Bebe, K-SWISS And Eberjey Clothe There.com Avatars
K-SWISS, bebe and Eberjey (a lingerie and sleepwear brand) have all signed on to create virtual storefronts in the world, according to Makena Technologies, parent company of There.com. The Country Music Hall of Fame and London-based music merchandiser Bravado also plan to launch in-world shops, adding entertainment wares to the bevy of virtual merchandise that will soon be available.
There.com members will be able to clothe their avatars in branded gear, which can be purchased using the in-world currency, Therebucks. They can also purchase real-world merchandise through the branded storefronts. According to Charles River Ventures principal Susan Wu, the global virtual goods market is worth about $1.5 billion annually, and brands are increasingly partnering with virtual worlds like There.com to tap into the revenue stream.
"We found that our younger consumers are spending a lot of time specifically on social networking and virtual words," said Jennifer Weiderman, VP of global marketing at K-SWISS. "So we were interested in the virtual world concept in that it helps create consumer engagement, trial, and buzz for both our footwear and apparel collections."
Michael Wilson, There.com's CEO, believes that the quality of virtual goods has become so realistic that they can actually help influence real-life purchasing decisions--and as such, will gain more attention from advertisers. "As virtual worlds continue to become more mainstream, I believe we will see more brands introducing virtual goods to help increase consumer engagement, and in turn, we'll see a 'halo effect' that crosses into the real life," Wilson said.