Lionel Sim, Jing Daily brand contributor, is the founder of China Tech Roundtable (互圆). China Tech Roundtable is a marketing agency specializing in educating and connecting global brands to China’s digital ecosystem. An expert on WeChat, here he explains why luxury brands can’t afford to skip WeChat marketing.
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Chinese luxury consumers are increasingly interacting with, and spending more time on, social media, so there is an escalating need for brands to connect with WeChat to market and brand themselves more effectively. The benefits of a WeChat presence include:
WeChat was launched in 2011 as Weixin – Mandarin for ‘micro-message’. As the name suggests, it originally functioned as a simple messenger app – a Chinese equivalent to WhatsApp in essence. WeChat was developed by and belongs to Chinese tech behemoth Tencent Holdings –one of the most valuable companies in the world, worth well over $500 billion as of mid-May 2020. Other names in the. WeChat marketing success stands for an established online brand in China. With nearly 100% penetration rate among smartphone users in China, WeChat (pinyin: Weixin, Chinese: 微信) is the most powerful social media platform in China. WeChat is a critical marketing tool for a company wanting to generate engagement and brand awareness in China. And building a successful presence starts with creating your official WeChat account and configuring it in line with WeChat best practice.
1. Access to a large user base reaching deep into new markets in China
WeChat has more than 1 billion users globally. Luxury brands on WeChat are able to reach that audience and effectively showcase their brand identity to potential Chinese customers in smaller cities like Chengdu and Hangzhou, which are future luxury hubs in China.
2. Clear conversion analytics and tracking
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Luxury brands that engage in WeChat advertising are able to clearly track ad conversion metrics such as profile views, click-through rate, and ad conversion rate. Brands are able to utilize this information to craft effective digital marketing strategies for their seasonal promotional campaigns.
3. Online-to-offline integrated marketing
WeChat has many features and functionalities such as WeChat official accounts, Moments Ads and mini-programs, etc.
All these online interactions are able to be integrated into an offline environment. A luxury shopper can preview product information online through mini-program and book a VIP appointment online or be invited to preview exclusive products and services offline in a specialty retail store.
One successful example is the Longchamp mini-program whereby customers could purchase the company’s luxury bags online and collect the bags offline in retail stores.
4. Social interactivity within WeChat
WeChat’s biggest strength is social. Hence, luxury brands can form a personal yet interactive engagement with users through features such as social gamification marketing tools. For example, Gucci allows users to download personalized wallpapers and stickers in the mini-program to share with their social networks.
For luxury customers, the ability to connect to brands at a much more intimate level is critical. This is especially true when consumers are accessing the information digitally or through social recommendations from their friends and peers.
This perceived affiliation with luxury brands will strengthen overall brand engagement and loyalty.
5. Full control of brand identity
Luxury brands are able to have full autonomy and flexibility in building their own brand identity on WeChat. They are empowered with WeChat’s tools to create creative and interactive content to engage luxury consumers.
WeChat features such as Brand Zone allow luxury brands to effectively illustrate their brand story and allows users to share exclusive content with their social networks. Other functionalities such as Digital Concierge allow consumers to directly reach brands if they have inquiries or need assistance.
Luxury brands such as Dior and Tod’s have all built up their own branded WeChat stores with an integrated suite of buying and support services. Hermes has also set up a support channel on mini-program to assist before and after sales support. Customers could also prebook an appointment to view favorite items.
Lionel Sim is the Founder of CTR Interactive. CTR Interactive empowers Global Brands with market & tech intelligence to expand their social and digital capabilities in China and global markets.
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