China has over 904 million internet users as of the first quarter of 2020 and it is one of the most digital societies in the world with a fast-growing mobile app market. This is offering tremendous innovation opportunities and Little Red Book (“Xiaohongshu” in Mandarin) is taking part in this trend. Chinese consumers are more willing to purchase online because of the convenience and the greater diversity of available items on e-commerce platforms. Unlike the other hot e-commerce platforms like Tmall, JD in China. Little Red Book’s advantages don’t lie in product selling. This article will introduce how Little Red Book is effective for businesses in China (or to target Chinese consumers).
I. WHAT IS LITTLE RED BOOK(XIAOHONGSHU)?
小红书 is a social e-commerce shopping app based in Shanghai, China. Targeting 18-to-35-year-old Chinese urban females. The platform helps users discover and buy luxury, fashion, and beauty products from overseas as well as sharing shopping tips, and swap fashion ideas.
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Little Red Book was originally designed as a UGC (user-generated content) social sharing platform; targeting young, urban (esp. in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai) female’s desire to discover and share shopping lists and experiences of traveling in and out of China.
As of 2020 RED count:
- 300 Million registered users
- 100 Million MAU
RED Users profile:
- 56% of RED users live in 1st and 2nd Tiers Cities
- 72% of RED users are Millenials
- +85% of RED users are females
Young (wealthy) Chinese Female Users
RED came as a great platform to shop Luxury and high-end beauty/fashion products from foreign brands. It has its own logistics network, can link to other eCommerce apps via hyperlinks, and is perfect to look for information on beauty products in general.
The integrated eCommerce store came later in the life of the app, but users already got used to following influencers and KOL’s (key opinion leaders) on RED by the time stores were online. If you are in the cosmetic industry, having a presence on RED can positively affect your brand.
Little Red Book is a LifeStyle Shopping App
Little Red Book has successfully gathered a large group of females who enjoy luxury/fashion shopping and sharing. The app successfully created a safe shopping environment for its customers.
Little Red Book launched its own cross-border e-commerce platform, the “RED Store” in 2014. It connects Chinese consumers with global brands by enabling users to buy overseas products directly through the app.
Since then, Little Red Book has formed strategic partnerships with many overseas brands including Lancôme, Swiss, and Innisfree.
The Most Popular Topics on RED are:
- Travel & Food
RED (Little Red Book): an astonishing success
As a user-generated content platform, Little Red Book is a hub for females’ talks and sharing about beauty and fashion products with 100,000 new content added every day, making a total of 780 million product contents on its platform. As a social e-commerce platform, it has achieved great success in recent years, especially in 2015, when it grew its GMV from approximately 1 million RMB to over 100 million in just 6 months.
It’s continually growing and now has over 300 million registered users as of 2020. In 2020, it was valued at $6 billion USD. Being one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in China, it provides an outstanding opportunity for foreign marketers who want to get into the massive China market.
II. WHAT MAKES LITTLE RED BOOK A MUST-BE FOR MARKETERS IN CHINA?
1. An enormous hub of young, urban women
According to its official website, Little Red Book has acquired 300 million registered users as of 2020, with those born in the post-90s and post-95s as the most active users. According to IResearch statistics, over 50% of users were under 30 years old, while more than 80% of them are female. 56% of os users live in the 1st tier and 2nd tier cities. More than 50% of them belong to the higher middle and middle classes.
With such a robust and highly converting audience base, Xiaohongshu is doubtlessly an ideal platform for international fashion and beauty brands to sell and advertise their products. This makes the platform the ideal channel to target young, affluent female shoppers that have the intent and ability to consume branded products.
2. Highly targeted and converting users
Little Red Book gathers savvy users who research and review their products extensively on the app. It is a trusted source of advice and recommendations for its community of fashion and beauty lovers. It seems like a must to check out comments and opinions on Xiaohongshu about the products before you buy them.
Most of Chinese People get on Little Red Book not only to talk or read about fashion and beauty tips but also to search for and purchase products. Little Red Book has a much higher conversion rate than other e-commerce platforms.
8% of Little Red Book users make an order on the app after reading reviews, compared with 2.6% who do the same on Tmall, China’s largest marketplace for brand goods, owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba. Ready-to-buy customers with significant trust on the platform pose an amazing opportunity for brands.
3. An interactive and engaging community
Apart from creating their own content, users can also “Save” posts, interact with others through “Likes”/”Comments”, or even press “Follow” to subscribe to a particular user/brand that they like.
Little Red Book uses a recommendation algorithm to create a customized homepage based on users’ browsing and searching history. It also offers an “Explore” feature based on this same data. This function allows users to focus on topics they are interested in and sort out unwanted information.
“Nearby” shows hot topics according to the user’s location, while “Follow” shows the latest posts from subscribed accounts.
Trust & Proximity
Thanks to its engaging features, XiaoHongShu has successfully reinforced this feeling of trust, safety, and belonging to a community of like-minded friends. A sizable proportion of consumers are opening the app up to seven times a day. Brands’ awareness and reputation can be quickly built up and expanded here if well-managed and have the right strategies.
4. Extensive word-of-mouth effect with KOLs marketing
There are plenty of stars sharing their latest shopping picks and lifestyle hacks there every day, mixed with snaps of their not-so-glamorous side of life. This has created a unique UGC (user-generated content) circle made up of well-known influencers with massive followings.
