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Roblox Avatar Shops: Faster, Cheaper, Easier Way for Brands to Launch

Olivia Rodrigo, Nicki Minaj and other brands have launched Avatar Shops on Roblox.

Brands that are interested in reaching Roblox players have a variety of ways to do so, including advertising on virtual billboards, integrating into existing games, and building custom experiences.

While custom experiences attract the most attention from the press and are the focus of my monthly brand rankings, they can pose several big challenges for many brands.

  • High Cost: Custom-built experiences for brands can typically range from approximately $250K - $500K+ (prices will vary depending on developer and project complexity), just for the build alone, not including additional budget to market the experience to Roblox players.

  • Lengthy Timeline: Because custom builds are typically complicated projects, they can take anywhere from 3-6+ months to build and launch (timing will vary from case to case).

  • Gaming Expertise: Custom-built experiences usually include some level of gamification, which can be foreign territory for brand teams to navigate.

But now there's a new way for brands to launch custom experiences on Roblox that reduce these challenges.

Roblox Avatar Shops

In recent weeks, Roblox's Discover page has started promoting Avatar Shops.

What's an Avatar Shop?

As their name implies, they are focused on shopping.

Avatar shops are similar to custom-built experiences, but they are focused on the sale of UGC virtual clothing and outfits, rather than gameplay.

You can think of them as simple, lightweight experiences with UGC shopping as their focus. They typically have smaller maps, which require less artwork to design.

Benefits of Avatar Shops for Brands

Because they don't focus on gameplay, Avatar Shops are typically faster and less expensive to build than most branded experiences.

Depending on the project and the developer, an avatar shop can take anywhere from 2-3 months to build and cost significantly less than a typical custom-built experience.

There's also less need for brand teams to understand and provide feedback on gaming mechanics, since those are typically not a big part of avatar shops.

For brands that create strong avatar shops, there's the opportunity to get support from Roblox by being featured in the Avatar Shops section of the Discover page, which can drive additional organic visits. Homepage discovery can be hard to unlock and also very powerful in terms of driving traffic.

Challenges of Avatar Shops for Brands

Like regular custom-built experiences, Avatar Shops are not guaranteed traffic. Just because you build it does not mean that people will automatically come.

That means that successful Avatar Shop launches will also have marketing budgets to help attract players. Marketing plans can include offering free UGC limiteds for completing tasks in the experience, paid portals and billboards, and social media influencer promotion.

Also like other experiences, Avatar Shops should have some live operations plans in order to keep the content fresh to drive repeat engagement. If experiences are not updated, then they will become stale, and players will lose interest / not have a reason to come back.

Branded Roblox Avatar Shops

There are currently four branded avatar shops that are featured by Roblox: Nick Minaj, Olivia Rodrigo, Blackpink, and Alo Yoga. Disclosure: I worked on the Olivia Rodrigo and Alo Yoga projects as part of the Sawhorse team.

Olivia Rodrigo and Nicki Minaj both launched their avatar shops in Roblox last December, and both of them have surpassed 2 millions visits, which is quite strong.

Both of these experiences offered free UGC to entice players to visit. Both have sold UGC virtual items, including emotes.

Roblox UGC items, purses and hair.
Olivia Rodrigo UGC featured in her Avatar Shop

It's interesting that 3 out of the 4 featured branded shops are from the music industry. It will be interesting to see if more musicians decide to launch on Roblox with their own shop, instead of a full gaming experience.

Nicki Minaj Roblox avatar in pink shop.
Nicki Minaj thumbnail from her Roblox Avatar Shop

Top-Performing Roblox Avatar Shop

Catalog Avatar Creator is the most popular avatar shop on Roblox with over 1.8B lifetime visits. It's also featured in the Discover page as one of the top earning experiences.

For those brands thinking about creating an avatar shop, I highly recommend studying this experience to see what's working there.

Catalog Avatar Creator thumbnail.

I'm glad to see that Roblox is supporting Avatar Shops and pushing new ways for brands to connect with players. I hope we see more brands test and build in this space, especially brands who have strong IP that would work well as UGC items.

If you're interested in learning more about Roblox avatar shops and whether they might make sense for your brand, I'd be happy to help.

Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment and sports brands enter Roblox.

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