Burberry Blitz: For Chinese Buyers WeChat Flash Sale Checks All the Boxes

    British high fashion brand Burberry hosted a 24-hour flash sales via WeChat mini-program to test the hotness of Riccardo Tisci’s debut.
    Photo: VCG
    Yiling PanAuthor
      Published   in Retail

    The British high-fashion brand Burberry hosted a 24-hour flash sales event on China social media giant WeChat immediately following its Spring/Summer 2019 catwalk show on September 17.

    A selection of 25 runway items, ranging from fresh-looking trench coats to modernized logo t-shirts to new monogram sneakers, was made available for sale for one day. By Jing Daily’s count, nearly half of the products were sold out before the end of the sale.

    To facilitate new creative director Riccardo Tisci's debut, Burberry has embraced a "social first" approach this month, which is in line with CEO Marco Gobbetti's strategy for the business. The British luxury label counts on the brand's over 12 million followers across WeChat and Instagram (the sales channel for non-Chinese consumers) to spread the excitement.

    Jing Daily illustration
    Jing Daily illustration

    September 13, five days before the show, Burberry released a WeChat post to stimulate interest in the new collection and the flash sales. The post revealed the black logo T-shirt and attached the invitation to the sales event. Readers could open Burberry’s mini-program to collect the passes and set reminder notifications to enter the sales when it went live.

    Over the course of the summer, Burberry had successfully sparked interests and generated buzz in China around this much-anticipated brand revamp led by ex-Givenchy creative talent Tisci. When unveiling an all-new logo and monogram in early August, Burberry sparked a round of heated discussions in the online community.

    Later on, the brand installed a huge Thomas Burberry Bear on the Xintiandi Taiping Lake in Shanghai, making it the latest photo-worthy place among young fashionistas. In Hong Kong, it redesigned the city’s iconic tram cars.

    “I feel the excitement from the brand,” said Zhang Cheng, a 20-year-old Chinese student studying finance in Shanghai, who ordered himself a logo T-shirt and told Jing Daily the reason for this purchase, “I was not a fan of Burberry before, but what they did made me feel it is a cool brand.”

    Financial publication Bloomberg called Burberry’s flash sales ideas on WeChat and Instagram a direct copy of ones by a Generation-Z favorite like Supreme. It noted the brand’s intention of moving a bit into streetwear but added: “Burberry’s store didn’t garner the around-the-block lines that are a regular occurrence at that Gen-Z favorite”.

    Within the fashion industry, Risci’s new collection received mixed reviews, especially Tisci’s revamp of its iconic plaid. Despite being praised by many for his bold departure from the past, some fashion critics like Diet_Prada felt the designer failed to present a consistent message of what he is trying to communicate.

    Therefore, whether this current interest powered by a sense of scarcity can eventually turn into long-standing, sustainable support from Chinese luxury shoppers remains to be seen.

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