In a move that is sure to excite fashion lovers and gamers alike, Pacsun has announced the launch of its very own virtual mall store in The Sandbox metaverse. This new retail experience will allow shoppers to buy unique NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that represent exclusive mall rats.
While some brands are inching into the metaverse, others are going all in. Pacsun, the California-based clothing brand, falls in the latter category.
30 Unique NFTs
Pacsun’s spring 2022 campaign focuses on escapism, VR and AR experiences featuring Emma Chamberlain, and mobile games. As it also includes the sale of 30 NFTs, as well as a presence on gaming platform Roblox and the crypto community game The Sandbox, the brand is covering the metaverse bases.
With such widespread initiatives, Brie Olson, president at Pacsun, said she wants to create a unique brand hub. “Our consumers find community in this space,” she said. “The metaverse and the crypto space have incredibly strong network effects and they also offer a high degree of accessibility for the consumer.”
As Pacsun develops an omnichannel metaverse strategy, its hope is to acquire young consumers and develop customer communities by engaging across the aforementioned platforms, which will ultimately connect as the decentralization of the metaverse takes effect.
The Pacsun Mall Rats NFTs
Pacsun debuted its first NFT, centered on its iconic wave logo, in November 2021. It has since launched a small portion of its next NFT project, the Pacsun Mall Rats — the first three NFTs went on sale at the end of January. The Mall Rats NFTs were designed by the brand based on customer feedback on what they like about its 300 stores, which includes localized features. Each Mall Rat ties to a store location via its clothes, accessories and background. One tied to a California store features a surfboard, for example.
Initially, Pacsun debuted three Pacsun Mall Rats NFTs based on Los Angeles Pacsun retail locations in Santa Monica, La Brea and DTLA. The latest launches, which came out on Thursday, reference stores in Farmington, CT; Burford, GA; and Honolulu, HI, among others. Pacsun will release new series of Mall Rat NFTs on the last Thursday of every month. So far, six of the 30 planned NFTs have been sold on Opensea, at prices from $91-$262 when converted from Ethereum.
“Our consumers love the mall, so we’re offering them an opportunity to invest in purchasing a ‘one of one,’ which celebrates each of our physical mall locations. Their favorite mall location is turned into a Mall Rat. Purchasers also receive a ‘one of one,’ a way of getting an exclusive physical T-shirt with the purchase of the NFT,” said Olson. More of the NFTs’ utilities, or loyalty-style perks like the T-shirt, will be announced as the series progresses.
Pacsun’s strategy for the NFT drops is to keep the consumer engaged where they are. “Our core consumers are 17- to 24-years-old. Gen Z values community, even over brands, so for a brand to maintain its relevance, we had to shift to a community mindset,” said Olson.
What The Consumer Values
Pacsun has been working with two focus groups focused on different age groups to understand what they value, when it comes to brands. The groups include younger consumers who use Roblox and fall within the target demo for the Pacsun Kids category, which is 4- to 14-years-old, as well as Pacsun’s core consumer base. This market research has resulted in Pacsun’s launch of NFTs, as well as participation in physical and virtual events — it will have a presence in the virtual pop culture festival ComplexLand next month. It also motivated the development of Pacsun’s first mobile video game, available on the Pacsun app, which came out in February as part of the company’s spring campaign.
“As our brand voice has evolved, prioritizing creativity, authenticity, community and connectivity as a lifestyle brand has become incredibly important,” said Olson. She added that connecting with younger consumers in digital channels and then keeping them as longtime customers is a key strategy.
For Pacsun’s multi-part initiative to be successful, Olson said that all of the involved digital worlds and spaces will eventually need to connect. And, she added, such decentralization will change the way consumers engage with brands. “An integrated, but diversified approach will be important,” said Olson.
Pay For Digital Assets With Crypto
As with its first NFT launch back in November, with proceeds going to the Fashion Scholarship Fund, Olson said the brand will continue linking charitable contributions and NFTs. Pacsun is one of just a few retailers to accept crypto payments for digital assets through the leading blockchain payment provider BitPay.
Pacsun is not stopping with its current NFTs and Roblox involvement. Moving forward, it plans to roll out its first layered clothing launch on Roblox this week. It’s also pushing the boundaries, in terms of the evolution of virtual mall stores, by integrating itself into digital mass gatherings like ComplexLand and investing in community by purchasing land in the Sandbox.
In addition, “We will continue to leverage AR and VR in our brand campaigns and activations as we move to 2022’s fall and holiday launches,” Olson said. “Our aspirations in the Sandbox lie in furthering our digital footprint in virtual malls and engaging with the consumer in that way.”