Selling online in China post-COVID-19
The health emergency seems to be slowly easing and while many companies in the luxury & fashion industry recommence their activities, strategies for combating the economic crisis caused by the pandemic are beginning to emerge.
Now that the dynamics of the fashion and luxury market have been re-designed by the Coronavirus crisis, exploiting e-commerce to return to attack the Chinese market is one of the ways for the recovery.
With the fashion weeks and fashion shows either postponed or cancelled and with luxury travellers grounded awaiting for flights and borders to reopen, promoting and selling online is of key priority for involving the Chinese public, increasingly attracted by the universe of the Made in Italy luxury.
E-commerce in China and COVID-19
Studying the market after the pandemic helps to understand how to move and which channels to bet on in developing your effective action plan.
Between February and April, there has been an increase in luxury goods e-commerce sales, especially in the larger and more prosperous urban areas. The e-commerce sector recorded in China an interesting trend, particularly among the over 35 age group.
The lockdown changed the buying habits of Chinese consumers, bringing online many Baby Boomers (1946-1960) who still have purchasing power, thus expanding the range of users to involve and conquer.
Digital marketing as an antidote to the crisis
An effective strategy, therefore, must necessarily focus on the digital world with the objective of including all sectors of the public by stimulating their interest and purchasing intentions. The web allows to follow, detect and seamlessly involve the target audience, thanks to a plurality of highly flexible platforms capable of working synergistically.
Social media provide a constant showcase for luxury & fashion products, allowing a dialogue with both corporate websites and e-commerce portals and dedicated marketplaces. A digital advertising system allows to accompany the target audience from one channel to another, intercepting their needs and also creating new ones.
Communication and marketing efforts must therefore be aimed at creating a true brand experience through the network, which is after all what the Chinese users expect.
An innovative approach, from WeChat to live streaming
For succeeding in conquering the demanding Chinese public and strengthen your sales strategies, there is the need for an ecosystem that focuses on effectiveness and innovation, overturning the foundations of the luxury market, intended as an exclusive experience that users must find and conquer.
Indeed, today it is up to the brands to consistently present and propose their experience in order to follow and engage their target audience How?
Using, for example, the pop-up stores on WeChat
Fresh in style and with a high engagement rate, the most popular Chinese messaging app offers the possibility to create real pop-up digital stores thanks to Mini Programs, the completely interactive sub-applications developed by Tencent. A functional and very useful shortcut, both to build brand awareness and facilitate the purchase of products. Louis Vuitton and Prada are among the first brands to pursue this path.
Presenting yourself with live streaming influencers
Creating captivating content is an art and doing it live with influencers readily recognisable by the public, who therefore has the possibility to observe live something unique, is even better. Live streaming with local key opinion leaders (KOLs) can give your brand and products a fast push in exposure and act as an accelerant for online purchases. The ideal platforms for this type of activity are TikTok and WeChat.
Developing virtual reality projects
Fashion shows cancelled and stores closed? No problem. There is the virtual reality that allows users to immerse in a true brand experience while sitting only a few centimetres away from the catwalk, or stroll along the shelves of an exclusive store, without ever leaving home. All it takes is a latest generation viewer and you are away. It is difficult to assess the real commercial impact of similar initiatives, but they can certainly be called lavish.
Investing in interactive advertising
Without advertising, the content produced by luxury brands, however original and influential it may be, would risk reaching only a limited audience. The future of advertising is interactive and able to invite users ‒ also through influencers and live streaming ‒ to perform relevant actions (purchases, donations, sharing), involving and engaging them on the most popular platforms.
In short, advertising squares the circle and relaunches the luxury & fashion challenge to digitalisation with the aim of exploring the full potential of the Chinese online market.