China is a country of luxury, and it’s not limited to brands. Consumers in China are embracing the new wave of luxury with open arms. As Western brands continue to enter the Chinese market, they should look at how consumers in China use WeChat as an avenue for purchasing items that define their social status.
In this article, we will be discussing how WeChat has created a new marketing opportunity for marketers (and mainly luxury jewellery brands as the segment is growing) looking to reach these high-end consumers who may not even have access to or interest in traditional advertising channels such as print media and TV commercials. Let’s delve into this topic and see if you can come up with your own ideas on how best to.
Luxury in China: A Prosperous Industry
While the luxury jewelry industry is declining in most of the countries, it is on the other hand booming in China, as wealthy Chinese consumers do not travel as much as before due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, the luxury industry is one of the most profitable in China for foreign brands. According to Bain & Company, this industry will account for 50% of the worldwide luxury purchase by 2025.
Moreover, while luxury brands were struggling all over the world, it was the Chinese audience that was generating sales. Since the majority of luxury sales come from China, it is important for you to develop your business in China if possible, by selling your jewelry on e-commerce platforms and promoting your brand on social media.
According to a report published by McKinsey, the Chinese luxury industry was worth more than $141 billion as of 2020 and is expected to reach $188 billion in 2025.
The Luxury Jewelry Market in China
Generally speaking, garments, accessories, jewelry, watches, fragrances, and cosmetics are considered to be driving elements of the luxury market. And, together with watches, the luxury jewelry industry in China is part of what we call “hard luxury”, which is different from accessories, fashion, and cosmetics (“soft materials”).
The luxury jewelry industry has been popular in China for more than a decade, and many international brands were able to stand out, such as LVMH’s Bvlgari and Cartier, Piaget, Richemont, etc. However, the competition is getting tougher for foreign brands with the rising popularity of local brands such as Lao Feng Xiang (老凤祥), Chow Sang Sang (周生生) and Luk Fook (六福).
Given these numbers, it is clear that China leads in a growing appetite for luxury goods, just after Europe.
WeChat: An Amazing Tool for Luxury Brands
As part of China’s digitalization, social media are now part of Chinese people’s life and brands already know that they have to be present online. However, there are many social media apps in China, and it can be difficult to know which app we should focus on at first. Being the most popular app in China, WeChat is a must-have for luxury brands that want to increase their visibility, communicate with their consumers, create marketing campaigns and increase their brand’s awareness.
What is WeChat?
WeChat has become a social media juggernaut in China with more than 1.2 billion users as of 2021, but it wasn’t always that way! Created by the Chinese company Tencent and first released back in 2011, WeChat was initially only a mobile messaging app before quickly growing into an ecosystem of services over the years. With its huge user base now surpassing even ephemeral apps like Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, this chat client is home to many features including games and group chats – everything you need for staying connected with friends while on the go!
With WeChat, you can do marketing and advertising, communicate with your community of followers on the app (those in your contact list), create content exclusively for those within the platform.
Your Luxury Jewel brand need a WeChat Official Account
According to the Financial Times, Wechat is the “most important platform for luxury brands”. WeChat allows you to create an official account and publish news, send newsletters, and create e-brochures. Having a verified account on WeChat is mandatory if you want Chinese consumers to follow your WeChat account.
Moreover, you will have access to plenty of functionalities that are not included in the basic account, such as the possibility to create H5 brochures which are highly appreciated by Chinese consumers. As experts in this field, we can help you create an official Wechat account and explain how to manage it.
Furthermore, don’t forget to link your Chinese website to your WeChat account, as well as links from your online store on e-commerce platforms.
Why Luxury Jewelry Brands are Using WeChat?
Following China’s shift from offline to online stores, brands can’t only rely on brick and mortar stores anymore, although when it comes to luxury, most sales are still done in physical stores. It has now become vital for them to enter the Chinese market via e-commerce platforms such as Tmall, JD.com, Xiaohongshu, or Taobao.
WeChat is a must-have for every luxury brand entering the Chinese market to the point where the most successful luxury companies in China are using WeChat. For example in 2020, the luxury market was dominated by Bvlgari with 2.04 million monthly active users that were using its mini-program on WeChat.
The advantage of WeChat for Luxury Brands
As mentioned by Liz Flora, editor of Asia-Pacific, most Chinese consumers are digital natives, therefore, it’s more than ever crucial for brands to have a Digital Marketing strategy in order to reach a wide audience. She also stated that many European brands are reluctant to enter this market as they are scared of losing their brand image, but be sure that the Chinese market is a whole new different type of market where consumers tend to purchase on local e-commerce platforms for almost everything. So if your brand doesn’t have a suitable strategy to enter this fruitful market you will be left behind.
That’s why WeChat can be a considerable advantage to enter the Chinese market as companies can use it to build their own website through a WeChat store and/or mini-program, fulfill orders, and communicate with customers. On top of that, customers are able to purchase your products directly on WeChat, book appointments, check on the status of their online purchase, and follow up on repair orders.
Which luxury jewelry brands have entered the Chinese market with WeChat?
