to blending experience with convenience, serve as a unique way for brands to tailor their operations to their consumer’s expectations, without sacrificing business goals.

6.) Personalization and Customization

Personalization is also quickly becoming a mainstream and expected feature in e-commerce. Messaging and content personalization can be powerful tools when persuading a potential buyer to shop one’s e-commerce site. According to Adobe, “67% of consumers think it’s important for brands to automatically adjust content based on the current context. When brands don’t adjust accordingly, 42% of consumers will “get annoyed” that content isn’t personalized.”

One type of personalization strategy in e-commerce is the use of product recommendation quizzes. These quizzes are designed to ask users questions to help them find products that they would like in-store. Fenty uses a product recommendation quiz to help consumers find their perfect shade of makeup. This quiz is especially successful because it asks users detailed questions about their skin to be able to recommend the right shade for each customer.

Another example of personalization is the Dermalogica Virtual Store’s Skin Care Quiz. As a user explores the store, they are offered a skincare quiz to discover their own perfect skincare regimen. The quick quiz provides the user with three questions to target their unique skincare routine based on skin type, age, and goals. The quiz is an initial step for the user to begin their journey to a customizable skin treatment that includes a variety of options to target their personal skin concerns. Based on the results of the quiz, the user is guided to a specific room in the virtual store, such as the Power Cleanse Room, that offers products to address their personal skin type and concerns.

As consumers continue to expect more from their e-commerce channels, brands must continue to create new strategies and adopt new technologies to keep Gen Z and Millennial consumers engaged. This becomes especially true as the world continues to become ever more digitized and the metaverse takes shape as the new generation of the internet. 

To learn more about how Obsess can help your brand leverage new e-commerce technologies and strategies, write to us at

Why Brands Are Developing Fortnite Experiences

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Fortnite is one of the world’s most popular games, with 350 million monthly active users. Fortnite Creative is the open-source mode of Fortnite where anyone can develop and publish their own islands, creative hubs, or maps to share experiences with other users. Fifty percent of Fortnite players spend their time exploring virtual worlds in Creative, either self-created or created by others. Demographically, 18 to 24-year-olds make up 63% of all players, while 25 to 34-year-olds make up 23%. The game remains predominantly male with women comprising only 28% of users worldwide. Monetization is largely based on identity—how one chooses to portray oneself via skins and avatars. The game’s popularity and higher-quality graphics lend themselves to brands who want to leverage the platform to build brand awareness. While Fortnite Creative is open to any user, many brands are working directly with Epic Games—Fortnite’s parent company—to create limited-edition branded events and digital avatar merchandise for users to enjoy exclusively through Fortnite. Currently, Fortnite requires collaboration with Epic Games to create branded skins.

1.) Balenciaga Stranger Times

One example of this collaboration was Balenciaga’s first Fortnite collection and Creative experience: “Balenciaga Stranger Times”. In the experience, a virtual Balenciaga store sits in the middle of a ‘strange’ city. Players can purchase Balenciaga skins and other items such as a virtual Balenciaga backpack, virtual Triple S Sneakers, and an Hourglass Bag Glider for their Fortnite avatar to use in the game. Players have the opportunity to engage in a competitive quest to find 40 Triple S Sneakers. Balenciaga also released a physical limited-edition collection in collaboration with Fortnite consisting of hoodies, shirts, jackets, and caps adorned with Fortnite and Balenciaga logos.

2.) Moncler Skins

Moncler also collaborated with Epic Games to produce 2 Moncler skins for Fortnite avatars: the Andre and the Renee. The skins were inspired by the 6 Moncler 1017 Alyx 9SM collection designed by Matthew Williams. The two skins are reactive to the environment and change color from white to black as a user ascends or descends in altitude. When a user runs up a mountain and reaches a higher altitude the skin changes accordingly from light to dark. Also included is a selection of accessories to complete a user’s look from the Umbra-tube Back Bling to the Para-pluie Glider.

