When fashion bloggers collaborate with luxury brands to promote their products, should those bloggers be responsible for bringing in sales?
In China, it hasn’t exactly been a condition before. The massive social media following that bloggers have is generally enough of an asset for brands in terms of finding and growing the right targeted customers. However, as business relationships between fashion bloggers and brands evolve, turning a blogger’s followers into consumers has increasingly become the undisputed aim of each partnership.
A number of Chinese influencers have been leading the way on this front, and “Buying Goddess” Becky Li, whose WeChat account, named “Becky’s Fantasy,” has over 1.6 million followers, is at the forefront.
In August, Becky Li collaborated with carmaker MINI to promote its limited edition Caribbean Aqua-colored car. Her fans snapped up all 100 editions in less than four minutes of the launch.
Jing Daily met with Becky Li during New York Fashion Week when she was in town to attend events with American beauty brand Bobbi Brown and fashion label Rebecca Minkoff.
During our conversation, Becky said she believed fashion bloggers are the bridge between brands and consumers. They offer a direct and vertical platform for brands to identify a targeted audience and leverage their influence to sell products.
In the following interview, she reveals her future plans as well as the truth behind her magical power to move product.
Why do Becky Li’s fans buy what she promotes?
Jing Daily: How important do you think sales are to fashion bloggers?
Becky Li: it is a quite important indicator for KOLs, or at least to me as that is how we became what we are today. It is good timing for brands and bloggers to work together as now brands can accurately calculate the arrival rate of ads they place with bloggers on social media. For example, when we promote products for brands, we will generate a special URL or coupon codes that link to the brands so that they can count how many customers come from our promotion.
Actually, we now have a lot of brands directly come to us who want to sell products on our platform as they have heard that we are good at selling. They view us as a channel but that also puts a lot of pressure on us.
Do you feel it is a sustainable business model? And what is your magic for selling?
I do customer service [for brands I promote] every day. I highly care about what my followers say about products I recommend. If they tell me that they purchase products I promote but find they were not worth buying, I will always ask for the reasons.
I pay particular attention to this type of feedback on WeChat. I feel even if it is even just one out of 100 people saying the product is not good, it is important to pay attention. I will forward this feedback to the brands.
This is a good interaction with both brands and my followers. Because of it, I have also developed a very close relationship with my readers. They truly trust me. Thus, they trust the products I recommend.
Can you give us an example of a brand that received negative feedback from your audience?
My fans told me once that SK-II’s post-purchase customer service was not very good. I then gave this feedback to the brand. Actually many international brands have just started to deal with Chinese consumers, therefore, my feedback from followers is highly important and welcomed by them.
How Will Becky Li Scale Her KOL Business?
When asking for the revenue sources of Becky Li’s business, she admitted that mostly came from brand promotions for the moment. However, she has a much bigger plan than that, which includes her own fashion label, e-commerce stores, and member clubs.
You are about to launch your own fashion line. Why did you decide to start your own line?
My brand will focus on making basic fashion items, which are essential to every girl’s wardrobe. From my readers, I realize that it is actually pretty hard to purchase basic, high-quality items in China. My readers’ demand is huge. They always ask me where they can buy, for example, a good white T-shirt or blouse.
I am currently working with a designer on this project. We use materials we develop and try a number of designs to ensure that our products fit different types of bodies.
We also have developed a website, which will be linked to my WeChat account later. For now, I have not opened a Taobao store, since I wanted to start by making my online store visually appealing and offer a friendly shopping experience. Secondly, I wanted to have more autonomy with regard to sales.
I will only make 500 items the first time as quality matters more than quantity. The end goal is to make this brand separate from my name. Someday, I hope consumers come to the brand not because they know me but because the products are good.
Can you tell us a bit more about your new e-commerce mini app program on WeChat?
It is called “Zhong Cao,” a WeChat e-commerce account where we are going to recommend one tiny and beautiful item per day with purchasing links. I made it in addition to my original WeChat account as I realized that not all my readers like to see product ads from me. One type of reader requires you to give them purchasing links for products you recommend, while the other one prefers only to read your articles, without ads.
You also launched “Fantasy Club,” a members community for your readers. How do you profit from it?
I don’t have any plan to profit from it yet. I started it because of my close relationship with my readers. I wanted to form a community where they could share and make friends with each other. However, it is definitely helpful for brands to find a targeted audience.
“Fantasy Club”‘s first event is with Armani Beauty. I selected some club members to attend the event with me. Armani’s cosmetics experts will teach them how to do the makeup. In addition, I also plan to host some other events such as etiquette classes.
This interview was translated from Mandarin by Yiling Pan. It has also been edited and condensed.