12 Things Fashion Brands Learned By Developing Gaming Apps

Thomas Brownlees

Thomas Brownlees

CEO and Founder,
440 Industries

Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down economies worldwide, and businesses have had to adapt to the changing environment and develop innovative ways to survive. While manufacturing and retail businesses have been hit the hardest, the online world has managed to not only survive but thrive.

Services and products like online shopping and all types of web content have seen drastic increases in sales and views. Similarly, the games industry, in the U.S. mainly, has seen a significant rise in the demand for gaming consoles, accessories, and all types of gaming hardware. The industry saw a rise of up to 21% in the total sales of gaming content and hardware only in the first nine months of 2020 and the pandemic. An industry that has noticed this trend and attempted to use it to its advantage is the fashion industry. Like almost all retail and manufacturing industries, the fashion industry has also seen a decline in sales.

With an increasing number of games now including features like creating your own avatars through shopping for their wardrobes, the fashion and beauty brands’ opportunity to step in becomes wide open.

Learning from this and taking their efforts one step ahead, major fashion brands worldwide have added mobile gaming apps to their portfolios. Developing gaming apps has allowed fashion marketers to explore the wildest of their imaginations and to incorporate the two seemingly varied fields in creative ways.

Recently, Drest is a fashion gaming app that was launched in partnership with more than 100 world-renowned brands, including Burberry, Prada, Gucci, and Valentino. Drest is a classic fashion gaming app that allows users to purchase items of clothing and accessories prices that closely resemble real-life price tags. The user begins with 15,000 “Drest Dollars,” which they can spend on their avatar’s clothes. The items purchased in-app can then also be turned into real-life purchases through the app’s e-commerce partner.

2020 has seen a rise in fashion gaming apps similar to Drest, and the fashion industry has truly stepped into the game. Fashion mobile gaming apps are rapidly gaining popularity, and fashion brands have been able to use this to their advantage. Many top high-end fashion brands like the ones mentioned above have taken the leap of faith, and, in time, many more will soon follow. Here’s why fashion brands are continuing to use gaming apps as the latest marketing and revenue-generating tool.

In this article, we’re going to look into some unique elements that make fashion and gaming synergic industries, and here are 12 things fashion brands learned by developing gaming apps.

  1. The Similarities Between the Two Industries
  2. Gaming Feeds the Pleasure of Browsing
  3. Fashion Brands Can Tap Into Customer’s Free Time
  4. All Customers Like to “Win”
  5. Fashion Gaming Can Improve Your Style
  6. You Can Incorporate the Real World Into the Online World
  7. Gaming Influencers Are The Biggest Pawn
  8. Gaming is A Foolproof Way of Developing Brand Loyalty
  9. Uniqueness is Key
  10. People Want to Be Part of A Community
  11. It is Worth the Investment
  12. A Good User Experience is Crucial
  13. Conclusions

The Similarities Between the Two Industies

Research has shown that the gaming and fashion world are not all that different. Customers have expressed a greater liking for fashion shopping that involves a “fun” experience and makes the decision-making process more convenient and stress-relieving. In fact, many women have regarded the field of fashion as a source of fun. This is because fashion allows people to express themselves as well as experiment with their looks which are an outlet for creativity. When approaching a fashion brand through a gaming app, customers develop a positive mental association with the brand and are more likely to go forward with their purchases and to even come back for more.

2. Gaming Feeds the Pleasure of Browsing

It is a lesser-known fact that customers, especially women, find more thrill in browsing fashion websites looking through countless options than they do making the final purchase. In fact, browsing online for clothes and fashion items is almost therapeutic for many people and provides them an escape, say, at the end of a long day. Developing gaming apps for fashion has facilitated fashion brands to build upon this behaviour and provide customers with something even more enjoyable than conventional websites. Moreover, getting in touch with customers through gaming apps also allows brands to customize each customer’s experience. When a customer is playing the game, marketers can quickly identify particular checkpoints and then track these to fully understand what customers want and what appeals to them the most.

3. Fashion Brands Can Tap Into Customer's Free Time

Mobile gaming is often regarded as a time filler and most people only turn to them when they have extra time to kill. This is why fashion gaming apps provide the perfect opportunity for fashion brands to get their potential customers acquainted with the brand in their free time. While some women habitually browse for fashion inspiration on their daily commutes or while they are waiting for their turn at the dentist’s office, gaming apps attract a wider audience and can make the browsing experience are engaging and exciting for the user. Features like enabling the players to update their wish lists are particularly exciting and can highly increase the customer’s possibility to follow through with a purchase as well.

4. All Customers Like to "Win"

When we say customers, we mean all humans. Research into consumer behaviour, time and time again, has proven that customers are attracted to and are most satisfied when they win something. This includes discount coupons, gifts, and even reward points to be redeemed later for a free item. This characteristic has enabled fashion brands to treat customers as gamers, essentially, and learning more about what customers are most inclined towards has never been easier.

Fashion gaming apps are a resourceful and effective way to gain this information while also rewarding your customers for their time and purchases through “wins.” These can be in the form of unlocking new levels or being rewarded free items from the brands’ store if they complete a particular task in the game. Such incentives are highly likely to keep customers hooked to the gaming apps.

5. Fashion Gaming Can Improve Your Style

While people may not believe it, gaming can also be used as an educational tool. In fact, surveys have shown that many people actually train their brains using mobile gaming apps. As mentioned above, fashion is an outlet for creativity and allows the customer to experiment with how they want to express themselves.

