My Topics

31 January 2019

Four Strategies to Increase Sales of Virtual Goods in Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft and Second Life, provide a lucrative platform for companies to sell virtual products to real-life people. A study in Journal of Marketing Communications reviews the research on this phenomenon and identifies four factors that increase virtual world players’ intent to buy virtual products.  

Take aways

  • To increase players’ intent to buy virtual goods in virtual worlds, marketers can use these four strategies: 
  1. Make virtual worlds enjoyable for players 
  2. Show recommendations of the virtual goods by other players 
  3. Give players the possibility to customize their virtual characters  
  4. Make it easy for players to buy the virtual goods

Study information

  • Who?

    This study includes a literature review of 12 scientific articles.

  • Where?

    Studies were conducted in China, Finland, Taiwan, UK, and US.

  • How?

    The researchers searched systematically for relevant scientific studies in several online databases (for example, Web of Science and Science Direct). They then studied and compared these articles in a literature review.

Facts and findings

  • Players’ intent to buy virtual goods was higher when they enjoyed the virtual world more, when goods were recommended by others, when they were able to customize their virtual world character, and when buying goods was easily facilitated in the virtual world.  
  • In particular, entertaining virtual world activities organized by brands, such as games that can be played with other human players, increased players’ intent to buy virtual goods. 
  • Findings were consistent with Flow theory, which argues that high enjoyment can elicit a 'state of flow' during which players are more likely to buy products.