Claire's engages Gen Zalpha with limited products on Roblox, soon in-store

Retail Leader spoke with Claire's Chris Duncan about the retailer's partnership with gaming studio Super League and growing its Roblox experience to engage consumers online to drive shoppers to physical stores.
Elizabeth Christenson
Editor, Retail Leader
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Claire's Chris Duncan

For more than 60 years, Claire’s Stores has been a destination for self-expression. But now the iconic retailer finds itself evolving on a path past traditional retail to becoming an omnichannel powerhouse fashion brand.

“Our tag of ‘Be the Most’ leans into that idea of self-expression,” Chris Duncan, Claire’s vice president of consumer insights and digital marketing, told Retail Leader’s Trend Talk. “We want to move beyond just a mall based or traditional retail brand. We really want to be that global brand powerhouse of self expression.”

One of the things Claire’s learned from talking to its Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers — or what the retailer calls Gen Zalpha — is they want “more” from Claire’s. The retailer then challenged itself to show up in more places where this generation spends time along with differentiating itself and making itself relevant to their everyday lives.

On that journey of meeting its consumers where they are, Claire’s now finds itself on the world’s largest metaverse gaming platform Roblox along with malls, Macy’s, mass merchants, drug stores and grocery stores. Last year, Claire's debuted ShimmerVille on the Robloxplatformfor consumers to explore, work, play, shop and connect with friends. Claire’s views Roblox as the gateway between the physical and digital worlds – phygital. Bridging those two gaps, Claire’s hopes to engage its digital savvy consumers and drive them into physical stores.

“We felt like it was a natural fit with our customer base,” Duncan said. “We wanted to start engaging customers there and doing some of the things that have made other brands successful like launching products and pets and some of those things that really engage in quests.”

Claire's limited

In August, Claire’s partnered with gaming studio Super League to expand its Roblox experience with more immersive experiences and products, including avatar wearables. Exclusive items in their digital world, in turn, could also be created and released as unique physical merchandise in Claire’s global retail locations. For example, Claire’s is preparing to launch exclusive pets from its Roblox experience to its physical stores shortly. 

“A lot of what you'll see us do in the Roblox experience in the ShimmerVille world is hopefully going to translate physically as well,” Duncan explained.

Claire’s will kick-off its partnership with Super League with a launch on Roblox Limiteds platform, which debuted in April. On Roblox Limited, brands and creators can release limited user-generated content designs and quantities of unique wearable creations across the entire Roblox platform.  When Claire’s debuted on Roblox Limited in August, a new Claire’s Limited dropped each day for a total of ten distinctly unique offerings that are only available in the ShimmerVille Roblox experience. Included in this array were highly desirable backpacks and original avatar heads, inspired by Claire’s consumers favorite ShimmerVille pets and animals. Claires and Super League plan to release additional Claire’s Limited collections, including partnerships with other brands, going forward.

“The Limited really focuses the attention on what really is the cream of the crop in terms of products and interests from users,” Duncan said. 

Additionally, with the nature of Gen Zalpha consumers and the Roblox platform, the expectations for something new are accelerated.

“The pipeline of newness is really important and we see in our results, when we do launch new things, the engagement of our users goes through the roof.”

Hear more about how Claire's is engaging consumers with its physical stores and Pierced by Claire's program along with its quickly growing loyalty membership by listening to Retail Leader’s full interview with Duncan. Subscribe to "Trend Talk" wherever you listen to podcasts.