3.) Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert

Fortnite lends itself to a variety of creative strategies with revenue potential. Many artists have used Fortnite to host live concerts as part of ‘Fortnite Live’ events and have achieved impressive results. Travis Scott’s “Astronomical” concert was one of the biggest ‘Fortnite Live’ events reaching over 27.7 million unique users and 12.3 million concurrent users. Though the concert was a free event, it grossed $20 million in sales when accounting for merchandise sales. In comparison, Travis Scott’s biggest in-person show grossed a mere $1.7 million. Brands and artists alike are capitalizing on the revenue potential of Fortnite metaverse experiences like these and can take inspiration when creating their own experiences.

4.) Fortnite X Jumpman

Nike translated its famous, exclusive sneaker drop to the gaming sphere. Nike partnered with Fortnite to release a collection of skins inspired by its iconic Air Force 1 shoe line. According to Bloomberg, skins such as these are typically priced between $13 and $18. While the brands have not disclosed how the revenue was shared, strategies like these allow huge brands like Nike to build brand awareness among a younger, Gen Z and Gen Alpha demographic of consumers that will have future spending power. Nike’s Fornite skins allow younger generations to engage with a classic shoe such as the Air Force 1.

5.) Ferrari

Brands have been able to collaborate with Fortnite in ways beyond offering branded skins to Fortnite users. Ferrari, for example, unveiled its collaboration in which users could test drive the recently released 296 GTB Ferrari supercar. Users got the chance to complete in time trials using the car as well as drive the Ferrari in Fortnite’s main “Battle Royale” game mode. While this collaboration was a bit unexpected by Fortnite’s audience, it’s an excellent example of a creative way to apply a brand to the Fortnite metaverse.

6.) TIME Magazine: March Through Time

Another unexpected brand collaboration with Fortnite was TIME’s “March Through Time” experience. In anticipation of Martin Luther King Day in January 2022, TIME worked with Fortnite to develop an interactive and educational experience commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The experience brings users through a reimagined 1963 Washington D.C. and includes educational points of interest and quests that can be completed cooperatively. Completing all the in-game quests unlocks a limited edition collectible item.

7.) Kaws and Serpentine: NEW FICTION

World-renowned contemporary artist, KAWS and art gallery Serpentine introduced a unique collaboration with Fortnite. The artist who has been known to frequently collaborate with other artists and mediums unveiled his collaboration entitled “NEW FICTION” which has simultaneously opened as an art exhibition offline in the physical Serpentine galleries. This first-of-its-kind experience blends the real world with the virtual world. The experience features paintings and sculptures on both physical and virtual channels, engaging users in a deeper and more meaningful way. This Fortnite experience marks the first time a real-world art gallery was recreated in-game.

Build Your Brand World on Fortnite

Are you considering building your own brand world on Fortnite to grow your brand value and awareness? The Obsess Metaverse Platform enables brands to serve a highly customized, branded virtual store across metaverse platforms, including Fortnite. We offer a one-stop-shop to create a virtual world that can be translated across different metaverse platforms. Learn more about how your brand can enter the metaverse and create your branded virtual world across all platforms with Obsess.

How 6 Fashion and Beauty Brands Are Leveraging NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) present valuable opportunities for brands to sell digital items in the metaverse with an emphasis on exclusivity and uniqueness. The nature of NFTs allows creators to limit digital items, declare ownership, and inhibit duplication. “NFTs seem to have exploded out of the ether and are selling like 17th-century exotic Dutch tulips–some for millions of dollars”, according to Forbes.

The definition of an NFT according to the New York Times, is “an asset verified using blockchain technology, in which a network of computers records transactions and gives buyers proof of authenticity and ownership. NFTs make digital artworks unique and therefore sellable.” At its essence, an NFT is a digital collectible. All NFTs are non-fungible, meaning each digital signature makes it impossible for NFTs to be exchanged for one another. The digital assets created or minted as NFTs can depict art, videos, collectibles, virtual avatars, fashion, or music. 

