More holiday-themed NFTs this year?

by: Zain Alami10/31/2022

Quick Summary Holiday-themed NFTs are sure to be the appetizing conversation starters this Thanksgiving when it comes to how brands plan on utilizing the virtual space to expand their community. 

Today, products are not just being sold in the physical world. Or better yet;  products are not just being sold in the physical and digital worlds. In today’s interconnected shopping landscape, customers are looking to shop for products through physical, digital and virtual channels. Leading merchants are quickly realizing the need to actively target the digital realms and virtual spaces to captive consumer attention, incentivize user engagement and generate new revenue streams which are expected to reach $800 billion by 2024, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Since Black Friday Crypto deals have been around for several years now, holiday-themed NFTs are sure to be the appetizing conversation starters this Thanksgiving when it comes to how brands plan on utilizing the virtual space to expand their community. 

What are NFTs? 

Think Nike Air Jordan 1s worn and signed by Michael Jordan or Darth Vader’s helmet worn by actor David Prowse in "Star Wars Episode V or Audrey Hepburn's working script from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" or even Serena Williams smashed tennis Racket. Those are all irreplaceable, auctioned collectibles that can’t be traded for other similar items of the same value. Same with NFTs. 

NFTs, non-fungible tokens, are unique digital avatars of artworks and collectibles that are based on blockchains. But unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs cannot be traded or exchanged at equivalency since each of them is unique and is valued differently.

By introducing NFT collections, brands are breaking away from traditional content distribution and are creating new revenue streams through the tokenization of digital content that can then be monetized. Having said that and given that consumers are mentally and financially ready to spend their dollars around the holidays, one can’t help but think of the approaching sale season as the perfect opportunity for merchants to test out the water of the Metaverse and roll out holiday-themed NFT. 

If you are looking for inspiration, here is how brands and retailers did it last year. 

4 Brands/Retailers that reinvented the holiday season with NFTs in 2022

1. Macy’s: Parade NFT

To celebrate its 95 Thanksgiving Day Parades, Macy’s — one of the largest department stores in the United States— pulled all the stops to take an innovative approach to its classic celebration by launching a “Macy’s Parade NFT” which featured a limited-edition mint of 9,510 Parade balloon NFTs. 

Macy's hit two birds with one stone by aligning brand innovation with their social responsibility; 10 balloon NFTs were actioned off to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation while the other 9,500 were given away for free on a first-come-first-served basis so that 10% of every sale will forever go to Make-A-Wish.

2. Martha Stewart: The First Thanksgiving "remembering"

From tried-and-true recipes and DIY crafts tips to home and holiday decor, we have all witnessed the growth of the Martha Stewart brand. Last year, Martha Stewart has launched Thanksgiving-themed nonfungible tokens on her website, MarthaFRESHMint, featuring audio recordings of Stewart's Thanksgiving memories.

Martha Stewert centered her holiday NFTs around the concept of “storytelling” - a secret weapon that has long been used by marketers and eCommerce merchants to narrate the story behind their brands and offering in order to boost sales by appealing to their consumers' emotional senses.

3. Ralph Lauren: The Winter Escape

In December of 2021, Ralph Lauren launched the ultimate holiday experience “The Winter Escape” on Roblox, a virtual world, where customers can ice skate with friends, browse The Polo Shops, customize hot chocolate at Ralph’s Coffee, and decorate the Holiday Tree.

Ralph Lauren released multiple collections of exclusive branded pieces which fans could purchase for their avatars with the in-game currency Robux. By taking this gamified approach and leveraging the virtual world to build communities, Ralph Lauren engaged actively in the metaverse and took both product releases and brand-customer relationships to a whole new level.

4. Ali Baba: Double 11 Metaverse Art Exhibition

Riding on the NFT wave is eCommerce giant Alibaba's Tmall shopping platform, which rolled out a "Double 11 Metaverse Art Exhibition" on its mobile app in parallel to its famous Single Day Shopping event. Luxury brands such as Burberry, Coach, Kiehl’s, and Swiss watchmaker Longines to name a few have actively taken part in China's shopping metaverse by releasing specially-created NFT offerings for the event.

The most interesting aspect of this campaign is that when consumers purchase the Double 11 limited edition of a physical product such as a Burberry scarf, they can get a complimentary “digital collection,” or NFT.  Not only does this campaign exemplify the convergence between the virtual and physical worlds, but also embodies a new approach to Gift with Purchase (GWP) that brands can leverage on to show off their innovation and their relativeness to emerging trends.  

Whether was it for the purpose of social responsibility, storytelling, gamification, or redefining gifts with purchase, NFTs hold value to merchants and their customers beyond the value of the token itself. The main value stems from the community NFTs can build, the sense of exclusivity they can drive, and the innovation they will signify. Much like what we saw last holiday season and what we expect to see this approaching season.

It’s no doubt that testing the waters of Web3 will seem overwhelming at first but same as with Web1 and Web2, early adoption and continuous experimentation will attract great rewards. To reap the benefits of the new virtual era, brands are encouraged to explore the space with authenticity and an eye on the future. Through close observation of the successes and failures of early adopters and carrying-out multiple rounds of trial and error, eCommerce merchants should come to have a sense of what the metaverse holds for their brand community. 

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