Forever 21 celebrates its one-year ‘meta-versary’

Discussion
Source: Forever21
Dec 08, 2022

Forever 21 last week said that it was celebrating its one-year “meta-versary” by launching a fashion collection inspired by its experience operating in the metaverse.

The F21 Metaverse Collection came about following Forever 21’s success in virtual product testing. The new line of hoodies, t-shirts and other items was influenced by the retailer’s virtual offerings including the Forever Beanie, the number one selling item in Forever 21 Shop City on Roblox. The new limited-edition line is available in Forever 21 stores and on forever21.com with prices starting at $14.99.

The retailer is also currently offering limited-edition tradeable accessories on Roblox to promote the new line, making a new F21 item available each day through December 9.

“Our initial goal with Forever 21 Shop City was to expand how we engage with our customers and make our products accessible to all,” said Winnie Park, Forever 21 CEO, in a statement. “With the success of the virtual Forever Beanie in our Roblox store, we are thrilled to bring this beloved product and the entire F21 Metaverse Collection to life.”

Forever 21’s experience with Roblox over the past year has convinced the company “there is appetite for its offerings within and beyond social games.”

Consumer research conducted by Roblox users found that 70 percent of Gen Z gamers use ideas found on brick and mortar store shelves to outfit their avatars on the gaming platform. Forever 21 is exploring opportunities to connect virtual and physical items through experiences in both environments.

Roblox reported that daily active users in the U.S. and Canada, described as its core market, grew 17 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. The fastest growing consumer segment in those countries are consumers between 17 and 24, a key age demographic for Forever 21.

Forever 21 is not the only retailer using Roblox to connect with consumers in the metaverse. Walmart in September launched two immersive experiences — Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play — on the gaming platform. The two represent the retailer’s first attempts to connect visitors with virtual merchandise (AKA verch) that have real life matches on walmart.com and in its stores.

Forever 21 was acquired in 2020 by Authentic Brands Group, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners after it had filed for bankruptcy.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see gaming platforms like Roblox as the logical entry points for retailers looking to test the metaverse waters? Does Forever 21’s  experience suggest that the metaverse offers real life opportunities for retailers? 

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Small steps, for sure, but also encouraging outcomes."
"...all there is to say about Forever 21’s promo: it’s pretty cute. Roblox is essentially a gaming platform."
"I’m still skeptical on the whole 'metaverse' thing, but I do think gaming is a logical entry point for brands like Forever 21 whose primary target is 18-24 year olds."

Join the Discussion!

6 Comments on "Forever 21 celebrates its one-year ‘meta-versary’"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Using gaming platforms to access the metaverse is still very much a work-in-progress, and outcomes are uncertain. Brands like Forever 21 are making speculative investments in what may turn out to be a productive sales channel for their goods and to build brand. But as fast as progress is being made in the metaverse and on gaming platforms, I believe it’s still years away from delivering significant revenue for most retailers.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

Small steps, for sure, but also encouraging outcomes. It appears that Forever 21 brought the right mix of IRL brand awareness, marketing savvy and assortment to the Roblox platform. I am not yet convinced how much this can scale, but I am impressed by their instincts and early execution in this brave new virtual world. Perhaps this strategy will be a model for other early retail entrants into the Roblox/meta universe. Time to watch this space more closely, I think.

David Spear
BrainTrust

I’m still skeptical on the whole “metaverse” thing, but I do think gaming is a logical entry point for brands like Forever 21 whose primary target is 18-24 year olds. The games offer an experiential destination enabling young shoppers to participate in unique activities that they might not find elsewhere. Can these activities translate into monetized transactions (revenue) over sustained periods of time? My gut tells me no, but I’d love to be proven wrong!

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

So according to Mathew Ball, who wrote a very recent book titled “The Metaverse” — in his own words — “it doesn’t exist yet.” So, all there is to say about Forever 21’s promo: it’s pretty cute. Roblox is essentially a gaming platform.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

FE21 has an excuse reason, at least, for pinning hopes on people who want to spend time in a fantasy world: adolescents are their customer base … I’m having more trouble seeing it working for Walmart (or most any other adult-focused retailer).

As might be guessed, I see this mostly as a novelty (at best). But I think it does illustrate quite well why size matters in retail: the (presumably considerable) fixed costs of developing these platforms can be spread over a wide base … something small retailers just can’t do.

strammel
Guest

This could be a fresh restart for Forever 21 in terms of being one of the early retailers to experiment in the metaverse. But as a former employee, it seems to be the same strategy of gimmicky promotions for impressionable adolescent consumers. Other fast-fashion retailers like Inditex (ZARA), ASOS, etc. are already more invested in their digital presence with a much more fashion-forward approach to merchandise. I can see Forever 21 being the litmus test for these other brands that will offer more than 3 items for an initial metaverse collection.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Small steps, for sure, but also encouraging outcomes."
"...all there is to say about Forever 21’s promo: it’s pretty cute. Roblox is essentially a gaming platform."
"I’m still skeptical on the whole 'metaverse' thing, but I do think gaming is a logical entry point for brands like Forever 21 whose primary target is 18-24 year olds."

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