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VELVET Presents: What Are Chinese Travelers Saying About Your Brand?

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VELVET, the digital agency for premium and luxury brands, is excited to invite guests to a presentation about one of the most relevant tools for digital marketers today: social listening and tracking.

VELVET and 6Estates, an AI powered Big Data analytics company, will co-present insights from a study based on the online activities of Chinese outbound travelers to UK and France, as well as the digital discussions around UK and France between the peak travel months of October 2015 to April 2016.

Founded in 2014, 6Estates is a Singapore-based technology company that spun off from NExT a joint research center between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Tsinghua University of China, to provide global business real-time insights and predictions of consumer behavior and preferences with a focus on China.

Leveraging on large volumes of data collection and analysis with AI-based Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning & Knowledge Graph technologies, 6Estates processes digital consumer content to facilitate smarter marketing decisions to bridge the gap between global businesses of which are keen to understand the China market, and Chinese businesses competing in global markets.

Join us in discussing the results of a report based on over one million data points.

The invite-only event is part of a bi-monthly series co-organized with our strategic partner, XNode Co-working Space and Startup Accelerator.

Speakers:

Patrice Nordey, Founder & CEO, VELVET

Patrice Nordey is a digital veteran with over 15 years of e-business experience across Europe and APAC. He consults international companies on the deployment of Digital Marketing & Communication, Social Media, and e-Commerce in China.

Prior to VELVET, Nordey worked at L’Atelier, the innovation arm of BNP Paribas. During his 11-year tenure, he spearheaded major digital projects as part of the strategy department in the Paris head office before serving as APAC CEO in Shanghai.

Xu Tao, Head of Product, 6Estates

Xu Tao is a passionate Product Evangelist specializing in products and solutions that improve the consumer experience and generate consumer insights. Throughout his career, he has helped build web apps, mobile apps, data analytics applications, and virtual chatbots using NLP/NLG and machine learning technologies. Prior to joining 6Estates, Xu Tao was the Regional Product Manager for WDS, a subsidiary of Xerox.

Presentation:

  • Top sightseeing and shopping destinations in the UK/France
  • Top brands shopped in the UK/France
  • Top brands discussed online
  • Travel preferences by demographic
  • Purchasing patterns
  • Points of influence & impact (celebrity, events, news, public policy)

 

 

VELVET and XNode Announce Official Strategic Partnership

VELVET is excited to announce an official strategic partnership with XNode Co-working Space and Startup Accelerator.

VELVET and XNode have worked together on several key collaborations since 2015 and this announcement marks a new chapter in our continued partnership. Through the partnership, VELVET will continue to connect the network of XNode startups with board-level brand executives visiting China on learning expeditions to observe Chinese innovation. VELVET’s clients will also gain unlimited access to XNode’s massive startup network in China. In addition, VELVET and XNode will co-organize exclusive, qualitative events at XNode venues throughout Shanghai with the aim of uniting brand executives with China’s foremost innovators and startups.

The first event will take place on Thursday, March 31 in Shanghai. The exclusive gathering will feature guest speakers from Carlipa, the leader in connected, luxury retail experiences, speaking about omnichannel and O2O marketing best practices.

About XNode

XNode was founded to be the center of innovation in Greater Shanghai, with five prime location spaces in central Shanghai by the end of 2016: Fudan University, Jing’an Temple, North Bund, Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park and Donghu Road. Our vision is to source, filter, identify, mentor, and accelerate high-caliber startup ventures that possess the passion and ability to create scalable businesses that will disrupt traditional sectors. We plan to do this by providing each team with not only first class space, but relevant mentorship, financial investment and business support.

XNode focuses on building international entrepreneur communities by setting up close or exclusive partnerships with global leading incubators and accelerators. In addition to offering VC/PE/Angel investor access and mentorship, XNode links startups with major Chinese corporations and top professional service firms i.e. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, King&Wood Mallesons, etc. through the Corporate Innovation & Incubation program.

More information: www.thexnode.com

About VELVET

VELVET is a China-born, French-led digital strategy and activation agency serving luxury and premium brands. VELVET’S core expertise include social media, influencer marketing, media planning and buying, search marketing, strategic consulting, corporate training and learning expeditions.

Challenges Magazine – Luxury Sales Overcomes Anti-corruption Measures in China

Campaigns against valuable gifts and purchases paralyze apparatchiks. But consumption patterns evolve.

Galeries Lafayette Beijing

Galeries Lafayette, Beijing. The well-known Parisian department store opened in mid-October occupying more than 30,000 square meters of retail space. Evidence shows that large luxury groups still rely on the Chinese market.

How much bribes, kickbacks, and gifts in kind are received annually by China’s officials, politicians and managers of state companies? Answer: it amounts to a mountain full of cash. In 2011, China’s central bank estimated, the sums diverted over the last twenty years summed up to more than 95 billion euros, so about 5 billion a year. Staggering.

Former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao noted that this evil has become “the greatest threat to the ruling party”, and its new leader Xi Jinping expressed that this is a war with no rest towards the millions of corrupt members. The system executives are banned from purchasing jewelry, high-end wine, and luxury leather goods with public funds. Also, they are barred from receiving presents with high monetary value, even though gifting is fundamentally rooted in the culture of the country and its business practices.

