A social online game that allows users to create their own virtual fashion boutique could offer real benefits
The news that Facebook has now attracted its 500 millionth user made headlines this month, and web experts predict this number will only keep on growing.
At the same time, Sugar Inc, which owns aggregate site Shopstyle.co.uk, has launched its first online game, Retail Therapy, on Facebook.
The aim of the game is for users to create their own fashion boutique. Users can control a number of features on the site, from the outfits worn by the shop owner character to the interior design of the store, as well as the actual stock ‘sold’.
The stock is chosen through the ‘Catalogue’ tab in the game and can be bought using money made in the store. Users are given an allocated amount of money to start with and then earn the rest by trading, reaching higher levels according to the amount of stock they sell and friends they refer to the game.
On the first day following its launch, the Retail Therapy page had more than 1,900 fans but there is also a strong business case for retailers being on there. At launch both Topshop and Diane von Furstenberg had live stores on Retail Therapy. These corporate stores work in exactly the same way as user-created stores, except that when users visit Topshop on Retail Therapy they can click directly from the product in the virtual store through to Topshop’s transactional website to buy the item in reality.
The link from the game to making an actual sale is something other retailers could take advantage of. Retail Therapy allows businesses to reach a new audience and showcase their product in a new and interactive way. The addictive element of the game will keep users coming back and, as product is updated, will encourage them to make purchases they may otherwise have missed.
With Sugar Inc aiming to rapidly grow the audience of Retail Therapy through a number of marketing initiatives including competitions, and also looking to grow the number of retailers on the site in the coming months, the game could provide a real opportunity for retailers.