How Italian should market their Brand in China?
Italian brands are highly appreciated by Chinese consumers, especially their luxury goods. In the eyes of Chinese, Italian luxury brand represents authenticity and elegance.
Italy is the country of Luxury Brands for Chinese ! (Thanks to Top Luxury Brands)
But most Italian small & medium Luxury Brands are not sucessfull in China !
The Italian luxury brands have managed to impose their knowledge in the world of fashion and therefore have a certain prestige. The Chinese market represent one of the biggest consumers of luxury goods in the world. How to communicate these brands in China?
The luxury buyers in China are “online”
We know that in China, everything happens on the Internet: in 2014, the size of the e-commerce market was 426 million and has increased by 27% in 2016. These figures clearly demonstrate the real challenge for brands wanting to conquer this empire.
China purchased Half of the luxury in the world !
Chinese middle class are becoming more numerous. There are many young millionaires, eager for European luxury goods and having a great use of the internet. So brands need to do more than just rely on Chinese tourists but conquer the customer at home, on his favorite space: the Internet. With more than 680 million people online, China is the most connected country in the world.
They are active social users !
As regards their internet use, 91% of users have accounts in popular chinese social networks. Among these social networks, there are Weibo and WeChat where Chinese spend most of their time. This is why it is important for Italian brands to have an active presence on these social networks to better understand its Chinese consumers.
The most sucessfull Luxury Brands in China have invest a lot in their Digital Communication !
The Chinese market is full of opportunities for those luxury brands if they understand China’s particularity and they manage to combine e-commerce with a good digital marketing strategy.
The presence of a brand on social networks is imperative to communicate with Chinese consumers. The example of Versace with an official account on the social network Weibo, where the brand share content on the brand. On the day, we can see different photos of celebrities wearing Versace, of course the most popular photos are those of Asian celebrities.
Other brands prefer to use other digital tools, such as Gucci, which uses another Chinese social network named Douban is a platform dedicated to consumer reviews on services and products. Gucci has launched a campaign called “Cut & Craft” by defying its most creative fans to create brand’s handbags with the help of tips and a small manual. Whoever created the most original bag was rewarded by the brand.
Fendi also was one of the brands to have offered campaigns by creating an event on his Weibo account. This contest allowed fans to actively participate in making themed photographs. This competition has brought many responses to Fendi and showing at the same time that Chinese users are present and read the contents of the page. They like to participate in the events of brands, they love the interaction.
Salvatore Ferragamo, another Italian high fashion brand shows interest in its Chinese customers by offering them privileges, discounts and gifts to fans with a VIP Weibo account.
On WeChat, the method is a little different. Brands will invite users to follow their official account by scanning the QR code. They will thank the new follower personally. More and more brands are trying to get involved on Chinese social networks and they are sometimes run by local distributors as for Max Mara.
Armani was one of the first brand to understand the potential of the Chinese market and has been able to exploit to the maximum. Despite these important points of sales, the brand could not access its consumer cities of 2nd and 3rd place.
It is for these reasons that Armani has decided to put forward its website in 2010 by a Mandarin version, providing a size converter, prices in RMB, a geolocation shops and payment methods that Chinese have a habit of using (or Alipay payment on delivery).
How should small & Medium Italian Brands communicate in China ?
online PR : because Fashion Media are influential
Social Media : Wechat & Weibo Marketing are a must have
ereputation : because Chinese will check always luxury brands before they buy
influencers : because they decide what are the fashion trends
Tmall : Tmall attract many luxury buyers
flash sales : Can be a flash solution
Marketing on Baidu : because Chinese people like to search and they use Baidu
Many initiatives have been taken by Italian brands, but they show a certain limit.
In order to seize the opportunities offered by the Chinese market, Italian brands must engage heir customers and communicate more.
e-Commerce in China for luxury brands offer great opportunities !
For most brands, the websites are not optimized enough, slowing e-commerce. In order to stop loosing time, they can open an online store on Tmall which will allow them to develop important sales prospects.
Luxury major brands including Fendi, Dior, and Marc Jacobs may not have official shops on Tmall, but launch their platform “Luxury Channel” created in partnership with flash sales site Mei.com.(partner with Alibaba )
With the help of Stars , the two e-commerce companies held a star-studded, high-tech runway extravaganza in China. Source
Celebrities on hand for the festivities included reality star and socialite Olivia Palermo and singer Li Yuchun (Chris Lee), and the event was live-streamed on Tmall and Youku. Users watching online had the opportunity to purchase any of the 42 looks from the new platform in real time. Selected from 80 designers featured on Mei.com, the looks included brands such as Karl Lagerfeld and Moschino, with one styled by Olivia Palermo featuring pieces by Saint Laurent and Chloe. In order to capture viewers’ attention, the show also hosted a singing performance by pop star Tia Ray, while actor Yilun Sheng walked the runway in one of the outfits.
They need to increase their visibility on Baidu so that Chinese consumers can access websites more easily but also to work their e-reputation. Chinese consumers need to be reassured and know that what they are buying is not counterfeit, the only way for a brand to differentiate is to show an active presence on the Internet.
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Hi! Thank you for this good content, could you tell me if Italian brands communication is very different from French or even British ones regarding luxury? I have the impression that luxury codes are quite similar in Europe globally