The (RED) Lipstick Master
Examples of Little Red Book hu influencers include Austin Li, nicknamed “KouHongGe” (The Lipstick Master/Brother; 口紅哥), who tries on luxury brands’ lipsticks such as Gucci and M.A.C. He has accumulated 3,169,800 followers and his comments are constantly shared by other lipstick lovers.
Fan Bingbing on RED
Dubbed “Queen of sales” Fan Bingbing actually temporarily brought down the server of Little Red Book one time, thanks to a shopping note endorsing the latest beauty finds she just published.
Reviews from influencers often bring massive attention and exposure to products. These reviews tend to be spread by more and more users (thanks to the platform’s multiple interactive tools), which quickly create a viral effect for those products. This kind of nonstop cycle significantly raises brand awareness and helps to generate customer leads.
5. Direct Link to An E-commerce store: Closing the Loop
Having accumulated a huge amount of social and consumption data from a largely urban female user base, Little Red Book has since developed a closed shopping cycle on the cross-border sale of luxury items, which allows users to purchase the products directly from merchants after reading reviews.
Little Red Book is able to ensure the quality of its merchandise by acting as a first-party distributor, handling delivery, and customer service. Qualified brands are also permitted to set up their own digital shops. In this case, Little Red Book provides brands with full logistics, customer services, and marketing support including data insights and in-app advertisements.
III. Marketing Checklist to succeed on Little Red Book
1. Work with key opinion leaders
Influencers are the key to attract people’s attention. KOLs can be a star, an internet celebrity, or a simple user. With the platform’s unique strength as an extremely close-knit and trustworthy community, influencers on Little Red Book are much more powerful than those on other social media. Every single user can become a micro-influencer as long as they’re willing to share their real and comprehensive experiences. They often have a huge fan base, who follow their activities closely. The content generated greatly affects user’s purchasing decisions as they are considered more trustworthy than reviews from other platforms or brands.
KOLs are meeting today’s modern Chinese consumers’ ideology quite well. In recent years, Chinese consumers have evolved. The focus is shifting to prioritizing premium products and living a more balanced, healthy, and family-centric life. If you plan to collaborate with an influencer, finding the right person to be the brand representative can be crucial for your brand success.
In 2020, the trend is Micro-Influencers. They are less expensive but have a better engagement rate and proximity with their followers.
2. Create quality posts regularly (every day in the beginning)
The contents which are quite popular on Xiaohongshu are comparison articles that analyze in-depth similar products from different brands to give readers an overview and good judgment for their buying decision. These are called “Gan Huo” (干货). Even If readers don’t buy directly on Xiaohongshu, the content viewed will influence their future purchases and brands’ images. In Little Red Book, it isn’t just a place for brands to do storytelling but also to provide useful information about products such as the prices, the available ranges, and variations as well as places to buy.
Our team of content writing experts contributes largely to successful campaigns for brands on Little Red Book by researching excessively and generating high quality, in-depth and diverse content (photos, videos, articles, etc…) that both reinforce brands’ positioning and convert readers into buyers.
3. Be proactive in interacting with users
It is important to take part in, monitor, and control the interaction and discussion part around the content. As the Chinese are very active online, they may have questions about the products shared. They also like to comment, discuss, and complain about products or brands. Therefore, it is essential for brands to always be responsive and interact with users on time.
The constant engagement with users ensures brands’ credibility as well as influence largely their decisions to make a purchase with brands or not. That says, creating and publishing good content is not enough. Brands need to be proactive and wholehearted in nurturing and following up with the discussion.
4. Connect with Weibo, WeChat, and other social media accounts
Different social media in China serve different purposes. Chinese consumers are usually active on more than one platform. Therefore, it is critical for brands to ensure their presence at important touchpoints as well as a smooth customer journey across multiple platforms.
Little Red Book alone isn’t optimal but Little Red Book in connection with Weibo or Wechat would make sure that brands follow and guide customers throughout their buying journey. Weibo is a micro-blogging platform that has a massive customer base sharing and talking about anything.
Posts on Weibo gain large publicity and can reach millions of viewers. Meanwhile, WeChat has the advantage of allowing customers to reach you directly and personally. It helps with customer relationship maintenance and enhancement.
As consumers can move and interact freely with brands on Little Red Book to other media platforms such as Weibo, Wechat, and others. Brands need a team to connect, manage and follow up with customers’ actions regardless of which platform they are on.
5. Strategically use hashtags for broader exposure
If your account isn’t backed by the Redbook team, it can be quite difficult to be on the main page or viewed by a lot of people. When users open the platform for fun, most of them only check the posts on the “Explore” section, matching with their latest research or their interests.
If they already followed your account, you will be displayed on their “following” section. However, to reach more people, you need to use active hashtags in your posts. To be found more easily by users, you will also figure on their main page (the “Explore” section) if they searched for a topic similar to yours.
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GMA is your Partner
As part of the e-commerce revolution for purchasing better products, Little Red Book’s unique positioning as a trustworthy, celebrity-approved distributor of overseas products is a great channel for brands that look to capitalize on the social commerce trend.
It is always better to fill in more and more information about customer’s or viewer’s opinions or comments.
GMA also can help you associate with other major social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo. And it is essential to collaborate with KOLs or influencers on Little Red Book to raise your e-reputation.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is specialized in digital marketing in the Chinese market. Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss any projects in China.