The Crocs brand is flying high in the real world and is now ready to take the holidays to the virtual world, with a new immersive shopping experience launching Wednesday through December 31, the company told WWD in an exclusive interview.
“We offer a real-life virtual shopping experience that includes five different unique themed rooms,” explained Feliz Papich, vice president of digital product management and customer experience at Crocs. “These highlight important product lines and moments of innovation important to us in the Crocs catalog. So this kind of takes all of that experience and brings it to life, so that we can actually engage with consumers.
The company worked with virtual retail platform Obsess on the three-month project. The first room, essentially a landing space, offers visitors the chance to freely roam the WebVR world, play a game to win exclusive prizes, or take a quiz so the system can guide them to a relevant area. and customize the game.
The other four rooms each have different sensibilities: one was designed as an homage to the brand’s classic clogs, while another glitter-infused room brings a party vibe. A fuzzy-lined room was designed as a warm and cozy space, and a Jibbitz room was created as a customization station, where people can choose charms to personalize their shoes. Buyers are welcome to visit any or all areas.
According to Papich, the atmospheres may be visual, but they were designed to convey a sense of tactility and a range of moods – from the soft, fluffy decor of the room to the blurred lines to the metallic ball and glittering room balloons, which evoke pleasure and celebration. New Year’s Eve celebrations. Other spaces double up on a winter or holiday theme, with an igloo-like structure as well as a snowy beach to denote holiday vacations.
“[When] you’re thinking of shopping over the holidays, you’re thinking of a Hallmark movie, right? Sipping your hot chocolate and you have your scarf, we really wanted to bring that to life,” she said. “We wanted our consumers to feel like they could walk into a different room and feel their personal expression inside of it. It’s a big theme with our brand at all times. It’s self-expression, personalization.
The effort seems to resonate strongly with consumers, which may matter more than ever. As inflation and other issues weigh on major retailers, brands and tech companies, many of which have posted disappointing numbers lately, the 20-year-old shoe company just scored four consecutive quarters of growth , thanks to a turnover of 985 million dollars. Although earnings fell short of expectations, they were enough to push Crocs stock price up more than 4%.
Not bad for an item that started as a boat shoe and is perhaps better known as “kitchen clogs” – or at least until recently.
That year alone brought collaborations with MCM and Sza, as well as luxury fashion house Balenciaga, raising Crocs’ profile considerably. The company has also been very active on the tech front, which only keeps the shoes ahead of the Gen Z and even Gen Alpha crowd.
Indeed, while the current virtual store may be the company’s first dedicated to vacations, it’s not the brand’s first step into the metaverse and mixed reality.
In 2021, Crocs became the first footwear brand to tackle TikTok’s augmented reality with #GetCrocd, a campaign launched on TikTok and Douyin in China that saw over 8 billion impressions and hashtag usage that has climbed over 1.3 million times worldwide. Later that year, it launched on NBA 2K and launched its own Crocs World in Minecraft.
January 2022 delivered NFT Crocs for Paris Fashion Week, followed by a June collaboration with Saweeti on a limited-edition line of Jibbitz charms featured, featuring the rapper’s avatar, in another reality shopping experience Virtual. More recently, it brought Crocs World to the Zepeto metaverse in September and Roblox in October.
This time, Crocs worked with Obsess, its former technology partner on the Saweetie project. The company’s virtual store platform develops immersive 3D experiences that brands can host on their own websites.
“We started working with Crocs earlier this year when they created this virtual pop-up with 3D, and it worked really well for them. This holiday virtual store is a much larger experience, with a great part of their product line and all the different types of categories or products they offer,” said Neha Singh, CEO and Founder of Obsess. “One of the things that is unique about this experience is how they’re using our platform, they’ve really added a lot of customization and gamification to the experience.”
Beauty and fashion are the most important categories for the platform, which works with some 20 to 30 brands in these sectors. To date, he has released over 150 virtual stores and Singh estimates that fashion and beauty account for two-thirds of that. Projects vary quite a bit – from a virtual replica of a retailer’s physical store to a fantasy scene that couldn’t exist in the real world, like the intergalactic environment he created for makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury l ‘last year.
But the vivid visuals aren’t the only motivation, at least for Crocs. Utility is important, Papich added, both to help the consumer find the right thing and as a strategic business decision.
“The way we think about these virtual experiences is that they should really drive consumer acquisition that we’re not reaching on other platforms,” the Crocs executive said. “I think the number one opportunity is to reach and acquire additional consumers. And then the number two opportunity is personalization and consumer conversation going forward.
“Because if we know you’re from an Instagram post and you click on it, experience it, and check it out, we know that’s what you expect from us. [Not everyone] wants to engage, which really helps us segment and have the right conversation with you, so our conversations are actually relevant.
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