NFTs are a natural fit for fashion and retail brands as digital avatars in the metaverse will need outfits and accessories. As the value of an NFT is derived from its creator, well-established brands have a natural advantage in creating more valuable NFTs. NFTs also create a new way for brands to express their creativity and uniqueness without the production of physical goods, resulting in higher margins and improved sustainability. 

Today, the primary option brands have to sell NFTs is through open marketplaces, that do not allow for custom branded experiences. In these NFT marketplaces, brands do not have control over other content that may be displayed next to their offerings. Another important consideration for brands when selecting a blockchain to mint their NFTs is carbon footprint and gas fees. Many of the current NFT marketplaces use Ethereum. Ethereum creates high greenhouse gas emissions, and is not the most environmentally-friendly option on the market today.

The Obsess Metaverse Platform enables brands to sell NFTs on their own e-commerce sites and offer a unique, branded experience to their customers. Obsess partners with leading brands to create these engaging, fully-branded virtual stores where brands can sell NFTs and physical products. Obsess works with an environmentally-friendly blockchain and handles all the technical heavy-lifting of the blockchain development work. The only piece that brands have to work on is the creative concept for their NFTs.

In 2021, NFT sales volume surged to $25 billion. Brands are exploring how to leverage NFTs and discovering early success with revenue and loyal customer engagement. Brands, particularly in luxury, are using NFTs as loyalty tokens and membership access cards. “NFTs will have staying power as long-term loyalty or membership cards that bring exclusive perks, and unique digital items that convey exclusivity and status,” Vogue Business reports. A Forrester report notes that “Consumers are more willing to try out innovative systems of value like NFTs than they have been at any point in the past 20 years.” The next six examples of brands leveraging NFTs illustrate the myriad of ways to create and sell digital collectibles.

1.) Dolce and Gabbana’s Collezione Genesi

Dolce and Gabbana’s nine-piece collection of fashion NFTs, sold for $6 million. This sale was the largest fashion NFT sale which comes as no surprise to Nick Jushcyshyn program director of Virtual Reality and Immersive Media at Drexel University. Jushcyshyn commented, “You have world-renowned designers creating something absolutely unique, with attention to detail. It makes perfect sense that there would be an NFT collector in the world who would value it.” Morgan Stanley states that the sale of nine NFTs for $6 million “demonstrates huge potential for virtual and hybrid luxury goods.” 

The Italian luxury fashion house sold the NFTs to Red DAO, a decentralized digital fashion organization; Boson Protocol; and leading NFT collectors Pransky and Seedphrase, according to the New York Times. Of the NFTs, five of the pieces were based on physical product designs by Dolce & Gabbana. The remaining four pieces were exclusive digital pieces based on sketches that were personally drawn and signed by the brand’s designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The Doge Crown, with seven blue sapphires and 142 diamonds was the most expensive NFT sold, with a sale of 423.50 Ether or $1,257,654. The NFT offering emphasized exclusivity and access by providing two years of access to the highly anticipated and most exclusive event of the year, the Alta Moda show. Owners of the NFTs were also able to dress their avatars with the digital clothing item in one metaverse of their choosing.

2.) Gucci “Proof of Sovereignty”

Gucci participated in Christie’s first NFT auction named “Proof of Sovereignty” in May 2021. The auction pieces consisted of famous 20th-and-21st century digital art, including works by the late Nam June Paik and new media artists. Gucci’s NFT took the form of a digital animation from a fashion film, inspired by the “Gucci Aria” collection, co-directed by Creative Director Alessandro Michele and director and photographer Floria Sigismondi. Gucci’s NFT sold for $25k at the auction. Curator LADY PheOnix commented, “These practices rarely get implemented outside of museums and academia, but are essential for the long-term preservation and storage of digital art. With Christie’s as the leader in NFTs, they are helping to secure the future for all new media artists.” 

3.) Burberry X Blankos Block Party 

Burberry partnered with Mythical Games to launch an NFT collection in “Blankos Block Party”. The experience is a multiplayer game featuring digital vinyl toys known as Blankos that live on the blockchain. In the game, a limited-edition, limited-quantity Burberry Blanko, a shark named Sharky B, was an NFT that could be purchased, upgraded, and sold within the Blankos Block Party marketplace. Burberry also sold branded in-game NFT accessories, including a jetpack, armbands, and pool shoes, which players could apply to any Blanko they own. The estimated revenue was around $375K (initial offering of 750 units at $300 p/u). The NFT resold for as high as $1,000 on the game’s marketplace later.

