UPDATE: July 28, 2020: DSW's TikTok hashtag challenge reached 1.3 billion views as of Tuesday morning.
- DSW started its first branded hashtag challenge on social video app TikTok, giving people a chance to win shoes and gift cards. The retailer is urging TikTok users to share videos of themselves wearing shoes for any occasion and to put the #TooManyShoes hashtag in the caption for a chance to win, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. As of the morning of July 27, videos with the hashtag were viewed more than 732.4 million times.
- DSW enlisted five influencers to promote the challenge and inspire others to join in, including Brittany Xavier (@brittany.xavier), Janina (@official_janina), Bria Jones (@heybriajones), Rodney Lee (@kidrl), Everett Williams (@iameverettwilliams). The company, which is owned by Designer Brands, worked with hip-hop singer Devmo and recording artist Julian Xtra on an original song for people to use in their videos.
- TikTok users have a chance to win a full closet of shoes, and DSW is giving away 10 gift cards valued at $500 each. DSW started the challenge on Saturday, and it ends today, per its announcement.
DSW's first branded hashtag challenge on TikTok is part of its broader effort to show its selection of brands, prices and styles for any occasion. With the back-to-school shopping season starting next week, the retailer wants to reach an audience of younger consumers who are heavy users of social media and will be making decisions on what clothing to buy for fall.
The coronavirus pandemic likely will disrupt the back-to-school season as educational institutions grapple with decisions on how to reopen, possibly with a mix of classroom teaching and remote learning. Those decisions will affect what kinds of clothing people will buy, and DSW wants to demonstrate how its stores offer shoppers greater flexibility and choices. With home-based learning cutting demand for multiple outfits, families are expected to spend slightly less on clothing than they did last year, the National Retail Federation estimates.
By enlisting influencers to help spread the word about its #TooManyShoes campaign, DSW can boost the reach among consumers whose opinions are shaped by social media personalities. Almost two-thirds (61%) of people ages 18 to 34 said influencers have swayed their decision-making at some point, per a survey by Econsultancy. The power of social media personalities to affect consumer opinion supports spending on influencer marketing, which is forecast to reach $15 billion by 2022 from $8 billion last year, Business Insider Intelligence estimated based on Mediakix data.
The campaign may help DSW to rebound from a difficult period of temporary store closures as state and local authorities implemented lockdowns, causing shoppers to avoid stores and the economy to contract. DSW's parent company Designer Brands reported a yearly 45% plunge in net sales to $483 million in its most recently completed quarter. Comparable-store sales dropped 42% during the period, reversing a 3% gain a year earlier, per a quarterly report. The company had expected to reopen almost all of its North American stores by the end of June.
DSW is the latest company to run a branded hashtag challenge on TikTok to reach its U.S. audience, which surged 48% to 52.2 million unique users during the first three months of the year as lockdowns went into effect, per Comscore data cited by eMarketer. The amount of time that people spend on TikTok jumped 26% to an average of 858 minutes in March, a significant indication of the platform's ability to keep audiences engaged with viral content. However, amid growing political tensions between the U.S. and China, TikTok faces a chance of being banned in the U.S. because of concerns about national security.