All that glitters and blings have been suppressed and perceived as a disgrace due to the new government regulations that have been passed recently. Even ministers store their gold watches – accessories they are crazy about, which represents 40% of Chinese luxury goods – on field trips to keep a low profile. A watchword against luxury already arises for large international brands, while China is expected to account in 2015 at least one third of the global market, estimated at nearly $ 175 billion, according to a study by McKinsey.

Previous drop in sales

During the Chinese New Year in February, a few months after the official launch of the anti-corruption campaign, “luxury goods spending dropped to $830 million, or – 53% compared to the previous year,” says Patrice Nordey, CEO of VELVET GROUP, a digital consulting agency based in Shanghai.

“Receptions and banquets have been cancelled, leaders have been indicted, Rolex watches and ostentatious Hermes hand bags have been banished from the media landscape. The anti-corruption campaign has had a real and noticeable effect on the sales of the luxury groups”.

However, most officials refuse to make a connection between this campaign and the fall of their sales.

“In reality, the slowing down already started since 2010, which was well before the anti-corruption measures. We observe a general slowing down in the growth of the luxury retail market in China, from an 18 % growth in the first quarter of 2010 to a less than 14 % growth in the first quarter of 2013”, adds Patrice.

Consequences: after years of strong growth over the last decade, large luxury conglomerates like LVMH and Kering select their new store locations more carefully within the 3000 shopping centers in the country and have taken measures to completely freeze new settlements stores.

Democratized consumption

Should we be alarmed that French houses rely on China as a growth driver? Not necessarily. Evidence shows that the dynamic is still there. Galeries Lafayette has just opened a store dedicated to fashion that covers 30,000 square meters in one of Beijing’s most popular neighborhoods near  Shin Kong Place, the luxury hotel in the created from scratch in 2007. This is the place to be. Chanel, Gucci, Prada , Armani, Italian and French ready-to-wear brands, more than 900 premium brands, the greatest wine brands in the world , rivers of diamonds … all this has generated a turnover of 6.5 billion Yuan (780 million Euros) in 2011. This has made it the most profitable luxury shopping area (excluding real estate and automobile) in the country. Nick Debnam, Asia-Pacific president of consumer markets with KPMG branch, expresses that the luxury sector “is not in recession,” despite a slowdown.

Online Sales Luxury Market China

In 2015, Online sales is expected to represent 10% of the luxury market in China (Source: iResearch).

“The growth drivers are still there and consumption patterns are changing,” he insists. In fact, luxury is no longer reserved for only Party apparatchiks or large fortune makers in the country. Nearly three-quarters of the 80 million Chinese tourists who travel the world each year now return with luxury purchases which they buy at a price 20-30% cheaper than in China. Their favorite shopping destinations include Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland and France. The average Chinese consumer’s shopping expense has increased to 1,500 euros, which is far higher than that of the Russians and Indians. Thus, luxury groups have put in place some comprehensive strategies to serve Chinese customers not only “in China, but also in their stores in Paris, Milan and Geneva,” says Patrice Nordey.

Boom on Internet

Luxury stands out on the Chinese Web – China ranks as the biggest market for e-commerce worldwide, before the United States. Estimated at 1.35 billion Euros in 2011 in the former Middle Kingdom, the e-luxury market has indeed jumped 70% last year with a total 2.3 billion Euros of online spending. It is expected to exceed 5.5 billion by 2015, according to iResearch Chinese cabinet, and thus capture 10% of the local luxury market. “The anti-corruption campaign will not change the situation,” said Wang Jun, a Beijing blogger.

This strong growth of online luxury disrupts traditional models, offering “the possibility of exploring brands on your iPad, via social networks such as Weibo, Wechat or P1. Consumers have the option to buy luxury goods and have them delivered straight to their home through online retailers such as Yoox, Glamour Sales, and Shangpin”, explains Patrice.

Is China the new continent for luxury? Despite the impact of the current campaign that targets the “rogue cops” Party, opportunities remain “for brands that manage to adapt to this new context.”

Article by Pierre Tiessen.

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.

Shanghai Fashion Web – Event Overview [Part 1/2]

On September 13th 2013, the first edition of Shanghai Fashion Web was held. The Shanghai Fashion Web is an event showcasing cutting edge topics related to the fashion and luxury industry as well as today’s digital environment.

Shanghai Fashion Web

Despite the thunderstorm that overtook Shanghai that afternoon, our brave guests overcame the weather difficulties and marched right into our event. Bravo! In the heart of Shanghai at the historical venue, Kathleen’s 5 in People’s Square, close to 100 of our attendees participated in the discussion of today’s critical topics in luxury and the digital field.

A series of seminars were presented by 10 top thought leaders in the digital field, the general topic being “Reshaping today’s Luxury; Unifying Fashion, Art, Design and going Digital”.

We had a wonderful night of learning and interaction with our avid speakers and engaged attendees. Following the seminars, we were in no shortage of entertainment. The creative contemporary dance performance brought by Nunu and her student from Brand Nu Dance Shanghai wowed many of our guests. Overall, we are happy to communicate that 88% of the SFW attendees were highly satisfied about the content and the organization of the event.