4.) Karl Lagerfled’s Digital Avatar

Luxury fashion house Karl Lagerfeld released two NFTs in the form of Karl Lagerfeld digital figurines. These animated caricatures of the late designer Karl Lagerfeld were sold on The Dematerialised, a digital fashion marketplace, according to WWD. The digital figures were created in collaboration with the London-based street artist Endless. The two versions of the NFT featured graffiti by Endless with tones of blue and pink scrawled all over the Karl Lagerfeld digital avatars’ outfit. The first version of the collectible was priced at $84.92 and available to 777 consumers. The second version of the collectible was priced at $195.21 with 77 editions.

5.) Clinique’s MetaOptimist

The Clinique MetaOptimist introduced three unique NFTs based on their most iconic products, including the Moisture Surge and Black Honey Almost Lipstick. Clinique gave away three NFTs to their Smart Rewards members via a sweepstakes. To enter, participants had to sign up for Clinique Smart Rewards, and then post content that conveyed optimism on Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter with the hashtag #MetaOptimist. The winners received early access to sold-out items and an assortment of fan-favorite products once a year for a duration of 10 years. 

6.) NARS Orgasm Experienced

NARS released three NFTs as digital art inspired by NARS products and produced by female artists. The pieces for sale included physical NARS makeup bundles with products from the NARS Orgasm collection. One NFT, an audio, video, and visual piece by DJ-music producer Nina Kraviz entitled “Take Me” retailed for $500. This NFT was paired with physical NARS products that were the equivalent of $500. Another NFT “Consume Me” by renowned artist and collage Sara Shakeel was free of charge. The NFT by fashion designer and multimedia artist Azede Jean-Pierre called “Captivate Me” retailed for $50 and came with a limited-edition Orgasm blush-lip balm duo.

Brands can work with Obsess to offer NFTs in a highly visual and interactive branded experience on their own website. Providing an end-to-end solution, Obsess takes care of both the technical work and the branded experience behind creating and selling NFTs, while keeping sustainability as a priority. Contact us to learn about how your brand can enter the metaverse and reach a new audience of crypto-enthusiasts by offering NFTs seamlessly with the Obsess platform.

How the Metaverse Can Help the Retail Industry with Sustainability

The fashion industry is increasingly being held accountable for its impact on the environment. Fashion brands are now reevaluating their methods of operation through a lens of sustainability, as scrutiny increases. In the current climate crisis, brands must make sustainability a priority and strategize accordingly, not only to preserve the environment but to stay relevant.        

Shoppers, particularly Millennials and the Gen-Z consumers, expect brands to understand global issues and take responsibility. One way that brands are taking action to align with their customers’ values is by opening Virtual Stores that create a more sustainable method to shop.

The Potential Environmental Impact of Virtual Stores

A virtual store provides customers with a 3D, 360 full-page visual experience that functions as part of a brand’s e-commerce site. Virtual stores are an entry point to the metaverse, a connected, 3D virtual world where consumers are able to interact in real-time with a digital environment through their own personal avatar. 

There are currently two ways to create virtual stores: by photographing an existing retail location or by digitally rendering an imagined environment in the virtual world. Ferragamo’s virtual store “House of Gifts” transports the user to an opulent villa, while Fendi takes the user to their trendy NYC 57th St flagship. This format takes online shopping to the next level, allowing users to experience the feeling of visiting their favorite store from the comfort of their home. As users start to opt for metaverse shopping experiences as opposed to physical store shopping experiences, brands can begin facilitating a more positive environmental impact.

Reducing Brands’ Carbon Footprint

Over the years, fashion brands have advanced the in-store shopping experience through innovative and engaging displays. However, these in-store experiences have come with an environmental cost.       

