Chinese New Year kicks off this week and an estimated 400 million Chinese people are expected to be on the move for the Year of the Pig. They’ll be heading back to their hometowns to spend quality time with close friends and family, many of whom they see just once a year. Part of this annual tradition is gift-giving, which presents an opportunity for retailers and brands in China.
We’ve already seen global beauty players such as Dior, SK-II and DFS Group kick off their Chinese New Year campaigns. Let’s take a look at how they’re using different marketing strategies to engage their customers.
Dior’s WeChat Mini Program Lets Customers Send Virtual Gift Cards
Gift-giving is a major Chinese New Year tradition, and this year Dior’s cosmetics business has customized one of its WeChat mini programs specifically for virtual gift card campaigns. WeChat is the most popular, pervasive social media platform in China, which also includes integrated e-commerce and mobile pay within a single app for seamless social commerce. WeChat mini programs make it easy and convenient for retailers and brands to reach the massive market of Chinese consumers who spend their time on WeChat.
Customers can purchase virtual gift cards with WeChat Pay and send them to their friends and family on WeChat. These gift cards are stored within the recipient’s WeChat Pay wallet, and can be redeemed for e-commerce products.
Such products include lipstick, foundation, perfume and more. Customers can also choose to send assorted gift packages as well.
The WeChat mini program can be easily shared with the recipient — the user only has to make a few taps and enter his/her WeChat pin code to authenticate the transaction. The pages are limited to just two megabytes and the loading speeds are fast, making the process very quick and mobile-friendly.
Analysis: Dior made a smart move by using WeChat to tailor its gift card campaign for Chinese New Year. Many Chinese stress out about what to buy for their friends and family during Chinese New Year, and the WeChat mini program presents a simple yet effective solution.
SK-II Launches Pigtail-Adorned Beauty Line
SK-II is also going all out for the Year of the Pig, having launched its new beauty line with bold red packaging and adorning it with sleek pink pigtails. SK-II spokesperson and celebrity actress Nini plays a prime role in promoting this campaign, with her face splashed all over SK-II posters across China.
SK-II also partnered with e-commerce powerhouse JD.com to launch its new line on its brand day, which took place on Jan. 7. Online customers can purchase products from SK-II’s WeChat mini-program store, which is built on top of JD.com’s mini program Kepler infrastructure.
Like Dior, SK-II also rolled out red holiday gift set boxes, designed for customers to send to their loved ones during Chinese New Year. Members who purchase a gift box get bottles of skin cleanser and essence for free.
Analysis: With its sleek pigtail-themed bottles, SK-II figured out a chic way to brand its product for the Year of the Pig. Partnering with JD.com and its China-wide logistics network effectively ensured that it could handle a high volume of customer orders. In the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, speed is of the essence since the goods have to arrive before everyone leaves for their hometown.
DFS Group Promotes Its Online-to-Off-line WeChat Shop in Hong Kong
Travel retail is a major beneficiary of Chinese New Year spending. Last year, 6.5 million Chinese tourists traveled overseas, according to Ctrip figures.
This year global duty-free store chain DFS Group is using cross-border WeChat Pay and its WeChat mini-program store to make shopping easier for Chinese tourists in Hong Kong.
Customers can use the DFS WeChat mini program to order their items in advance and pick them up the next day, avoiding the long lines and crowding commonplace during Chinese New Year. Customers can choose from three locations in Hong Kong to pick up their goods.
DFS Group also announced a special sale on its line of red-themed Guerlain beauty products, which include perfume, lipstick, and more.
Analysis: Chinese New Year is a big opportunity for travel retailers as many tourists travel abroad during the week-long holiday. DFS Group did a good job of offering both online and off-line options to make shopping easier for its customers. Its Hong Kong mini program is a perfect example of how WeChat may make online-to-off-line integration easier for brands and retailers.
- Gift-giving is a major tradition during Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is the one time of year where people go back to their hometowns to meet old friends and family members. Almost everyone is expected to bring back gifts for their loved ones. Providing gifting options to make things easier for customers is a good strategy to keep in mind.
- Red and gold are key colors for Chinese New Year, as they represent prosperity and joy. The color to avoid would be white, which represents death. In fact, during Chinese funerals, the participants generally wear white costumes.
- WeChat can be a great way to facilitate social interactions during Chinese New Year, when Chinese people will have time to catch up with old friends and family. Brands such as Dior are developing innovative ways for customers to share gifts and gift cards with one another on WeChat. DFS Group’s mini-program store is a great example of how retailers can use WeChat to integrate online and off-line channels.
Franklin Chu is managing director of Azoya USA.