How Alo Yoga, Roblox are bringing mindfulness to the metaverse

NRF Nexus: Fashion and wellness in the metaverse
Sheryll Poe
NRF Contributor

Yoga lovers can now say “namaste” in the metaverse, thanks to an immersive wellness experience brought to life in the virtual world by a partnership between lifestyle and activewear brand Alo Yoga and gaming platform Roblox.

The creation of the virtual Alo Sanctuary on Roblox came about because of “shared synergies” between the two companies, according to Alo Yoga Vice President of Marketing Angelic Vendette and Roblox Vice President of Global Brand Partnerships Christina Wootton. Vendette sat down with fashion journalist Lauren Sherman at NRF Nexus in July to discuss the partnership while Wootton joined via video.

“Christina and I and our brands share similar visions and missions for civility and wellness,” Vendette said about the months-long process that went from an initial conversation to bringing in teams to conceptualize the final product. “It was a wonderful journey that sparked out of synergy and passion and both of us seeing the white space.”

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Wootten said her team is focused on working with brands that align best with Roblox’s mission and that the audience wants to connect with. “It was all about passion and how can we really be engaging with the audience,” she said. “We always look for a brand that’s really aligned with our values, they want to push the creative boundaries, they’re in it for the right reasons and have a purpose and also they want to enter the space authentically.”

The result of this partnership is Alo Sanctuary, which launched in February. After creating an avatar, visitors are welcomed into a bright and airy relaxation studio centered on a digital island landscape complete with gentle lapping water and soothing sound baths. Meditation and yoga classes are offered around the clock and can be taken alone or with friends. There’s also a gamification aspect, where avatars can collect “aura orbs” or attend classes to earn exclusive digital fashion items from the virtual Alo store.

So far there have been close to 40 million visitors to the Alo Sanctuary and more than 48,000 pieces of digital clothing have been redeemed and are being worn by avatars, according to Vendette. And if you like what an avatar is wearing, the same Alo clothing styles can also be purchased online or in stores.

This isn’t Alo’s first foray into what is known as Web 3.0. The company has also dipped its toes into cryptocurrency and NFTs. “We want to be innovative in what we do,” Vendette said. “We are ecommerce and social first, so our client is very tech savvy and involved in evolution of Web 3.0.”

Tapping into New Communities

Alo Yoga entered the Roblox metaverse partnership with no monetary or conversion goals, according to Vendette. “It really was about education and giving back to the community. For us, Alo is built on significant pillars — wellness and lifestyle — but then that community piece is what brings everything together.”

The Roblox community is huge — more than 54 million people visit every day, spending an average of 2.5 hours on the platform each day. And many of those visitors spend a significant portion of their time online dressing and styling their avatars, Wootten noted. “About one in five of our daily active users changes their avatar every day. Typically they do go in and change up their look, which is really important to them. It’s how they’re expressing themselves.”

Consumer trends

Explore more about the behaviors of Gen Z and other consumers groups.

That self-expression represents an exciting opportunity for Roblox and retail brands to  bring physical products to the metaverse, create digital-only products or even create products with the audience. Gen Z in particular wants to “feel like their favorite brands are listening to them,” Wootten explained.

For other brands that want to enter the metaverse, Vendette recommends diving in and getting to know the metaverse firsthand. “The single most important piece of advice is to spend time in those platforms and get to know them. Obviously, you know your customers, but you need to know the experience in those platforms,” she said.

Vendette also recommends engaging in partnerships and seeing these platforms as an extension of your brand. “The more and more that we build and continue to lean into these partnerships and trust our partners who are experts in their platforms, the more successful that your brand experience will be.”

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