Brick-and-mortar stores face the struggle of producing a large number of carbon emissions. The introduction of these complex displays involving a large number of lights and resources can supersize their carbon footprint and can deliver negative consequences to the environment.         

Virtual stores can help brands cut environmental harm out of the equation. When a brand creates a virtual store, they can design engaging, beautiful, and innovative displays virtually rather than physically. They also need to open fewer physical retail stores, as more regions can be served virtually. Thus, minimizing their carbon footprint and production waste. Virtual stores give brands the opportunity to be creative and engaging for their consumers, while remaining as sustainable as possible.

Minimizing Shoppers’ Carbon Footprint

Virtual stores can help lower shoppers’ carbon footprint as well. In order to visit physical stores, the majority of shoppers still rely on modes of transportation that are harmful to the environment. By moving stores to the metaverse, shoppers simply need to log onto their computer to visit their favorite store rather than drive or use public transportation. The store is at their fingertips.

Another big source of carbon emission in the retail industry is shipping and returns. If a shopper orders something online and then returns it due to poor fit, this can further amplify pollution as the item is shipped back to the store’s inventory. How well or poorly a clothing item fits according to a shopper’s online purchase can ultimately have an adverse impact on the environment.

Furthermore, online shopping allows users to order multiple sizes and variations of an item to decide which they like best. Using the promise of free returns, they can send any items they don’t want back to the retailer. However, practices like these can further increase transportation negatively impacting the environment. 

Virtual stores have implemented tools to help users mitigate the frequency of returns. More accurate sizing charts and the use of augmented reality to virtually try on pieces can reduce the volume of returns and their subsequent negative effect on the environment. With fewer incoming and outgoing shipments, virtual stores can be a great way for shoppers to improve their carbon footprint.

Saving on Supply Chain

Brands continually run into the issue of producing more inventory than ends up selling. When there is excess inventory, brands often take the route of selling the product to discount stores, which impacts brand image. To avoid discounting items, luxury brands have sometimes taken a disastrous path and have resorted to destroying products. This has led to backlash from allegations of burning unsold inventory. Finished good destruction is almost ubiquitous in the luxury fashion industry, despite sustainability teams trying to put an end to the practice. Vogue Business, in the article “Why destroying products is still an ‘Everest of a Problem’ for fashion,” notes,

“In an industry that has only recently begun to incorporate environmental impacts into its business decisions, the practice of destroying unused products has long been a norm for brands. For luxury brands, destroying unsold products also ensures brand value is retained. The problem has been exacerbated by an increase in product returns tied to the rise of online sales. Returned items can be tricky to resell because many businesses are not equipped with the necessary infrastructure or technological capacity — they can easily end up as discards.”

With virtual stores, many brands are now designing and showcasing their products virtually, before physically producing the items. Brands can gain data on the demand for their products through virtual item pre-orders and then produce only as much inventory as is needed. The result is an enormous saving on the supply chain and avoiding harmful practices such as destroying inventory.


Virtual stores can help brands and the retail industry make a positive impact on climate change. By minimizing not only their own carbon footprint but also helping to reduce shoppers’ footprint, virtual stores help brands become more environmentally friendly. Virtual stores can also create a more inclusive and accessible experience for shoppers, regardless of social and physical variables.

         Though of course, this is not an end-all for problems of sustainability. The fashion industry will likely continue to struggle with how to combat the burning of fossil fuels as a result of its supply chain operations. There is no quick fix, but shifting physical shopping activities to the metaverse via a virtual store can be one of the steps.        

Consumers want to see that brands care. They want to know that the brands they are shopping with have the same values as them, and care about the environment. Learn more about how your brand can lead the way in providing a more sustainable way to shop, with virtual stores in the metaverse.

