Christmas time is usually a time when brands go shopping with pop-ups to come up with gift ideas and raise consumer awareness. But the pandemic has forced brand marketers to devise strategies on how to safely implement those experiences without completely losing the magic of in-person gift shopping.
The Bustle Digital Group is attempting a virtual retail experience with a free 21-day activation for consumers. Shop Holiday: 21 Days of Gifting aims to enhance online shopping through an interactive digital rendering of an open-air, snow-covered holiday market.
Throughout the experience, which began November 27 and will last through December 18, readers will be able to purchase products and freebies from seven branded partners: Samsung, Kohls, Gap, Intimissimi, Carolina Herrera, Unilevers Talenti, and Amazon Prime Video.
Bustle Digital Group
Jason Wagenheim, President and Chief Revenue Officer of Bustle Digital Group, said the publisher produces more than 30 advertising and editorial events annually under its nine media brands. December is reserved for the women’s lifestyle platform Zoe Report’s Let It Zoe event, a winter-themed get-together in Los Angeles where around 300 influencers offer a preview of the essence of brands’ vacation.
When the media company viewed a physical vacation experience as unsafe earlier this year, Wagenheim said its in-house marketing team had spent the last three months planning and running the retail event in partnership with the Mark Stephen Experiential Agency.
“Experiential generates a lot of sponsorship income, a high level of user engagement and offers us the opportunity to have one-on-one discussions with readers on a different level,” said Wageneheim. “With people most likely stuck at home on vacation this year, we wanted to get as close as possible to recreating the mood and energy of vacation shopping in a virtual world. We wanted [highlight] Our best brands in a shopping experience that brings an old fashioned vacation market to the market [consumers’] Houses. “
The adventure, where you can access your desktop and mobile phone, invites guests to navigate the kiosks around a fire pit. Wagenheim described the aesthetic of the event as “Minecraft has morphed into a Bryant Park-inspired vacation shopping experience”.
Bustle Digital Group
Each kiosk contains snowflake and gift icons that refer to interactive gift recommendations or redirect to the brand’s website. Certain kiosks also offer the option of buying directly from the microsite. For example, Gap and Kohl’s offer personality tests that customers can use to determine which items to buy for friends or family. Meanwhile, Unilever’s self-care shop has links to helpful editorial content such as “14 self-care products under $ 10 to buy this winter”.
In addition to the partner kiosks, the experience also includes a daily giveaway station hosted by Elite Daily. a virtual DJ booth and a photo booth; and a main stage of instructional videos led by editors from the Bustle Digital Group, including instructions on how to give away game consoles.
“The driver for the strategy here was the way we could build a community around this experience,” said Wagenheim.
Wagenheim noted that the Bustle Digital Group has the ability to easily and instantly track metrics and measure their success. Since the company estimates around 10,000 people will take part in the experience, Wagenheim says its in-house team will measure how many people interact with each boutique, how much time they spend at each kiosk, and how many clicks and conversions each kiosk gets.