Monday, 26 July 2010

My latest obsession..... Retail Therapy!

Ok I have been indulging in a different type of retail therapy over the weekend, in the form of new virtual Facebook game Retail Therapy! The insanely addictive new game from PopSugar enables you to mix and match your favourite brands (including Diane von Furstenberg, Gap, Topshop, Barneys New York, Banana Republic, Juicy Couture, and Tory Burch), play with your friends, and feel the experience of running your very own high-end fashion boutique! You can create and dress up your own avatar, hire your friends (we have all hired each other!) and decorate your store as it grows. 
The user selects items to sell from a catalogue of virtual goods which are actually replicas of real life, in-season products from the retail partners (I actually owns several of the items from Topshop!). Players can buy any of the items in real-life by clicking a link that redirects to the designers' e-commerce sites. Sugar says that the catalogue of items to choose from will be refreshed frequently to reflect any real world changes such as new product launches. With each new level— there are currently more than 45— you unlock new products for purchase. However, until you hit the higher levels the choice of items to sell can get a bit boring as there is not much variety on each level.
The game has pretty much taken over my life as timing is key! For example, when you order stock for your store you must make sure you can log-on to unpack the items otherwise they will get eaten by moths!
In order to maximise the game’s potential, I think it would be more exciting if PopSugar could expand the offering from just fashion items. For example, beauty products could be sold alongside fashion items to make the game more appealing to users who might not be interested solely in fashion. It would also be better if you could buy products to sell in your store from other stores, so you can make a profit at your neighbours’ expense! Finally in order to maximise social media, a Twitter account solely for Retail Therapy alongside the Facebook page would ensure fans are updated regularly with news and special time-sensitive offers. For example, a 

Twitter update giving users the chance to buy a limited-edition item to sell in your shop would help ensure excitement levels are maintained and people are following you religiously! Unless you are obsessed like us, users may lose interest as it can take a while to jump through the levels and you are not incentivised to keep playing by PopSugar to stay ahead of the fashion pack.

Who has played Retail Therapy? Why not have a go yourself and become my neighbour! I might even employ you to work in my shop!
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