Macy’s and Claire’s Invest in Turning Virtual Experiences Into Real-World Gains

Brands are realizing the significance of crafting captivating digital experiences to engage their customers. The need is self-evident, requiring little persuasion for brands to invest. However, as brands embrace this trend, a new challenge comes into focus — the task of connecting these digital experiences with tangible real-world results. 

Determined to bridge the gap between the digital and physical realms, Macy’s has launched its mstylelab initiative. 

“We are excited to launch mstylelab, the next evolution of our Web3 digital strategy, creating a hub for style inspiration and discovery at the intersection of fashion and technology,” said Dave Torres, vice president of Interactive Marketing at Macy’s in a statement.

“As we grow and evolve the mstylelab digital platform and community, new activations and experiences will be brought to life creating immersive storytelling focused on fashion and style, in a fun and shoppable environment.” 

With mstylelab, Macy’s aims to revolutionize the fashion landscape, turning it into a platform for innovation by seamlessly integrating technology and immersive environments to encourage exploration, self-expression, and connectivity.  

Mstylelab is accessible across all devices and web browsers, extending an invitation to the public to join the community, create unique usernames, obtain customized digital items, and engage in the inaugural activation — an immersive fashion experience driven by the metaverse technology platform Journee. 

Bridging Digital and Real-Life

Over the summer, when the line originally made its debut, PYMTS asked: “If a coat or a pair pants were tailored to your body, what’s the likelihood of you returning it? Probably slim. But what if tailoring wasn’t an option and relying on what the retail industry has to offer for your body type was the only option?” 

Customized fits or items crafted to mimic a personalized fit have been linked to reduced return rates. However, in the fashion domain, the ideal fit is a challenge. Many shoppers have experienced the disappointment of purchasing clothing that doesn’t quite fit. This leads to lower brand perceptions and higher returns. 

Macy’s addressed this issue by launching “On 34th” in honor of its Manhattan flagship store, with the mission of bridging this gap. 

Macy’s is embracing the digital trend, and mstylelab has debuted with a focus on the On 34th brand. This brand sets out to change the conventional approach to women’s clothing fit. 

“Consumers are seeking multiple touch points on multiple platforms to seamlessly integrate immersive virtual experiences into their customer journey. This innovative technology will propel the fashion industry — as well as many others — into its next phase. Reaching consumers where they are and providing new ways for them to shop and interact with one another is vital in order to deepen their relationships with brands,” said Erika Lang, head of Americas at Journee. 

Other Players Lean Into Digital

Back in July, PYMNTS reported the collaboration between Klarna and retail experience agency Stellar Global to introduce a virtual shopping solution for eCommerce brands. 

The tool merges Klarna’s online technology integrations with Stellar’s product demonstration teams and studio facilities to deliver new shopping experiences and aid brands in enhancing their conversion rates. 

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, D2C [direct to customer] brands have been investing heavily in their omnichannel retail strategies,” the companies said in a release. “This has enabled them to deliver better, more refined shopping experiences, however customers choose to use them.” 

Simultaneously, it has emphasized the requirement for livelier, real-time experiences that enable customers to easily engage with a brand, make purchase decisions, and complete transactions, effectively replicating the in-store experience online, as noted by the companies. 

Read more: Klarna and Stellar Debut Virtual Shopping Tool for eCommerce Merchants 

Additionally, there’s accessories retailer Claire’s, which ventured into the metaverse for the first time last year in response to requests from its younger customers, many of whom are part of its 18 million-strong loyalty membership.  

Claire’s primary customer base, Gen Alpha and Gen Z shoppers, expressed a desire for more brand-related content. To meet this demand, Claire’s now updates its Roblox experience about once a month, introducing new characters or gameplay elements. 

To bring that virtual experience into the real world, Claire’s has introduced a set of 11 tangible products inspired by its “Shimmerville” Roblox game. 

“One of the things that we really want to do is think about ‘Shimmerville’ as a piece of intellectual property that we can take into other business categories,” said Kristin Patrick, Claire’s chief marketing officer. “The reason that is so important is because it’s important to our consumer. They really morph between the physical and the digital world.” 

The 11 “Shimmerville” items, featuring plush pet toys, notebooks, stationery sets, a mini backpack, and keyrings, can be bought online and in Claire’s stores across North America and the European Union. 

Claire’s is also reportedly introducing this collection in the same week as it enhances its loyalty program.