How does this work in practice, connecting physical and meta-retail?
Now, in the Forever 21 case, when you’re on the brand’s e-commerce site, you see both the real-life and avatar garment, which can be worn in a metaverse. You can firstly save money by choosing a bundled package of clothing that buys both outfits at a discount. Then, if you shop in a physical Forever 21 store, for example, there could be a code on your receipt which, if you collect enough, could unlock a special item or experience on Roblox. It’s a constant loop, back and forth, between spaces.
Consumer behaviour can also be tracked in the metaverse. What type of insights or data are you uncovering?
This is known as spatial data analytics. In the same way you could ask someone to wear a motion capture suit and track their every step through the mall, every item they looked at or walked away from, we are able to track this through our technology in the metaverse. And that data capture, in terms of understanding consumer behaviour, is at an exponential level for brands in that it will lead to new insights and new innovations.
Tell us about R&D in virtual realms. Can you give me an example of using virtual worlds to develop and test products?
Through our VBG Lab we offer two levels of incremental innovation. Firstly, we can adapt and translate brands’ products for the metaverse. The second level is when we build products on behalf of brands, using their DNA but creating something they don’t yet offer. It might be a car brand wanting to offer a helicopter or ski gear in the metaverse. It’s too risky to develop in real life, but we can build those items virtually with low risk. If these items garner high interest or high demand digitally, then these brands may then produce them in the real world. One of our number one sellers in Roblox is an innovated Forever 21 item – and now the brand wants to create a real-life version of it.
Sign up to our trends intelligence platform LS:N Global and get unlimited access to a hive of insights - from microtrends and macro trends to market reports, daily news, research across eight industry sectors.