3D Digital Stores: A New E-Commerce Format Taking Consumer Engagement to the Next Level

A New E-Commerce Format Taking Consumer Engagement to the Next Level

Brands and retailers are harnessing the power of 3D-rendered virtual stores to create unique, creative, and engaging experiences on their e-commerce websites. This new shopping format enables a brand to design any type of a virtual environment and visually merchandise it with products, just like they would in a real store. You can create an environment that looks like a retail store, a creative concept store or a completely fantastical location. This e-commerce innovation uses CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) to render graphics in 3D that simulate a virtual shopping space and the products inside it. Consumers can browse the 3D space on their phones or computers using intuitive navigation, and they can tap to interact with products.

“If you can dream it, you can create it.” -Neha Singh, CEO of Obsess

Brands have leveraged the Obsess Experiential E-commerce Platform™ to create 3D digital stores ranging from planets to islands to underwater retail stores to shoppable villas. The technology enables brands – for the first time – to have a completely unique, branded, visual digital experience, to immerse consumers in their world and leave a lasting impression in their memory. In a way that is easily accessible to the consumer – without having to download an app or put on a VR headset. Digitally-rendered virtual stores are not constrained by construction needs, real estate, time of day or location. Contextual environments help consumers envision how they would personally use the product. And as a result, Obsess-powered virtual stores increase customer engagement, loyalty, conversion rate and average order values.  

Benefits of a 3D-Rendered Virtual Store

  • Immersive visual customer experience that enables brands to express their creativity and unique brand ethos, to increase recall and consumer engagement
  • Contextual settings provide an element of storytelling that can better help a consumer visualize product usage 
  • Extends the discovery-driven shopping behavior from physical retail to online, generating higher purchase conversion   

Sam’s Club’s created a 3D rendered virtual shopping experience for the holidays that digitally immersed customers in the Griswold home from the 1989 movie, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” After clicking on an icon of the main character Clark Griswold, users are brought to an interactive, 3D model of the fictional family’s house, decorated with over-the-top Christmas lights that are all shoppable Sam’s Clubs products. When you walk up to the door, you can ring the bell to enter the house filled with gifts. There are 2 versions of every room that have different décor styles and products. The house includes Sam’s Club’s top toys, food, gifts and décor, along with movie trivia and interactive elements throughout the house, such as character Aunt Bethany’s cat wrapped up in a gift box. Customers can click on buttons next to items in the house, such as the holiday decorations, and are led to an instant “buy now” popup that directly links to Sam Club’s e-commerce site. According to an AdAge article, “In creating an interactive environment that allows shoppers to experience the joys of shopping, Sam’s Club has demonstrated a heightened understanding of the desires of consumers.” 

Dermalogica’s 3D flagship digital store offers a unique, branded experience that is highly engaging for prospective consumers. Customers are led through a series of fantastical rooms set in the sky, each of which feature a different Dermalogica product line, and are designed to highlight its qualities. The virtual experience features an avatar of Dr. Angela Murphy, Dermalogica VP of Technology and Innovation, talking about the brand’s Smart Response Serum. “We coined this virtual experience the ‘Future of Skin Care’. We’re hoping people go through the experience and get a better understanding of what Dermalogica is all about including our commitment to education and our trusted skin therapists,” says Kenna Wynne-Jones, Associate Director of Brand Marketing at Dermalogica. 

Users can interact with the brand’s free skin analysis Face Mapping tool, educational videos on Dermalogica products and services, and the Dermalogica aesthetician location finder. The virtual experience allows users to interact with educational tools that ultimately helps them make a more informed buying decision. “It’s now easier than ever for people to access education from the comfort of their home. It’s accessible to anyone, anywhere,” said Kenna Wynne-Jones. “But because there are so many places where consumers are receiving education, Dermalogica is trying to establish ourselves on these platforms to try and transform our education in new, fun and immersive ways.” Virtual stores offer a highly engaging and interactive environment where users can learn in an entirely new and entertaining way. 

American Girl has an innovative virtual experience “The American Girl Museum” that is special to their brand. The virtual “American Girl Museum” has an educational focus and resembles a virtual museum-like dollhouse with 35-plus rooms. Each room in the museum is devoted to a particular doll from a different era and culture spanning from the 1700s to the present. As the user travels from one room to the next, she is transported to the era and culture of the doll with that period’s music, decor, and atmosphere. Each room engages the user with a quiz on how much they know about the doll. As in the American Girls’ e-commerce site, children can create a wishlist of items and send it to their parents.

