As a result of urbanization, growing disposable income, and social media influence, China’s beauty market is facing a burgeoning demand for higher quality, premium, high-end brand products. However, Chinese customers are proven less and less loyal to brands given the wide range of choices between national and international beauty brands in the Chinese market. Chinese consumers are not substantially loyal to brands, but they buy products based on:
- what they like,
- products at discounted prices,
- something beneficial for them.
It is difficult to find Chinese consumers who buy products of the same brands for life, they like to change and try new things. Therefore, both local and foreign brands need to find more relevant ways to establish a long-lasting image and relationship with their Chinese consumers. Brand Loyalty in China is complicated, therefore how can beauty brands build customer loyalty in China? Here we will give you some tips on how to build brand loyalty in China.
How to build brand loyalty in China?
If a brand wishes to expand to the Chinese market, it’s necessary to understand how to build brand loyalty in the country. Cultural differences make the Chinese market a minefield for marketers, therefore, brands need to customize their customer loyalty strategy to meet the expectations of an audience with a unique cultural background.
- study the behavior of your customers,
- push content that is relevant to them,
- and use a customer loyalty program to bring in more loyalty.
5 tips for a beauty brand to build customers loyalty in China
1. Increase reliability by offering sample products
Nothing works like giving free samples of your product, especially in the beauty sector. It is the type of product that customers would like to hear, smell and see before making a decision. Chinese customers tend not to trust brands or products they don’t know. This is an excellent way to increase the reliability of your brand and products among Chinese customers.
In addition to offering a sample of the product, a company should suggest products that it believes will be useful to customers and offer them at a discounted rate, everyone loves a good discount. When brands offer rewards like this, they create a sense of excitement in the minds of Chinese customers as well as leaving a print on their minds, which helps tremendously with brand loyalty.
This technique is also very useful for getting feedback on new products and creating online hype through beauty Kols on reviews apps such as a little red book. In this way, you can understand are new trends and needs of your consumers, which as we have already said are completely different from the western ones and are constantly changing.
In this way, brands would be able to know how to improve a product.
Brands can also send samples only to customers who have become “VIP” customers. VIP customers are people who usually:
- interact with you on your social media platforms,
- subscribe to the newsletter,
- others such as Kols.
2. Exclusive VIP club for your Chinese customers
You should always value your existing customers, which means you need to make them feel like valued members of the community. One good way is by arranging one-on-one meetings before launching a new product or service so they can give feedback on what might work best for their business needs in advance!
Exclusivity and being part of a “tribe” play an important role in Chinese society and culture. Therefore, creating a VIP club within your loyalty program is a great option for developing brand loyalty. This functions as an internal circle, which can only be accessed by more dedicated members who in return receive access to specific group benefits.
Do you want to create a sense of exclusivity among your customer base? Here are a few ways that can be done:
- Waiting lists and pre-order lists – To create hype and anticipation for your next big launch, try limiting the number of available products. You can do this by creating a pre-order list or waiting list with all new launches;
- Deadlines – when offers are only around for a limited time, it creates urgency in customers and makes them feel like they’re getting something that others won’t be able to get.
- Contests & Giveaways – Creates engagement and hype, especially for a limited collection or a prelaunch. You can run this type of campaign through Chinese social media such as Weibo & Little Red Book or through a Kol Campaign for more views.
- Membership clubs – set up a members-only group for your best customers and offer them special privileges to make the most of their experience. This can easily be achieved through the Wechat Mini program for instance.
If Chinese consumers receive particular and exclusive benefits from your brand, why shouldn’t they go back to buying your products?
3. Customized products for Chinese beauty customers
Chinese customers love personalized products, everyone wants to feel special and would like to believe that the product was built exclusively for them.
For example, when Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty, her makeup line, it had 40 different shades of foundation available for the customer. Fenty Beauty has pursued the “beauty for all” mission to create a diversified range of make-up shades, representing as many ethnic groups and skin types as possible.
Other brands have developed methods to create this product customization, for example, to use facial recognition to analyze people’s skin to match them with the right products.
4. User-Generated Content (UGC) is the best recommendation for Chinese beauty customers
This is the best way to get more mentions on social media, more traffic, and, more importantly, drive loyalty like no other. UGC is pivotal for your brand’s growth because Chinese people trust recommendations from people who are like them. They would be more convinced to buy a product if it were to be recommended by a customer rather than a brand advertising campaign.
Brands should ask questions in a fun and engaging way and incentivize members to share personal information regarding their values, interests, and lifestyle.
Chinese buyers are not impulsive buyers and will always look for information before purchasing new products. One of their way of doing research is through forums and Q&A platforms like Zhihu.
These platforms offer tools for verified accounts to publish content and are a perfect place to create a community around beauty.
- Create and join such communities
- engage with them
- collaborate with KOLs
- push them to interact as much as possible.
5. Create a community of users for your beauty brand in China
Nothing guides the loyalty of Chinese consumers like having a community of users of your brand in the same place. The beauty industry in China is led by other customers who share tips and recommend products.
The brand should leverage the community to deliver more value to its customers.
With a community of users available to you, it’s about extending your imagination to give them more reasons to stay with you as a loyal customer.
You can also read our full guide on the Top Marketing Strategies to Succeed in the Beauty Market
How can a beauty brand manage its community in China?