You can find below a quick overview of the SFW event.

 4:00 PM – Welcoming of the attendees

Networking SFW

At 3:59 PM precisely, the first attendee arrived in Kathleen’s 5 venues and was welcomed by the Velvet team. Our attendees were soon in deep discussion on digital topics with SFW speakers like Alexis Bonhomme, Peter Xu, and Svante Jerling before the talks began. Some of our guests helped themselves to the juices and refreshments prepared by Kathleen 5 while others enjoyed the time to take some selfies with the venue!

5:00 PM – Start of the talk shows

Patrice Nordey

With a short welcome and thank you speech by Patrice Nordey, CEO of Velvet Group, the panel session started. The first session on the list was the Bundshop concept presentation.

Diana Tsai & Stephany Zoo – Founder of the Bundshop

BundShop

Diana Tsai & Stephanie Zoo, founders of the Bundshop, enlightened us with the concept of their organization. The Bundshop is not only an eCommerce platform to promote sales of creative Chinese design pieces but also a digital marketing vessel to bring emerging Chinese designers to the world. A brilliant concept envisioned by two charming ladies! Following the first session, Diana and Stephany introduced to us one of their designer partners, Mary Huynh.

Mary Huynh – Design by MaryH

Designed by MaryH

MaryH, a luxury leather goods designer who has been collaborating with the Bundshop since the very beginning, shared with us her personal story and experiences launching her brand in China. Her work was featured in the Shanghai Fashion Week in April this year. During the session, she even showed us some of her handmade pieces, mainly wallets and leather-made accessories. We know that Mary is a designer to look out for.

Peter Xu – Fashion Blogger

Peter Xu Fashion Blogger

Peter Xu, famous Fashion Blogger and KOL, is in no need of introduction in China. During his session, he revealed his personal success story in the Fashion Industry, sharing with us how he jumpstarted his career through blogging and building his virtual networks. The attendees enjoyed Peter’s charisma and energy in his talk, which was both entertaining and insightful.

Thibault Villet – CEO of Glamour Sales

Glamour sales presentation

CEO Thibault Villet from Glamour Sales shared with us some of his insights on the key success factors and CRM of the luxury flash sale e-commerce platform. While catering to luxury goods, many features of the website must be carefully considered and executed in a way that is in line with consumer opinion. See the article to know more about flash sales orientations by Glamour Sales .

 

Shanghai Fashion Web – Event Overview [Part 2/2]

On September 13th 2013, the first edition of Shanghai Fashion Web was held. The Shanghai Fashion Web is an event showcasing cutting edge topics related to the fashion and luxury industry as well as today’s digital environment.

6:30PM – Break & Lucky Draw

Lucky Draw MaryH

Following the break shortly, we held a lucky draw and we would like to personally thank MaryH for her beautiful leather handmade wallets as prizes. The lucky winners of the draw were Dominique Simard (Director of Fashion Education at Conde Nast), Rodolph Garnier (China Global Sourcing Director at Camaieu) and one of our speakers, Svante Jerling (Founding Member and VP of P1.cn)!

Alexis Bonhomme, General Manager of Curiosity China

WeChat presentation

Alexis Bonhomme navigated us through the new WeChat App 5.0 Version, showcasing powerful new tools that are beneficial to both businesses and consumers. Everybody upgrade to 5.0 now! See the article to know more about the new WeChat 5.0 features.

Michael Shi – Founder & CEO of Hairbobo

HairBobo

Michael Shi is the founder and CEO of Hairbobo, the B2B community website bringing hairdressers and stylists together to share tips and the latest trends in hair and fashion. He also introduced their new app for consumers, which features an online booking function to book for hair appointments with hairdressers and stylists.

Svante Jerling, Founding member of P1.cn

P1.cn Svante Jerling

Svante Jerling unveiled the exclusive activities behind P1, its new projects, as well as its luxury members. P1 is a platform that showcases the latest street styles of fashionistas in China.

Mimi Vong – Country Manager from YOOX Group

Yoox Group Presentation by Mimi Vong

Mimi Vong presented the different consumer profiles YOOX has in Asia and the strategies that made YOOX so powerful today. Yoox is diversified in its profile: yoox.com, thecorner.com, and shoescribe.com. In China, it has launched an exciting collaboration with the Super Boy contest 2013, a famous singing competition in China. During the talk, Mimi offered some valuable advice for brands including their product selection and a focus on younger generation consumers.

After…

Following the panel sessions, it was networking and fun time! We loved the French fusion finger food, Polaroid photos, and creative dance by Nunu that filled the night. The event was a big success and Velvet would like to give a big thanks to our active participants, speakers, and entertainers that made this a night to remember.

And also, thank you to our guest for your perfect conclusion:

“We are very glad to have participated in this year’s SFW. Thanks for your teams professional arrangement and great hospitality! We liked the topics. So many new ideas bring E-commerce a bright future.”

Tommy Qiu, Marketing Executive at Lane Crawford

– See more pictures of the event here!