Why Luxury Brands Should Care About Chinese E-commerce Social Media Platform Redbook

    Luxury brands should care about Redbook, China's e-commerce social media platform, in which users post organic content about luxury purchases every day.
    A screenshot of Redbook's official website.
    Miranda Tan and Lauren HallananAuthor
      Published   in Technology

    XiaoHongShu (小红书), which literally translates as “Little Redbook,” is a social e-commerce shopping app based in Shanghai. The concept of the app is uniquely Chinese, and its appeal might be difficult for people unfamiliar with Chinese society and culture to understand. Essentially the app provides three things to consumers: trust, community, and convenience.

    Redbook targets 18-to-35-year-old Chinese women; its purpose is to help them discover, learn about, and purchase brand-name products (primarily beauty and health products) overseas that normally are difficult to find in China. The app started as a social platform for travelers to share and recommend products they bought while they were abroad. When it appears that there was a need in the market for a reliable and affordable way to purchase foreign goods, Redbook created partnerships with several prominent foreign brands and added an e-commerce component to the platform.

    In the past, women who wanted to purchase these products would either have to travel abroad themselves, or purchase them through a daigou (代购). A daigou is a sort of grey market agent, someone who lives abroad who can buy the item on behalf of a purchaser and ship it back to China. Redbook quickly became a better and more reliable option, especially with warehouses in free-trade zones that could significantly cut down shipping costs.

    For companies in the health, beauty, fashion and luxury industries, Redbook is an app worth knowing about. At 60 million users and growing, Redbook knows how to create a community and profit from it, and these influencers play a crucial role in that.

    A recent report by digital intelligence firm L2 also revealed that the number of mentions of luxury labels such as Hugo Boss and Max Mara by users has increased quickly on the platform. Over the past year, French luxury powerhouse Chanel was mentioned 2.24 million times, with Dior following after at 2.14 million mentions. Meanwhile, Hugo Boss recorded a 271 percent jump in mentions, with Bally and Max Mara both achieving growth of 133 percent.

    What makes this app different than other e-commerce sites is the social aspect. Users can post product photos with reviews and tips and other users will read, comment, and save these posts to boards (somewhat similar to Pinterest). Users who frequently post quality content will start to grow a following of other users who see them as shopping experts and turn to them for advice. These users with large, trusting audiences become influencers on the site and can actually earn a commission from helping Redbook sell products.

    Below is a list of the top 20 Redbook fashion and beauty KOLs based on the ranking by Robin8, an Influencer search engine. This ranking is based on a number of factors including follower accounts, content relevancy, and engagement (comments, likes, reposts and shares).

    Top 20 fashion and beauty KOLs on Redbook. Photo: Robin8
    Top 20 fashion and beauty KOLs on Redbook. Photo: Robin8

    Sun Shanshan, who ranked at ninth on the list, reviews mainly health and beauty products. She includes a variety of image styles and writes very detailed product descriptions. Her photos often feature her demonstrating or testing out the product.

    A beauty KOL on Redbook. Photo: Robin8
    A beauty KOL on Redbook. Photo: Robin8

    You can see here how Redbook profile pages look somewhat similar to Pinterest and, in fact, users are able to create themed boards (which can be seen in a photo further down in the article). Users also have the ability to tag photos, allowing other users to click those tags to see the featured products.

    A fashion KOL on Redbook. Photo: Robin8
    A fashion KOL on Redbook. Photo: Robin8

    Maxine’s content focuses on fashion. In her posts, she mixes in fashion product reviews with stories about her life, travels, and more recently, her experience with pregnancy and being a new mom. She writes in a very personal tone and makes people feel like she’s chatting with her friends.

    A beauty KOL on Redbook. Photo: Robin8
    A beauty KOL on Redbook. Photo: Robin8

    Zhizhi cm’s account is also beauty and skincare focused, but unlike Sun Shanshan’s account, this account mostly includes product photos and seldom features photos of the influencer. Her writing style is also more polished and professional.

    Miranda Tan is the CEO and founder of Robin8 ( Robin8 is a technology company focused on profiling, ranking and matching people. Robin8 offers a new advertising channel focused on people as media. The Robin8 programmatic platform offers complete automation and scale to Influencer and advocacy marketing. The platform is powered by big data and machine learning and has profiled over 30 million influencers in China. Robin8 specializes in social data collection, analysis, and management. Additional services include third-party digital advertising verification, social media and e-commerce measurement, and data management.

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