Retail chain Claire’s is amid a comeback after exiting bankruptcy. Looking to secure its appeal to tweens and young teens, Claire’s effort into the metaverse directly targets “Gen Zalpha,” a cohort of younger Gen Zers and older members of the following Gen Alpha.
This microgeneration is largely characterized by coming of age during the pandemic when they were physically isolated from their social circles but were able to connect through online platforms like Zoom and perhaps more importantly, for the metaverse, games like Roblox and Fortnite.
ShimmerVille is positioned as more than a game, enabling visitors to earn digital currency through playing mini-games and completing retail jobs. Players can then use these earnings to purchase accessories for their avatars, homes and vehicles. Among the destinations within ShimmerVille is a park that will host live events, a pet adoption center and play park – a mall with stores selling accessories and merchandise, a spot for building a custom house and a galleria where events and experiences will be held.
Claire’s venture into the metaverse is an investment in the brand’s “phygital” future, where experiences in the physical and digital worlds can be somewhat interchangeable, per Kristin Patrick, CMO of Claire’s, in a statement. While initially, ShimmerVille will focus on virtual jewelry and accessories, as the virtual destination grows, the brand expects to partner with other brands through limited-edition merchandise, one-of-a-kind pets, themed housing, games and other activities.
The investment in Wonder Works Studio, which worked on ShimmerVille, points to the company’s commitment to innovating around the integration of the physical and digital worlds, Claire’s CEO Ryan Vero said in a statement.
Venturing into the metaverse, particularly on Roblox, is how several younger-skewing brands are trying to reach their target audiences. Last month, My Little Pony launched Visit Maretime Bay, where fans could interact with characters from its “My Little Pony: Make Your Mark” Netflix series and even turn their avatars into ponies. Invisalign, whose main population of users will be adolescents experiencing orthodontia, also launched a destination on Roblox.