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China Digital Roundup I Martell, Bomoda, Snap Fashion

A roundup on how digital is transforming our life and business – both in China and the rest of the world through December 5th.

Martell’s Savvy WeChat Campaign Engages China’s Frequent Flyers, by JingDaily

Martell WeChat

Travelers making their way through Beijing and Shanghai airports this fall can participate in an innovative new ad campaign by Martell Noblige Cognac that combined mobile and offline marketing with a focus on interactive participation by consumers. The campaign, entitled Dangdai MingshiYingxiang Xun Lu (当代名士•映像寻旅) in Chinese translated as “Modern Elites and their Journey of New Elegance”, sent famous photographer Justin Jin to 6 Chinese cities to photograph “men of elegance” .

The Beijing and Shanghai airports both featured interactive exhibition of Jin’s photography with a special QR code below each photo. Scanning the QR code allowed users to access the brand’s WeChat page and access profiles of each “elegant man” with audio descriptions of their accomplishments. The campaign also featured a free plane ticket giveaway to winning participants, and those who were not physically in the airport can send a number or voice command via WeChat in order to be entered in the drawing.

 

Bomoda Launches Mobile App Aimed at China’s Connected Fashionistas, by JingDaily

Popular - BOMODA

Since its launch in May 2012, New York City-based online community Bomoda has been building up a quarter-million strong network of China’s most discerning luxury shoppers through its Chinese-language online fashion and lifestyle newsletter. In the past two months, the curatorial site has embarked on a new chapter with the launch of its new mobile app and social sharing site, enlisting major brands, retailers, and key opinion leaders (KOLs) to promote a new interactive platform that is the first of its kind in the China market.

The new mobile app, launched on November 18 for the iPhone, allows for the sharing of images through the company’s new Pinterest-like social site that was unveiled in October. On the site, users have the opportunity to upload, share, collect, and repost their favorite fashion-related images, as well as share on major Chinese social media sites including WeChat Moments, Weibo, Tencent, QQ, and Tencent Weibo. Its high-fashion aesthetic makes it the first of its kind in China, standing out from other more mass-market Pinterest-like sites such as Meilishuo and Huaban.

 

Stores Offer Click & Collect to Attract Consumers this Holiday Season, by Luxury Daily

Click & Collect

Bricks-and-mortar retailers are having to compete with online retailers such as Amazon for the holiday shopping season, and they are finding new ways to get consumers to shop with them. A number of department stores offer click-and-collect services where consumers can order items online and pick them up in-person in-store and, in most cases, with no delivery fee. By doing this, stores are able to merge the ease of online shopping with speedier return, getting consumers to visit their stores in-person for convenience.

Click-and-collect is becoming more popular as it allows the customer the convenience of shopping from home, but [with] the instant gratification of receiving the purchase virtually instantaneously,” said Robert Cuthbertson, senior manager at Boston Retail Partners. “Customers can avoid long lines, busy fitting rooms, being overwhelmed with roaming racks and racks of clothes and product.”

 

Snap Fashion and Styloko: Search Using Images to Find The Perfect (and Cheapest) Wardrobe, by Metro

Snap Fashion app

Snap Fashion just might be your secret weapon this party season – the website is the perfect tool for finding the exact item a celebrity is wearing. You can also use its phone app to snap an image of a dress you find in a shop to browse for similar alternatives, or to find the perfect heels to match.

The technology trawls through thousands of possibilities to find you that exact item, before redirecting you to the retailer’s site to purchase. Or it will present you with styles similar to the item snapped, from a range of different brands and price points.

 

How Ready is Southeast Asia for Online Payments? by Tech In Asia

Online Payment APAC

Rapid economic expansion, a young population, and low-cost smartphones and tablets are creating tech-savvy generations across Southeast Asia. Major e-commerce players such as GrouponeBayRocket Internet, and LivingSocial have ventured into Southeast Asia, making significant investments into these markets. With increasing penetration of e-commerce into Southeast Asia, global payment companies such as PayPal are investing in the region. But as they do, stiff competition is being demonstrated from a number of local players.