General Mills created a digitally rendered virtual experience for its Tailgate Nation program, giving customers a new way to experience tailgate from home – aka a “virtual homegate”. In partnership with grocery chain Meijer, this 3D digital store brings the game day excitement straight to fans at home, allowing college football and food enthusiasts to engage in the pre-game excitement of a tailgate through an interactive virtual kitchen and backyard, as well as a tailgate outside The Big House, the football stadium for the University of Michigan. College football fans and shoppers can download tailgate-inspired recipes, watch videos, and test their college football rivalry knowledge with gameday quizzes. Users can browse and shop tailgating favorites from General Mills brands, including Betty Crocker, Totinos, Chex, Chex Mix, etc. from the website.

Creating a digitally-rendered virtual experience makes for a rich, engaging, and unique experience for consumers. Learn more about how your brand can create a 3D digital store for a discovery-driven consumer experience that generates high user engagement. 

The Metaverse is the New Mall

Facebook’s rebrand as Meta underscored how timely it is for retailers and brands to build experiential e-commerce into their business strategies today in order to establish a distinctive presence in the metaverse tomorrow. As the next generation of the internet, the metaverse is a connected, 3D virtual world where consumers, through their individual avatars, are able to interact in real time with the digital environment and everything and everyone in it. In this virtual universe, users participate in activities like shopping, gaming, learning, working, and attending concerts and events—but they also use the space to just hang out and socialize with one another.

That means, essentially, the metaverse is the new mall.

Morgan Stanley says metaverse gaming and NFTs will constitute 10% of the luxury goods market by 2030 — a $56 billion revenue opportunity. Today, the largest metaverse platforms are Roblox and Epic Games’ Fortnite – with 45 million daily active users and 350 million monthly active users, respectively. The metaverse will evolve quickly and new offerings that aren’t strictly focused on gaming will emerge, drawing their own purpose-based communities of users.

Forward-thinking brands and retailers are already creating immersive e-commerce experiences such as 3D virtual flagship and pop-up stores and envisioning how their brand and products should appear in the metaverse. Technology advances have enabled immersive online shopping experiences that are richer, more dynamic and more interactive than anything we’ve seen before.

Over the next decade, the spending power of today’s teenagers will increase significantly, and this cohort’s expectations will define the future of experiential e-commerce within the metaverse. As digital natives who grew up interacting online and living much of their life through mobile devices, they’ll expect the entire shopping journey to be personal, interactive and customizable.

Here are 4 factors that will play a major role in defining the future of experiential e-commerce:

1. The Metaverse Is Taking Shape

Brands will create their own environments on metaverse platforms devoted to shopping and the spaces will allow consumers to do much more than just browse and purchase. Shoppers will be able to interact with one another and with brands and their products, as well as design, clothe and accessorize their digital avatars, attend events and fashion shows and participate in other activities. According to a Wunderman Thompson Intelligence Report Into the Metaverse, “Digital engagement is moving from passive consumption to active creation–shifting creative power to the user.” 

The emerging class of products that bridge the physical and digital worlds will take center stage in the metaverse. Brands ranging from luxury leaders to CPG makers are already selling digital assets as NFTs and giving consumers the option to buy physical versions of some of the virtual items, too. Dolce & Gabbana, for example, recently sold a collection including both NFTs and physical items at auction for the cryptocurrency equivalent of $6 million.

The metaverse will be enabled by advances in computer hardware and software, including an increased ability to represent digital interfaces in immersive 3D graphics that mirror the real world, as opposed to the 2D “page” interface that’s still typical on most e-commerce sites. Brands need to begin defining how they will represent themselves in the metaverse because shoppers—especially younger demographics—will expect to seamlessly engage with every aspect of their online lives throughout the connected virtual world we’ll inhabit.

