How Louis Vuitton Upped Its Digital Game in China

    From an omni-channel experience to experimenting with Artificial Intelligence, luxury powerhouse LV is upping its digital strategies.
    Photo: Alena Vezza / Shutterstock
    Ruonan ZhengAuthor
      Published   in Profile

    From cutting prices on the mainland to extending its e-commerce reach across China, French powerhouse Louis Vuitton has been aggressively upgrading its offerings for Chinese consumers in recent weeks. As the strongest performer among the LVMH group, Louis Vuitton ranked No. 2 of 91 luxury brands across fashion and watches & jewelry sectors in the latest Digital IQ Index: China Luxury Report, by digital intelligence company Gartner L2. This far exceeded its previous rankings: No. 9 in 2017 and No. 10 in 2016.

    With information provided by the brand, here Jing Daily highlights its online growth, and the top three reasons why Louis Vuitton has overtaken others in China's digital race.

    Establishing customer-centered service:#

    Louis Vuitton was the first luxury brand to open a WeChat service account in 2012, realizing the intimate nature of this one-on-one message tool, and creating a customer-centric WeChat strategy.

    According to the Garner L2 report, Louis Vuitton boasts the most sophisticated brand zone feature on WeChat. Brand zone is a WeChat function that allows labels the opportunity to have a ‘micro-homepage’ with a comprehensive listing of information and content. When searching Louis Vuitton on WeChat, the brand zone homepage will be the first result to appear, linking to commerce, account, live chat customer service, and even seasonal features like Chinese New Year Stickers. This clear structure allows consumers to access brand content easily and keep up to date accordingly.

    Even though Louis Vuitton's .cn website doesn’t have a live chat option, the customer can send direct messages to Louis Vuitton’s WeChat account to receive answers from the in-house client servicing team. In order to receive geographically tailored content, customers who use the official WeChat account are asked to agree to share their current location with Louis Vuitton.

    Delivering a seamless omni-channel experience:#

    Since the launch of its Chinese site in the early 1990's, Louis Vuitton has given customers the ability to place orders online and pick them up in store. This in-person touch point allows the customer to experience the kind of high-level service they might expect from a luxury brand, and ask any questions to sales associates.

    However, since adding an e-commerce function last year, the brand has seen a 14 percent rise in visitors to its Chinese site, becoming the highest retail sales channel for Louis Vuitton China. The brand puts incentives in place to encourage online shopping, and even in traditional offline stores sales associates gain commission if the customer places an order using an in-store iPad.

    Notably, the average customer age on Louis Vuitton's .cn site is five years younger than Louis Vuitton’s other flagship sites worldwide. The Chinese website is thus a useful gateway to entice young consumers, with the brand's omnichannel selling strategy working to attract these customers into stores.

    Implementing smart search:#

    Louis Vuitton has long been an early adopter of investing in SEO and social search strategies, deploying targeted ad posts on Weibo as early as 2014. Shortly after, the brand experimented with WeChat moment ads. From April 2017 to April 2018, Louis Vuitton was the number one brand most likely to appear at the top of non-specific fashion searches on Baidu mobile.

    As a highlight of the brand's smart search strategy, Louis Vuitton worked with Baidu Artificial Intelligence lab, using facial recognition technology to create a 'fragrance diagnosis tool." This system targeted consumers who had searched Louis Vuitton/competitor/industry related keywords with a relevant advertisement. To participate, a customer would upload a profile picture. Then, according to their own facial features, the system would match the user with a similar celebrity face - in turn matching them with one of the seven Louis Vuitton perfumes.

    Below is Louis Vuitton's digital milestone from 2009 to 2018:

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