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Luxury and Digital in China: E-commerce Precursors

While luxury and digital are often two contradictory universes, some brands evolve to meet their most important customers: Chinese people. You will discover three pioneering cases of Chinese luxury brand which have decided do not stay away from digital and e-commerce.

Burberry: The professional of Online to Offline

Burberry is an example in digital transformation with a total adaptation to the Chinese market.

The prestigious English brand seduces all the young and rich Chinese public. That’s why, it’s in the 5th place of the classification because it allows its customers to make prestige and success clear. The brand sees its sales increase each year in Asia Pacific and take 40% of its revenues from Chinese consumers.
All of these successes were possible thanks to the adaptation of Burberry to its Chinese customers. The house began to know its customers, to discover their habit and culture rather than to impose its rules.

The luxury house has changed its strategy for a digital distribution

Since the Chinese are very digitized, the brand bet on the OtoO to be connected with its customers. Their first connected shop opened in 2011, the first high-tech store in Beijing. Giant screen in the middle of the shop to transcribe the fashion show, touch screens available for customers who can consult the collection and the stocks, iPad for the staff, animation in shop, etc. The launch of this shop has left its mark on alternation of holograms and real models during fashion show presented in front of 1000 guests.

But that’s not all. In 2014, the brand was the first to open its e-shop on Tmall, the Chinese giant e-commerce platform. With this shop, Burberry gets closer to its local customers and their expectations. Above all, the brand ensures the authenticity of their product. With that, the house participates in the fight against counterfeit Chinese products.


The company has also evolved its strategy on social networks by investing in local social networks.

She bets on Chinese social networks starting with Weibo. In fact, in 2011, Burberry presented its fashion show broadcast live on Weibo allowing thousands of fans to follow remotely and discover the new collection. Engaging its community, Burberry has created a true relationship with its customers.

For the Chinese New Year, Burberry has seduced its customers by its WeChat campaign , the social network the most used in China. In 2016, the brand launched a game. By touching or shaking their phone, customers unpacked their gifts. Once done, they could send personalized Hongbaos to their contact. The brand organized a contest to win a limited edition envelope and an assortment of gifts such as scarves or leather goods.

Dior, luxury pioneer on WeChat

Dior, the second most preferred luxury brand in China, revolutionized the e-commerce strategy of luxury brand as it bet on WeChat to reach its Chinese clientele. The house saw its sales increase in 2016 by + 5% at constant exchange rate, a success despite the loss of Chinese customers who buy in Europe.

It is for this reason that the brand decided to launch a new sales channel for luxury brands in China: the commercialization of a limited edition of one of its handbags on WeChat.

In August 2016, the French luxury house decided to innovate on the occasion of the Festival Tanabata. On August 1, she created it WeChat e-commerce account and published a word to announce the availability of the “Lady Dior Small China Valentine” on the online shop for the Qixi Celebration. The brand had planned 200 copies of the bag, sold at 28,000 yuan (about 3770 euros), for its campaign for 4 days. But in just a few hours, the stock has run out.

The company has combined its launch with a complete customer experience. It uses video product discovery, personalization of its purchase, online payment via WeChatPay and AliPay. While Dior is not the first brand to launch this kind of campaign on WeChat, it remains the first luxury brand to have done so.


Givenchy : the good partnership

Givenchy, under the influence of Riccardo Tisci, its Artistic Director, strongly changed its strategy. It increases its sales by 50% by 2015. The brand has multiplied by 4 its sales since 2010 and has improve its profitability.The house has bet on a disruptive communication, out of step with the “politeness and the agreed”.

She took the turn of social networks but it also surrounded itself with famous friends like Kim Kardashian or Jay-Z. They became  true ambassadors for the brand. Thanks to this new strategy, the brand has gained great notoriety, renewing the link with its customers.

Very discreet in China this recent years, the brands quickly received an interest of this Chinese clientele. So, the House quickly became available to them by investing local social networks like Weibo or WeChat.

And where the brand has succeeded, it is by working in collaboration with a famous KOL: “Mr.Bags”. This Chinese niche blogger, present on WeChat since 2011, has built a fan community estimated at 1.2 million followers.

Givenchy and Mr.Bag worked together for the exclusive sale of a limited edition of 80 handbags. They were sold for 14,000 RMB (about 2000 euros). Once the blogger had promoted the offer, it took only 12 minutes to be sold out, thus realizing 1,192,000 RMB of turnover (about 160,000 euros)!


Why such a success?

This is due to the special appeal of the Chinese to the KOL and the confidence they give to them. The limited edition and time also played, supporting the idea of differentiation and exclusivity. Like Dior one year earlier, Givenchy bet on a specific date, the Chinese Valentine’s Day. It encouraged all men to buy this gift from their partner.


By Stéphanie Decollas

Student in Digital Marketing and Business in Shanghai #MBADMB