As with the nature of marketing, brands want to access potential customers wherever they may gather and for a 2022 Christmas it looks like BeReal, Roblox and, of course, TikTok are the places to go. 

This year, however, brands must compete for consumer dollars that are being squeezed by inflation. Brands spent the past year experimenting with metaverse platforms, beefing up their influencer marketing strategies and toying with social commerce, and learnings from these emerging platforms are starting to seep into holiday shopping pushes.

However, analytics and statistics on social commerce purchases are uncertain especially with western TikTok shopping features struggling significantly behind those of China. Therefore, combined with inflation, it is tricky for brands to put a finger on a prediction for social commerce purchases this year. 

American Eagle plans on testing out BeReal by focusing on a new product every day and giving out a promo code to track if the app is driving sales. For example, the brand recently posted a BeReal featuring an oversized crew neck sweatshirt. The discount for the sweatshirt was automatically applied online the day it was featured.

American Eagle will also tap creators for a TikTok hashtag challenge the weekend before Thanksgiving to bring attention to holiday outfits. The #AEHolidayCard challenge will have creators staging their holiday card photo shoot in American Eagle apparel. Viewers can do the challenge themselves, and winners will receive printed versions of their holiday cards as well as an American Eagle gift card.

The college wear company has previously found success utilising AR, and it will once again use Snapchat to create augmented reality pop-up stores in the app with themes of outdoor adventure, friend getaways and holiday parties. “They generate about $2 million in sales, which is pretty good when you think about each of the shops having about 20 products up for a couple of weeks,” said American Eagle CMO Craig Brommers.

Brooks Running, which recently launched a campaign with David Harbour (the Daddy off Stranger Things), is leaning into Pinterest! Reason being? The brand has seen high engagement with customers searching for how-to’s, such as stretching tight muscles, or for running gear, including trail shoes or reflective vests. The brand has a profile on Pinterest and runs paid ads on the platform using audience and keyword targeting. The ads focus on seasonal product launches and evergreen shopping ads.

“We thought Pinterest would be a strong mid-funnel channel, but we do see it perform through the funnel to sales,” said Brooks CMO Melanie Allen. “We like that we can show them a product that can help in what they are searching for.” 

Brooks Running is looking forward to reaching current and new running audiences after slower sales last year due to supply chain challenges, causing its media to focus on top-of-funnel brand awareness, rather than push sales with low inventory. For the brand, Reddit has also become a vehicle to reach male runners, especially around products that include technological innovations. And as more brands look to social channels to help shorten the number of clicks for a consumer to checkout, Brooks will use Instagram and Facebook Shops to make checkout faster. 

Metaverse opportunities are also being embraced this Christmas. “We are embracing opportunities to connect and celebrate physical and virtual identities and heavily leaning into the metaverse,” PacSun President Brie Olson said via email. Its Roblox location, Pacworld will have its own holiday shop with layered clothing options for users’ avatars, allowing them to wear, say, a tank top and a flannel. The apparel retailer is working with Lil Miquela, a virtual influencer who has 3 million followers on Instagram and was part of the retailer’s fall 2022 denim campaign. PacSun also plans to create NFTs as part of its loyalty program but declined to share specifics.

American Eagle, which has its Members Always world in Roblox’s Livetopia, will have a holiday market in Mount Crescent, a virtual ski resort in Roblox. Players will be able to try on digital clothing and play mini-games to earn $5 off coupons.

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