2. E-Commerce Will Become More Natural and More Social

Technology is driving a more futuristic e-commerce experience, but it’s also enabling online shopping to become much more natural, social and intuitive—in essence, more like what we’re used to in real life, where we shop in three dimensions and often in the company of others. Shopping in a 3D, photorealistic virtual store with a few pals who can provide real-time advice via live video about a particular fall jacket or shade of lipstick will soon become the norm. Shoppers and their avatars will be able to see, hear and follow each other throughout virtual stores, providing inspiration and feedback to one another.

This social shopping capability will go beyond what consumers have come to expect from the livestream shopping experience. Participants will be able to choose who they want to invite to a private shopping outing in a virtual store and interact with influencers and sales associates via video or avatars in the immersive environment.

3. The Lines Between Gaming and Shopping Will Vanish

The largest gaming platforms have built-in communities of players where brands can find new audiences for their products. Younger generations of consumers who have grown up playing multiplayer video games and watching esports already expect to be able to interact with other people and with brands everywhere they go online. In the future, these consumers will expect the entire shopping journey, including virtual stores, to be customized and rendered for them dynamically in real time—because that’s what they’re used to in the gaming world.

Brands ranging from Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Burberry to MAC and Gillette have allowed gamers to purchase or win virtual clothing, accessories and skins that they can use to personalize their avatars in various games. The next step is full integration of e-commerce shopping and gaming. And that won’t be limited to luxury players, as brands across price points are already seeing strong consumer engagement with their immersive virtual store experiences.

4. VR Headsets Will Make Shopping Irresistibly Immersive

Virtual-reality headsets like the Oculus, owned by Meta, faced some stumbles in consumer adoption when they first hit the market, but the technology has rapidly improved and the pandemic has proven a tailwind for the devices. Consumers flocked to multiplayer video games and online fitness platforms like Peloton and Lululemon-owned Mirror while stuck at home during lockdowns and there’s now a whole new audience that knows firsthand how much more exciting and realistic virtual worlds can be when experienced through a VR headset.

Statista forecasts that more than 26 million AR and VR headsets will be sold each year by 2023 and a recent survey found that nearly a quarter (23%) of Americans have now used one of the devices. VR headset ownership still skews male, but with large numbers of women continuing to join at-home online fitness platforms, the ratio is shifting.

Some brands are already building headset-enabled experiences into their e-commerce and in-store strategies. Shopping in a virtual store environment using a VR headset is an amazingly immersive experience that can’t be replicated on a laptop or mobile phone.

Morgan Stanley states in their “Luxury in the Metaverse” report, “It is no surprise that gaming tends to be a past-time for younger consumers and likely always will be. The transition to fully immersive virtual reality (VR) Metaverse experiences also naturally lends itself to the same younger cohorts. VR is not a prerequisite for Metaverse experiences, nor gaming platforms; yet it adds to the immersive experience, encouraging longer game time.”

The Takeaway

As retail companies experiment with novel ways to sell, reach new consumer audiences, and drive sustainability, interactive shopping experiences will become table stakes for brands in every category. We’re quickly moving toward online store environments that will feel even more sensorially rich and immersive than physical store environments and that can be personalized for shoppers in real time. Companies are already building and hosting branded, 3D virtual worlds on their own websites and these spaces will be part of metaverse platforms in the near future. By creating their own visually unique virtual planets, islands, stores and more, these brands are presenting products in a discovery-driven manner that’s never before been possible online.

One of the things that sets these future-looking companies apart is that they’re thinking about virtual selling organizationally and creating specific line items for experiential e-commerce in their budgets. It’s key for all brands to have three- to five-year plans for their experiential e-commerce and metaverse initiatives. With the technology enabling these experiences evolving quickly, all brands will have to watch the space closely to see what developments align most closely with their values, business model and target audiences and invest in those areas accordingly.

At some point, the word “metaverse” itself will fall out of common use, just as “cyberspace” has over time. We’ll all just think of—and refer to—this immersive virtual space as “the internet” rather than as some separate part or next generation of it. For brands, having a carefully crafted presence in this virtual world will be as important as having a simple e-commerce website today.