Tools to manage your community in China:
Marketers who wish to foster brand loyalty in China should master platforms like Wechat, Weibo Xiaohongshu, and Douyin, otherwise, they won’t be able to reach this wide audience.
Wechat is the best tool to develop brand loyalty
Wechat is a tool to make your customer loyal, by providing them with useful information and helping them to meet other, consumers, with the same profile.
WeChat mini-programs are a good way to develop customer loyalty because, through the creation of the brand mini-program, people can receive special information and discounts. In this way brands give people new reasons to buy, showing:
- new products
- new products design
- products benefits
- brand information
With these mini-programs, brands can follow customer purchase phases and brand understanding phases. In this way, it is possible to divide them into new customers, old customers, people who never buy, or people who have bought and are available for re-buy.
Mini programs offer brands better segmentation of followers and therefore can send more target messages to these people.
WeChat Community management
On WeChat, there are groups in which it is possible to create communities in which it is possible to share offers and new products, but it is not really for consumers, because they do not like to be all in the same group. It is more of a community to animate new offers and new brand ideas aimed at new potential buyers.
Sellers who chat directly with consumers are also an excellent option for community management, but the brand must not forget that Chinese consumers expect high-quality sellers who offer customers a special relationship.
How to localize your marketing strategy in the Chinese market?
Localization is the key to brand loyalty in China
The biggest challenge to winning in China is understanding the difference between Eastern and Western customer behavior.
In China, you cannot simply translate your message and expect the same level of interest from an audience with a different background.
Cultural conversations should be permanent and require long-term investment, only in this way can brands establish valuable relationships with consumers. In addition, brands must incorporate a digital strategy that speaks specifically to Chinese customers, making the brand’s history more relevant to Chinese consumers with the help of local communication channels.
Brands should follow beauty trends such as the widespread lipstick consumption among Chinese customers and the use of relevant KOLs in this sector to influence and obtain reliability from customers.
Localized content and channels for Chinese culture and constantly changing customers’ needs
- Firstly, Having a Chinese website fully customized for local customers is a good option as a window of the brand’s value and products. However, a deep-seated presence on Chinese social media platforms before creating a Chinese website is essential to reach Chinese customers.
- Secondly, collaborating with KOLs is useful to spread your message.
- Last but not least, brands should react to the latest trend shifts immediately, to meet and reach the needs of Chinese consumers first. The Chinese consumer isn’t very loyal, so you’re constantly having to invent new products, deals, and gifts to keep them engaged.
What are the beauty trends to watch out in order to engage with Chinese customers?
Beauty products with natural ingredients, the use of live streaming, increasing in male beauty are some of the new trends in China’s beauty market. However, when we talk about brand loyalty 3 customers trends arise:
Digital is everywhere in China
Chinese customers discover brands via social media interactions or browsing deals on the internet. Therefore, having an omnichannel presence is necessary for China, even if you are focused primarily on selling on e-commerce platforms.
But what are the social media platforms to sell your products in China? These are completely different from the western ones, therefore the presence on these platforms is necessary for your brand loyalty. Examples of relevant Chinese social media platforms and e-commerce platforms for beauty brands are Wechat, Xiaohongshu (social networks), Douyin (short-video platform), Zhihu (Q&A platform) Tmall, JD, and Pinduoduo (e-commerce).
Interest in new and modern products
Chinese customers have an insatiable appetite for new and modern products, they are always looking to experiment with new products. If you can keep up and offer something new and exciting to your customers every week, they will no doubt continue to buy your products and become loyal buyers.
Reliability is everything for Chinese customers
Customers are very demanding when it comes to buying beauty products. They are very cautious in their choice and spend a lot of time online looking for information on companies and their products. Companies must earn their trust and to achieve this, you need to demonstrate that your products have real value and benefits.
The boom in live streaming in China is also due to this. Through live streaming, they can see what they are buying live and also trust more of your products and your brand thanks to the help of KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders and KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers).
Brand loyalty is a daunting task, but GMA is your solution
Achieving brand loyalty in China is a daunting task, but definitely not impossible. If you find the right way, you will no doubt see a significant increase in your profits.
With social media come communities and followers that need to be managed. You have to manage what they say, manage negative reviews smoothly, help people find the answer to their questions, conduct chats, guide followers, and entertain them. Your community manager will be the face of your brand on social media, it is better to be picky when choosing one.
If you are up to the challenge, we are willing to give you the information you need for success. Contact us! GMA provides a wide choice of marketing and promotion solutions to help you grow your business in China. We offer solutions for beauty brands like:
- Account Registration (Weibo, Douyin, Wechat, Little Red Book. We assist you with opening your official Account)
- Influencers, KOL & Celebrities (Use influencers, key opinion leaders and celebrities to give more power to your posts and campaign online especially in the beauty industry)
- Content Creation (It is extremely important to produce relevant and coherent contents, suitable for the Chinese cosmetics market)
- Manage Chinese Community (Manage well your community on Wechat or Weibo is difficult when you don’t know the specificity of the Chinese media landscape)
- Internet Word of Mouth – Buzz Marketing (Social media are the best way to spread viral buzz online and make netizens talk about your brand).
- Videos Marketing (Creat great short video to promote your brand on most popular Chinese social media especially for beauty brands).