Since the creation of Wechat, many luxury jewelry brands have tried to enter the Chinese market. However, because of the tough competition, it is hard for non-famous brands to compete with international brands that are constantly promoting their products through events. For example, Bvlgari offered its limited-edition of pink gold Diva’s Dream during the flash sales of the Qixi Festival (also known as Valentine’s Day in China). A few years ago, Tiffany deployed its marketing and customer service activities on WeChat.
WeChat can offers exposure to a wide audience granted you are putting the right amount of effort into building a followers base, investing time in administrating groups,s and using every WeChat tool available. For instance, the latest Wechat trends with luxury brands in the development of their Wechat Chanel as well as a focus on “Wechat SEO” to gain more visibility through the WeChat search tool.
In 2017, Cartier sold around 60 products of its Clou collection via WeChat. The pinkish gold and diamond ring was on sale for RMB 27,600 ($3,550). Cartier is now selling its product on its own Chinese website, but also on famous e-commerce platforms.
Since then, many international brands have joined WeChat, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Bvlgari, Cartier, Dior, Tiffany, Burberry, Prada, Swarovski, etc.
How to take advantage of WeChat for your Luxury Jewelry Brand?
If you plan to use WeChat in your marketing and advertising strategies, you’ll have to understand the functionalities and advantages of WeChat beforehand.
Advertising on WeChat for your luxury jewelry brand
WeChat is a wonderful and cost-effective tool for advertising compared to other traditional (offline) channels. It offers a variety of marketing tools including paid advertisement.
- Banner Ads
- Moments Ads
- Kols Sponsors Posts
Use WeChat Moment Ads to advertise your brand, but you can also use it to post content and promotion offers. Moments Ads are especially recommended to brands that already have a strong presence in China. Indeed, WeChat Moment ads are pricey and typically the ROI for smaller brands is not great.
As a less-known brand, we would actually not recommend running paid ads on Wechat at the beginning. But if you insist on doing so, then go for Banner Ads and Sponsors posts. Banners ads are displayed inside Wechat posts that have had more than 5K views.
Also, don’t forget that in terms of organic growth, the “Search” tool is the best channel for acquisition and brand awareness. Furthermore, as QR codes are everywhere in China (even in the sky) be sure to display your WeChat QR everywhere possible (website, e-commerce platform, forums, flyers, etc).
WeChat H5 & Mini-program for your luxury jewelry brand
In order to do business in China as well as to promote your brand, you will need to have an official account. After that, the best way for you to promote your brand is to create a WeChat H5 brochure that you will be able to share on WeChat groups, Wechat moments, and any other social media. If you want to create an H5 Brochure, you can contact us.
WeChat Live Streaming
By creating an official account for your brand, you will be able to do live streaming with WeChat. These live shows are particularly popular in China, thanks to KOLs who can help you promote your brand and products. If interested, users can directly purchase the products that are presented in the live streaming. To use this feature, you’ll need to register a Tencent Live account and link it to your WeChat account.
Sell your Luxury Jewelry brand on a WeChat Store
WeChat is currently shifting to an e-commerce platform after becoming the wallet of millions of Chinese consumers. In fact, after linking your Chinese bank account to WeChat, you can purchase products directly on WeChat with one-click payment. This new functionality has increased the quality of the users’ experience, which can lead to a significant sales conversion rate for your brand.
However, opening a WeChat store can be complex if you are not in China and that’s why you should work with a marketing agency.
How does it work?
- Upload your products: This user-friendly interface makes it easy for users to upload their product information, pictures, and discounts.
- Get your unique QR code: Thanks to this QR code, you will be able to put everywhere on your website as well on social media so that consumers can scan it, follow your WeChat account and purchase products on your online store.
Luxury brand in China need a strong e-reputation
More than elsewhere in the world, your e-reputation has to be part of your marketing and advertising strategy. In fact, Chinese consumers are particularly cautious when it comes to a brand’s reputation. If you have a good e-reputation, you’ll be able to attract even more customers.
It is vital to develop your online reputation on forums, blogs, and Q&A platforms to instill trust among your potential customers. Be sure that Chinese customers will look for testimonials, and reviews of your products before purchasing your products. The main two threats that your brand should fear are having negative comments or no comments. In China, having nothing about your brand online is like having a bad reputation.
Think of your community management as a business. You always want to be putting out fresh and informative content about what you do, while at the same time controlling comments that are not only appropriate but also well-thought-out so they don’t reflect badly on who you work for. It’s an important part of online marketing; it helps provide social proof by showing people how many fans or followers someone has in general (and specifically).
Moreover, some of your competitors will not hesitate to post negative comments or posts about your products to take back their market share. You should better have a local partner to monitor and control your online reputation on a daily basis. Our agency provides services to manage your WeChat account as well as your e-reputation, so if you want to tell us about your projects, you can contact us.
Contact us to start using Wechat to Promote you Jewelry brand in China
If you’re looking to get into the Chinese market, finding a good partner is key. GMA has almost 10 years of experience in the development of fashion and luxury brands in China. We’re the leading social media marketing agency in Shanghai. We work with both international brands and local Chinese companies to help them reach new audiences, increase their sales or strengthen relationships abroad via our creative strategies for Wechat and other Chinese Digital Channels. At Gentlemen Marketing Agency, we fight for cost-effective strategies to achieve great results. We have a number of case studies that we can send you if you’re interested in how our strategies work.