While the industry’s potential is obvious, technology investors and global payment providers should be wary of rushing into these markets without understanding the cultural and regulatory differences of each country, which affect how merchants and consumers behave. A tailored strategy then, which considers the unique stages of each market’s development, factoring in technology, infrastructure, consumer preferences, and regulatory environment, is far superior to a regionalized blueprint approach.

Marketing to China – 5 Questions with Patrice Nordey, Founder of VELVET Group

Velvet Introduction

1 What is Velvet’s story and what are the services it offers to its clients?

VELVET is a digital consulting agency based in Shanghai specializing in the deployment of communication strategies and online marketing, as well as e-commerce activities and structure for the Chinese market. We cater to international luxury, fashion and cosmetic brands. VELVET’s clients include Boucheron, the famous jeweler in Place Vendome, Galeries Lafayette department stores, brands from L’Oréal or Kering (ex-PPR) one of the largest luxury groups (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, etc..) and lifestyle brands (Puma, Volcom, Electric, Cobra).

Our main playground is the Chinese market, though our customers are international. This has led us to realize missions in Paris, New York, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Florence during the past year. I [Patrice Nordey] launched VELVET after six years of experience in China. It is the result of my first digital adventure started in 1998 with the founding of French online magazine Neteconomie.fr, which was later sold to a sizable media company.

 

2 What is the real reason that inspired you to start your company in Shanghai?

Creating VELVET is the willingness to reconcile two distant worlds, luxury and digital (internet and mobile). The Chinese market has become since this year, the largest market in the world of e-commerce (ahead of the United States) and the most important consumer market for luxury goods and services. We are betting that a position in strategic consulting in this segment will bring tremendous value to the market. Of course, this is in addition to advertising agencies like Publicis-Omnicom, WPP, Dentsu, Aegis Group and more specialized agencies which have greatly strengthened their presence in the last 5 years.

 

3 What is your vision of the luxury market in China in 2013?

China’s market represents 25 % of this year’s global luxury market and remains very strong, despite a slowdown since 2010. This makes it the most attractive market for luxury brands. Moreover, it remains highly fragmented and rapidly changing. The share of purchases of luxury goods by Chinese traveling abroad, including France, for example, is the most dynamic component. Consumers are slightly tired of traditional luxury brands and are more in favor of “affordable luxury” and dynamic premium brands. Sophisticated clientele take a closer look at more specialized brands such as Christian Louboutin or Maje that arrived in China this year. Chinese consumers browse on their smartphones and iPads to discover luxury brands and products, not only at home but also when shopping in store. There is a unique opportunity here to capture and engage customers via social media and other mobile-specific applications.

 

4 What is the most important online social platform for a luxury brand in China today?

No platform is perfect within itself. We recommend Sina Weibo to reach a wide audience, WeChat for more interactive communication and the point of sale, and vertical platforms such as P1 to reach urban and more advanced communities in fashion. This year we worked with BoBo, a mobile social networking app catering to Chinese hairdressers and stylists who want to share new hair styles and styling techniques, with a community of 200,000 professionals. The collaboration between a well-known cosmetic company and BoBo was an effort to target high-end salons and famous hairdressers through an online social network. This collaboration was very effective!

 

5 Why luxury brands are afraid to sell on the Internet today? Are they wrong?

This fear is based on realistic problems: counterfeit goods, parallel distribution, sales of luxury goods at rock-bottom price, and other issues that are prevalent online. Naturally, it would not be a confident environment for luxury brands to launch their products online. However, market conditions are gradually improving, along with an emerging class of consumers who want to live a true online “luxury experience” with their favorite brands. I think the real question for these brands is their degree of integration with the stores, the “OmniChannel” approach, as well as the development of real differentiating services based on a structured approach to CRM. Be able to book a shopping appointment online on the brand site, pick up your purchase in the nearest shop, and have access to services such as VIP concierge through the mobile platform. These are the avenues to explore and to differentiate in order to offer a true digital experience within the luxury industry.