Social Commerce in China… It’s Just the Beginning

Social e-commerce in China is in vogue as we witness this interesting marriage of social media and e-retail developing this year. Once again the Chinese tech arena is innovating and serving as a blueprint for how social media influencers can facilitate sales. Let’s explore this trend further.

$174 000 worth of designer bags sold in 12 minutes

A fashion blogger and influencer known as ‘Mr. Bags’ sold $174 000 worth of designer bags and accessories via his social media account. This proved that a huge and impressionable following could be tapped into via influencers such as this, it also cemented social e-commerce as the future for Chinese digital.
Using WeChat the blogger (whose real name is Tao Liang) partnered with Givenchy for 80 limited edition pink bags each costing over $2000. Consumers paid through WeChat’s e-wallet for instant purchases via their built-in payment function.

The Givenchy bags were costly but with a $7270 limit for WeChat payment in a single day. This huge phenomenon has led many other fashion firms keen to tap into Chinese influential figures with long-term partnerships most effective. Recruiting an influencer is costly but evidently can be very lucrative.

WeChat’s Micro Stores

The WeChat store is at the heart of this trend with e-retail platforms being able to host their shop front within the application. WeChat boasts 850 million users so can drive a significant level of traffic. It also allows for ease of payment as it is connected with WeChat’s inbuilt payment system, at the touch of a screen purchases can be made. As we have seen above this encourages impulse buying with popular items being sold at faster rates than ever.

WeChat micro stores provide insightful consumer insights based on profile information and allow businesses to collate information on buyers and distributors via their WeChat store management services. It is an intelligently designed system that will prove to be a game-changing player in 2017.

Capital Investment into a Chinese Comedian

China’s social media landscape is diverse with a host of key players facilitating sales on social platforms. Chinese comedian ‘Papi Jiang’ is selling products through her comedy skits on Youku, the largest video platform in the orient.

Drama student Papi Jiang is considered to be the first high-profile social influencer that has received funding from tech investors, she secured $1.9 million in 2016. Zhen Fund, Lighthouse Capital, and Xingtu Capital are all rumored to be increasing investment into this Chinese equivalent of a YouTube superstar. She currently boasts 2.9 million subscribers.

It’s certainly very Chinese humor with her high-pitched voice, impressions, and fast cuts. Her audience is millennials with discussions on embarrassing older family members when they return home over the new year period. With her huge audience, she signed a lucrative deal with a cosmetics firm for $3.3 million.

This trend of personality, comedy, and branding is set to grow with the rising popularity of live streaming. Papi Jiang has inspired many other personalities to raise their profile and monetize their audience base. These influencers offer a powerful infrastructure for international brands to grow in China.

Live Streaming Explodes

China’s latest social craze is all about live streaming. A host of apps went viral with users paying one another and sending digital gifts, huge followings developed around live streaming, often popular users would have tens of thousands of people viewing their stream per day.

It can be viewed as an infomercial, much like a modern-day shopping channel with figures such as the popular ‘Una’ demonstrating how to use a face injection mask by the brand ‘pure’. She gave out her WeChat account so she could take orders and payments.

Alibaba joins the fight for social influencer sales

E-commerce heavyweights Alibaba has launched streaming platforms on their popular site ‘Taobao’ in an effort to divert influencers away from WeChat and other such competitors. They have offered financial incentives and adopted an aggressive pricing strategy.

The company anticipates that live streamers on its shopping app will pocket US$300 million in commissions on products they sell in the first three years of the launch. Taobao claims they see 320 000 items added to shopping cards for every one million live views.

“The younger generation in China spends lots of time on their mobile phones and on social media,” says Chen Lei, a manager at Mobile Taobao. “Cyber celebrities are strong personalities and thought leaders who show others products that fit their attitudes. They fit right in with the mobile and social trend.”

The marketplace diversifies

Influencers on social media are leading the sales charge but the marketplace is also diversifying, new apps are developing to meet the demand for social commerce. Users don’t just engage with influencers but also one another on platforms such as ‘Little Red Book’, which acts as a messenger, has a news feed, and links to stores. Users will often share images of their purchases to the community spiking sales of popular items.

It’s an interesting time for social commerce in China. If you have a project in mind for the Chinese market please contact us for further advice and information.

1 comment

Leave your comment