However, many people struggle to either find their style or are just lost when it comes to fashion. Beginner level gaming apps not only benefit fashion brands in increasing their outreach, but they also provide an opportunity for users to improve their fashion game. Once they take inspiration from your brand through the gaming app, you have most likely developed a customer relationship that will most likely last a lifetime.

6. You Can Incorporate The Real World Into the Online World

While gaming is fun and living in a virtual world is a great escape, customers increasingly want to be able to relate to the games they are playing. Therefore, fashion brands have created avatars in their mobile gaming apps and allowed users to customize them using their products. This feature is gaining popularity as it is also convenient for customers to virtually try on the clothing item or accessory they want to purchase.

 Moreover, allowing the customers to personalize their avatars from scratch fully helps the brand get to know the customer better so that their experience on the app can be customized to meet their specific needs. Personalization includes everything from the shape of the avatar’s eyes to the type of socks he/she is wearing.

7. Gaming Influencers are The Biggest Pawn

Getting involved in the gaming arena is not just something that fashion brands decided to do because they were bored. With the world practically shifting online, the demand and prospect for gaming have increased dramatically. Fashion brands have stepped into the game because the marketing opportunities associated with the increased potential for gaming are tremendous. With the increasingly high popularity of games and gaming apps, gaming influencers can also attract a massive following. This following is an opportunity for fashion brands to reach mass audiences through gaming partnerships.

8. Gaming is A Foolproof Way of Developing Brand Loyalty

Ever since the advent of social media, audience engagement is continuously evolving, and businesses are forced to innovate and adapt to survive in a highly competitive online environment. The overload of information available for customers online through just a tap or swipe on the screen makes it even harder for businesses to attract and retain customer attention. Gaming is a platform that allows for an interactive experience with the customer, which is bound to get them excited about your brand. Customer engagement levels have increased through gaming apps, and brands are also beginning to meet the customers’ demand for a customized personal experience.

9. Uniqueness is Key

One of the fundamental concepts of branding in the marketing world is the USP or Unique Selling Point. A unique selling point is a feature of the product that makes it stand out from others. A mobile app displaying items with their picture, prices, a shopping cart, a wish list, and a virtual checkout counter is something we have seen all too much of. All retail fashion brands’ mobile apps look the same and perform the same functions.

With a gaming app, a fashion brand stands out. Getting your customers uniquely involved in the purchasing process rather than have them browse through your boring online catalogs is what gets you revenue. Despite all brands jumping on the bandwagon and creating their mobile gaming apps, the developing process still allows for differentiation of a certain degree.

10. People Want to Be Part of A Community

As social beings, we succeed the most when part of a community. Whether it is our native country, race, social class, or status, having people around that have had the same experiences as you provide satisfaction and contentment. This sense of belonging to a community is harnessed in fashion gaming apps.

Treating the users of their gaming app as a community and directing their marketing efforts towards it has allowed businesses to develop a great deal of customer loyalty. Companies also use the users’ style of navigating through the games to evaluate what customers want. Consequently, making customers feel like they belong to something unique makes them feel valued and heard.

11. It is Worth the Investment

People might argue that developing a gaming app is expensive, and the return is not great. While the former part of the sentence is correct, recent examples have proven the latter to be false. One of the fundamental rules of running and marketing a business is that you must be willing to take a risk. No business decision does not involve risk, and historically, the higher the risk, the greater the return.  In 2016, a brand known as Misguided developed and launched an app that provided a unique customer experience to its users rather than the usual boring catalogs.

While the startup of the app was a little shaky, users quickly grew, and revenue generated from the app reached 30 million euros in just under four months. This, along with many other examples of fashion brands developing or partnering with gaming apps in recent years, especially in 2020, speaks volumes about how beneficial a mobile gaming app can be.

12. A Good User Experience is Crucial

 As mentioned above, developing a mobile gaming app is an expensive endeavour. Moreover, it is also time-consuming and requires quite a lot of technical details. There are many guidelines that game developers must adhere to for their final product to be even remotely popular. A good gaming app provides entertainment, adventure, mental stimulation, and an overall user-friendly interface. In the highly competitive business world, it is crucial for there to be no errors and for the app to be easily accessible as well as enjoyable.

Most importantly, a fashion gaming app should be reflective of the values held by the brand itself. If the app even remotely misses the mark, it is most likely to drive away customers, not generate any sales and be a waste of money.

Conclusions

Mobile app gaming is proving to be a total game-changer for fashion brands, especially in 2020 and the years to follow. The shift towards technology is gradual but imminent, and businesses need to meet the customer where they are. Moreover, people are becoming busier and demanding that their fashion needs to be fulfilled in the most time-efficient way possible.

This is why gaming apps are a highly beneficial addition to any brands’ portfolio. Fashion gaming apps are not only attractive to women but to people of all ages and genders. Also, there is no limit to the creative opportunities that fashion brands and their game developers can avail and create a product that fascinates customers and gets them hooked. 

Was This Helpful? 🤓 

12 Things Fashion Brands Learned By Developing Gaming Apps Gaming has changed the way we deal with technology and the way we shop. Here's how fashion brands adapted to the new trends.
5 1 5 2
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Sources and Further Research

Thomas Brownlees

Thomas Brownlees

I am an Anglo-Italian business lecturer and consultant based in Florence, Italy. In 2017 I started 440 Industries, an education and training company focused on fashion, music, and technology. Our mission is to help students, entrepreneurs and managers in overcoming the challenges of starting, developing and scaling their business in the creative industries. When there's a will, there's a way!

MORE ARTICLES FROM OUR BLOG

STARTING A BUSINESS IN FASHION

REGISTER TO ACCESS OUR FREE COURSE