The luxury market attracts Chinese consumers. The Chinese are very connected, so the best way to efficiently target the Chinese market is through digital. So, foreign brands must use Chinese social media networks to penetrate this market and meet the demand of the Chinese population.
To be a successful luxury brand in China, you must be connected!
The giant Taobao, owned by Alibaba Group, represents 60% of the e-commerce market in China. In 2008, they opened the site Tmall. This site currently boasts $3 billion in revenue for its brands. It currently hosts 70,000 brands and 40,000 merchants and attracts more than 180 million customers each day. In 2009, Alibaba created the social network Taojianghu to be closer to its customers and to increase the use of the Internet by Chinese people. This social network allows users to post items they like on Taobao, and ask advice from their friends before buying. The advantage for network users to post is that the best customers receive discount coupons on their next purchase.
Taobao also has a platform for international consumers, called Taobaofocus. It’s different from other intermediaries by offering service without the minimum required control, no limit to the amount of the order, but also the costs of really cheap service. TaobaoFOCUS.com offers the biggest discounts for the international shipment of China’s parcels around the world, including delivery in Canada, France, Belgium, etc. Moreover, the site offers the purchase of service in French, English and Chinese. You can use the language that suits you the most !
Xiu specializes in the sale of luxury goods and fashion. The group has created a partnership with eBay in November 2013, allowing the eBay to sell its products on the Chinese platform. In the agreement, Xiu.com is responsible for sales management, logistics and customer service in Chinese. Xiu is also responsible for translating Chinese inventory for eBay and setting up a research system tailored to Chinese customers. Ebay now has a development center in Shanghai.
Meilishuo is a Chinese version of Pinterest. The website has partnerships with famous foreign brands like L’Oréal and Procter and Gamble. Founded in 2009, it specializes in women’s fashion. It mainly focuses on women 20-35 years and women called “white collar” (office lady), who are interested in fashion and have a great purchasing power in China. About 35% of users Meilishuo live in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. There are also many users who come from booming areas, such Jiangsu, Zhejiang and other provinces of China.Chinese consumers can find their ideal clothing, and cosmetics that match their skin type. Users can buy shoes, accessories, a complete outfit from top to bottom. Users can get advice from experts, join groups of buyers, share online shopping links and information on their favorite products and also read online magazines. When they surf on the Meilishuo website, they feels like walking in a mall. The number of registered users has reached 150 million since its launch in March 2010. The daily volume of a user is 3.2 million, while the daily views are 164 million pages.
Sina Weibo is a Chinese microblogging site created in 2009. After only a few months of existence, the site had more than 50 million users. In April 2014, Weibo made its debut on the New York stock exchange. Sina Weibo is a mix between Twitter and Facebook. Users can find information about recent events, track topics and debates. Cybernauts can also create their own page and share what they want on it. Chinese consumers who are wary of advertisements use this social network to share and discuss the latest on what’s trendy or not. Thus, foreign luxury brands can target this social network to attract customers. Sina Weibo is a very popular network in China with a rather young population aged between 15 and 35 years.
Shangpin, launched in July 2010, is a start-up based in Beijing. It offers top European labels like Gucci, to Chinese consumers during limited-time online sales. For Chinese, it’s hard to buy designer goods outside of major cities such as Shanghai. Although, all Chinese cities are filled with potential luxury consumers, who want to buy luxury brands. Shangpin offers a multitude of products on its site, handbags, shoes, accessories, jewelry and watches by luxury brands as Dolce & Gabbana, Mont Blanc, and Versace. All of the products are authenticated, which is very important because China does have some problems with knock-offs. The goods are delivered in elegant black bags with sumptuous gold lettering. Shangpin has particularly promoted the famous French brand Lanvin, you can read this article here.
Luxury brands in China should stay aware of the changing luxury market landscape. Adapting your strategy accordingly to the rise of the Chinese middle class and their craving for hyper connection via social networks is critical (more about the luxury market here).
The Chinese trust user to user recommandations and hold them in very high esteem. Using Chinese social networks for your brand will help you to for a trustworthy and lasting luxury image in China.