While the number of luxury brands on WeChat has grown by 87 percent over that past two years, the industry still has much work to do when it comes to reaching Chinese consumers.
According to L2’s recently released China luxury “Digital IQ Index,” 92 percent of global luxury brands now have a WeChat account, marking a dramatic surge since 2014, when only around half of all brands had joined the platform. The massively popular mobile messaging app is now on par with Weibo, which features accounts for 94 percent of luxury brands.
Now that the industry has clearly seen the importance of the app, brands need to develop their WeChat accounts’ technical capabilities, which can help drive consumer engagement, foot traffic into stores all over the world, and ultimately sales.
According to the report, few luxury brands are taking advantage of all of the features that can be added to an official WeChat account, including “push notifications, geolocation capabilities, e-commerce, and more sophisticated customer service capabilities like multiple agents and auto-reply functionality.” It finds that 77 percent of luxury brands opt for feature-friendly service accounts, yet less that 10 percent of luxury brands in both the fashion and watches/jewelry categories have links to online e-tailers or WeChat pay. Links to a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site are sparse as well, with only 30 percent of fashion brands and 23 percent of watch and jewelry brands featuring one on their site.
Customer service is equally lacking for many brands. While over half (66 percent of fashion brands and 65 percent of watches and jewelry) now have auto-reply when a follower asks a question, only 13 percent of fashion brands have a manual reply feature for more customized customer service. Watch and jewelry brands have seen more value in the feature, with 44 percent replying manually to customer inquiries.
Geolocation for custom notifications and store locater capability is employed by 53 percent of fashion brands and only 42 percent of watch and jewelry brands. While it could be a major benefit for luxury brands trying to reach Chinese travelers when they’re abroad, only 15 percent of fashion brands and 10 percent of watch/jewelry brands use international geolocation on WeChat.
When looking at the types of posts that go viral, L2 found that a variety were among the top 10 most-viewed posts by luxury brands on WeChat, including celebrity, lifestyle content, holiday greetings, product promotions, and coupons. While Burberry had the most-viewed post of all luxury brands when it teamed up with celebrity Wu Yifan for its London Fashion Week show Tod’s had the most success overall with generating popular content. The label produced five of the top 10 most popular WeChat posts by luxury brands with a combination of celebrity, lifestyle, and promotional content.