Pacsun’s first digital products on Roblox mirrored what they had in stores, but a large pair of gold wings quickly became best sellers, so its strategy evolved to include more fantastical products about three months ago, Olson says. “We recognized they were looking for a sense of imagination and socialisation with their friends.”
The digital items that Forever21 sells fall into one of four categories: digital twins, modified twins, completely new garments (such as the Forever beanie) and completely new categories, such as a popular boombox. A recent prom campaign drove double the typical Roblox sales, and the brand doesn’t even offer physical prom apparel.
On social media, a recent campaign invited people to “twin with your avatar,” in which people could buy and wear the same items in the store as on Roblox, where 85 per cent of purchasers are 18 to 25. Then, people shared images of themselves next to their avatar, wearing the same outfit (pictured at top). This “twinning” content has been the brand’s most successful content on social media, getting 10 times the normal engagement, Hochberg says, and there are plans for giveaways related to this concept.
Olson has found that Pacsun’s consumers, who are about 17 to 24, demand creativity and authenticity, and are looking to participate in music events and virtual events like Complexland, for which it created a virtual store, where attendees could peruse products, then purchase them on its website.
Social media buzz is also a big motivator for Pacsun, which measures success in part on how metaverse projects drive engagement on social platforms. In March, Pacsun created a Roblox world (Pacworld) and launched its own standalone game in February, which it promoted by turning Gen Z influencer Emma Chamberlain into an avatar exploring the game’s underwater world; content related to Chamberlain represented the top views for the season on TikTok.
Six months ago, it created a Snapchat account, which encourages people to share their digital fashion looks. The account garnered 250,000 followers in the first 60 days, and the brand is able to track buzz on both Snapchat and TikTok (where it has 1.7 million followers) when it introduces new digital projects, Olson says. “Gen Z values community and access more than they value traditional brands, and our consumer is proud to change their social image to whatever NFT they bought and to showcase virtual ownership.”
Accessibility, education and collaborations
Since April of this year, UK-based brand Boohoo has introduced three NFT projects. Similar to its physical products, its NFTs are designed to be affordable and accessible. In April, it started with a free NFT mint featuring 10,000 special cards that were dispersed in about two hours, and were so popular that they crashed its website, says Boohoo head of marketing Jessica Routledge.