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5 Questions Every Luxury Brand Marketer in China is Asking


Question 1. How are Chinese brands and retailers bridging the gap between offline and online commerce?

In the words of Arthur Chang, UCO Cosmetic’s Co-Founder and Chairman, “e-commerce is dead.” Not because nobody buys online anymore, but the opposite.  E-commerce has become so prevalent in our current age that it shouldn’t stand apart from any other way to shop. Further on this point, simply selling products online doesn’t work anymore as a business strategy.


  • Luxury brands in particular need to utilise technologies and offer unique experiences to customers so that they are able to stand out among competitors.
  • Over the last several months, China’s biggest retailers have displayed their understanding of this need.
  • One such retailer, Mei.com has become China’s leading luxury e-commerce fashion platform. Not only does Mei.com seek to inspire its shoppers with a weekly magazine designed in-house by its team of 20 editors, but it’s also explored ways to speak with new and different customers.


Question 2. Live streaming seems to be all the rage. Are there really luxury and prestige brand success stories?

The best place to start when speaking about live streaming, is by looking at live streaming’s core audience, which is largely made up of China’s always-connected millennials, of which there are over 300 million Today’s Chinese millennials, like others around the world, are looking for meaningful experiences. As shared by Pablo Mauron of Digital Luxury Group, “The millennial generation will be the opportunity for the future. Their way of thinking is more complicated and they want to be inspired; they seek experiences and emotional connection, they’re not just a bystander.


  • In turn, live streaming has become a medium for them to express themselves and follow others that they respect or admire. After all, the realness of something live (live streaming) rather than the airbrushed and edited version of something that’s been staged in advance, is great appreciated.
  • Some brands have really taken this understanding to heart. L’Oréal-owned beauty brand, Maybelline, decided to live stream the announcement that Angelababy was it’s newest ambassadress.
  • With support from broadcasting platform Meipai, and with a direct link to its TMall store, Maybelline sold over 100,000 lipsticks in under two hours.



Question 3. Are augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) really relevant for a luxury audience?

Taobao’s virtual reality (VS) sets have reached over 300,000 sales per month, but with so much interest in VR these days, it’s no surprise that brands and retailers have been jumping on the bandwagon.


  • Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, has been reinventing retail with its 11.11 Single’s Day Global Shopping Festival, which takes place every year on November 11. This past year, augmented reality (AR) was used to drive traffic to offline stores in China prior to 11.11.
  • Over 30,000 stores participated in the “Catch the Small Cat” AR game and more than 70 million people played the game via the mobile Taobao app, generating more than 1.7 billion interactions.


Similarly, virtual reality (VR) allowed consumers to sample and purchase items from around the world. As reported in Vice, nearly 8 million users experienced VR shopping on Buy+, a VR shopping channel created by Alibaba, with seven international stores (including Target, Costco, and Macy’s).


  • Though VR is booming, it is still important to remeorting people at a venue. Thimber that it’s very much in its infancy, especially for luxury brands. When luxury brands are considering offering an experience through VR, it has to be first considered not just be seen as the hot new “toy” but as a way for a brand to tell a story that makes sense for its audience.


Question 4. How can I use WeChat to develop a social CRM strategy and better deliver personalized content to my audience?

This was a question that John Hamilton, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts’ Director of Marketing Communications for the APAC region, asked himself. Tasked with defining the online experience for an Asian audience, Hamilton knew that WeChat would need to activated to best connect and engage with existing and prospective clients in China.


  • Unique to the hospitality industry is the fact that Four Seasons does not have a loyalty program, the system by which most hotel groups learn about their customers. Working together with Digital Luxury Group as their social media agency of record in China, Four Seasons began optimising the hotel group’s WeChat experience in order to better understand consumer demands.
  • There were several key challenges that Four Seasons had to work through when getting started including there being limited follower data available to them on WeChat, activities had been limited to broadcasting messages without a lot of feedback from the audience, and it was difficult to drive bookings from WeChat.
  • With those challenges in mind, a CRM approach was built. First, advanced analytics were put in place to better understand follow behaviors and actions. Next, audience segmentation and targeted content was unveiled with a goal to personalize the message. And finally, the audience was given a call-to-action when appropriate, and their intent to book was better tracked.



  • One important insight in this case was that Four Seasons learned to not underestimate the power of smaller communities. By segmenting according to interests, they were able to implement customised messages and generate better results.
  • While more insights were shared, the basic takeaway for brands and companies looking to start their WeChat CRM was that by analyzing who your audience is and what they’re most interested in, you can easily start to push targeted messages to targeted groups at the most opportune time, resulting in better call-to-action results.


Question 5. Which luxury watch brands are resonating most with Chinese digital natives?

Chinese digital natives (those born after 1990) represent the customer base of the future for expensive luxury brands in China. Even at price points far above their reach for the moment, China’s young adults are showing great interest in the brands they respect.


  • According to Baidu, the leading search engine of China, the luxury watch brands that are capturing the most interest from this important audience are Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
  • Baidu’s Grace Zhang also shared exclusive numbers on the Chinese Digital Native (aka Post-90’s) generation, including their points of interest, behaviors, and data specifically related to luxury goods. Watch the full video presentation.
  • Cartier’s lead is heavily linked to their chosen spokesperson, Lu Han, mentioned above, the well known singer and actor that is loved among China’s millennials who Cartier China considers one of the most popular representations of China’s new generation.



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