First, Chinese women (most of them) care a lot about beauty. Second, they are in general are very connected online as digitalization has taken over China’s society. This results in a kind of “online beauties”. A lot of beautifying apps exist in China, and they can sometimes complete the beautifying experience of e-commerce.
The battle of beauty camera apps
How are the beauty camera apps related to business in China? The proliferation of social media and interactive smartphone-based apps has demonstrated that e-marketing is an unavoidable trend. A 2016 McKinsey report shows that over 44% of all luxury goods sales are driven by Internet research or online buzz. What’s important to know is that, even if not all social media users are buying, you want your brand followers to talk about you on the Internet. Brands have to identify and leverage new marketing tools in order to reach their consumers.
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O2O Vs B2C system in China
Nowadays, we are more in an O2O system rather than a B2C system in China. Consumers often go first online and then choose what they want to purchase or to learn more about (Online to Offline strategy). They don’t spend a lot of time in shops, facing sellers who always use the same method trying to let people buy (Business to Consumer strategy). That effectively means, brands and companies have to be present online in order to catch their consumers.
Beauty camera apps have become a hit, as most Chinese women use them before posting their photos on social media.
Developed by the Xiamen-based Meitu Inc, Meitu Pic is the company’s flagship beauty camera app. Luxury brands have already cottoned to the potential of reaching out to young, affluent Chinese consumers who hope to express themselves through fashion and beauty camera apps such as MeituPic.
It is one of the earliest beauty camera app and quite a reference among Chinese women. MeituPic, besides offering filters and special effects, it also provides features for face-lift, slimming, a whitening or eye enlargement. You may think of Photoshop, but MeituPic is far easy to use than it.
Meitu Inc has also developed a series of beauty camera apps such as Beauty Plus, Poster Labs and Meipai, each specializing in facial feature enhancement, video editing and many other features.
Makeup plus 美颜相机
Makeup Plus is developed by Meitu Inc., but this app is worth mentioning separately as it represents the company’s latest move to integrate luxury goods branding into the everyday photo-editing experience. It provides makeover filters (basic), virtual makeup-try but also online shopping.
Using Augmented Reality (AR) technology, Makeup Plus can accurately detect a user’s facial features and apply virtual makeup (eyeshadow, mascara products, and even hairstyles) to the user’s selfie. Users can try different makeup styles through the app’s huge base of virtual filters. In addition, the filters are frequently updated according to trends of the moment. It had also allowed virtual try-on for popular lip colors from brands including Dior, YSL, or Bobbi Brown.
(I promise, this is the last app I will introduce you from the Meitu Inc.) As videos are now the hottest marketing tool in China, this is also worth presenting Meipai separately. Meipai allows to shoot and create a video, using filters to beautify it rapidly and easily. Chinese people spend a lot of time on this kind of entertaining app. It also allows a lot of individual entrepreneurs to gain followers.
Videos allow also to teach how to use a product, for example, creating in that way interaction.
Dameiren app (which means great beauty in Chinese) teams up with makeup artists and stylists from China, South Korea, and Taiwan to produce 2-3 live streaming sessions every day. This gives users a chance to interact with beauty experts in real-time, share their questions and thoughts and get feedback instantly.
Same for Meipai, it allows people to interact and so build a community, to meet and follow like-minded people.
Xiaohongshu is a social media platform, with an e-commerce section. It is more known as a platform for useful content sharing. Xiaohongshu means Little Red Book, maybe it has a link with the desire to be a guiding app for its users. There are shopping tips, advice, product feedbacks from its users but also from some influencers such as the Chinese Star Fang Bingbing. (All the products on her Xiaohongshu’s page became hot and sold out after she introduced them to her followers)
The app evolved from “the Chinese Pinterest” to the place to find affordable, genuine international beauty products. In December 2014, the app launched Fu Li She (which means house of benefits), a shopping platform where international brands can join as partners and sell to mainland Chinese shoppers directly, using the app’s local warehouses and logistics to minimize costs.
How can these app help your brand ?
Leveraging KOL (Key opinion leaders)
MakeupPlus App has worked with Pony, one of South Korea’s most well-known beauty guru, to launch an exclusive makeup filter. KOL are very powerful in China as they represent some kind of reference for people. They follow the latest beauty sector’s trends or make creations by themselves. This inspires a lot of their followers, seeking after for the same products or the same look.
To collaborate with internet celebrities can help you reach your consumer in a way more efficient because there is a trust between KOL and their fans, which is sometimes difficult to get for new brands in China.
Ensuring an online presence
Some of these platforms allow you to promote your brand among Chinese women consumers. To manage your online reputation is crucial in China, because nobody will buy your product if they haven’t heard about your brand before. Even after you have a little awareness, Chinese consumers will go further, searching of information and other consumers’ feedbacks. You have to know what kind of app are available and popular in order to better ensure your presence on it.
If you want to sell a products in China, it will be more convenient to do through e-commerce platforms such as Xiaohongshu or Tmall. Chinese consumers are more willing to purchase online because of the convenience and the greater range of available items on e-commerce platforms. Nowadays, Chinese consumers have a huge appetite for foreign products and e-commerce platforms have become the channels of choices for Chinese shoppers looking to purchase such items.
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