How Sandro’s Ingenuity Is Winning Over China’s Young Shoppers

Long before China became an economic powerhouse full of luxury and “middle class” shoppers, Evelyne Chetrite founded Sandro. She took the helm as creative director in 1984, making her unique aesthetic, featuring a light but exquisitely modern touch, its signature style.  

Now, it’s a leading name in the accessible luxury sector, thanks in part to its nimble, early adoption of Chinese e-commerce ecology. In recent years it launched on Tmall Luxury Pavilion (May 2016) and opened its WeChat boutique three years later in January 2019. These early efforts future-proofed it to combat the current retail turbulence following the pandemic. 

This month, Sandro is deepening its partnership with the leading local e-commerce titan. On September 16, it unveiled a launch party for its Fall/Winter 2021 Collection in Shanghai with Tmall. A fierce step far beyond the digital arena, this featured its China ambassadors Wang Linkai (aka Lil Ghost) and Sunnee Yang Yunqing.

With the campaign unveiling, Jing Daily scrutinizes how, from online to offline, Sandro weathered retail turbulence in China, and its selective use of faces to embody its Parisian DNA.

A proven positive trajectory in post-pandemic China

Since SMCP, the parent company of Sandro and Maje, unveiled its first store in Hong Kong in 2012, the two leading global accessible luxury labels have been pivoting physical expansion in Greater China, including the opening of flagship stores in high-end shopping malls of both tier-1 and tier-2 cities.

Thanks to its long-term commitment to the market, the French group has now rallied from the pandemic and maintained its dominating position in the post-COVID era. According to SMCP Headquarters, H1 2021 financial results, released on September 3, reported a solid sales performance up to $537 million (453.3 million euros) — a 21.6 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Daniel Lalonde, the former CEO of the group, underlined in a statement that in “APAC and in the U.S., sales exceeded or were back to their pre-pandemic levels.” In particular, the company showcased a strong double-digit growth in mainland China, reaching a 54.6 and 24 percent growth on an organic basis compared to H1 2020 and H1 2019, respectively. 

Therefore, Sandro, along with its sister brands, has indicated a promising outlook due to the optimization of brick and mortar networks and the acceleration of digital penetration. 

Leveraging omnichannel marketing in collaboration with Tmall

This momentum in the mainland market has come from the house’s dedication and innovation. For example, Sandro’s collaboration with Tmall Hey Box — a marketing tool of China’s e-commerce titan Tmall for product releases — has demonstrated its veteran position in the digital marketing arena. 

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Through exclusively pre-launching five new designs on Sandro’s Tmall flagship store and releasing four best-selling collections in collaboration with the platform, the brand offers China’s digital-savvy consumers exclusive offerings including the brand’s re-invented “S” monogram printed across a variety of products. 

Meanwhile, Sandro also understands the Tmall ecosystem such as livestreaming to engage online shoppers, and its “Store Loft” feature which delivers branded campaign content and garners private traffic in the marketplace. Elsewhere, the forward-looking label partnered with Chinese metahuman AYAYI, a virtual idol, to showcase selected looks from the FW 21 collection on Xiaohongshu. 

The horizontal view of the “Store Loft” feature on Sandro’s Tmall flagship store. Photo: Screenshot

In addition to these online activities, the brand hosted an offline event on September 16 at Shanghai’s glitzy financial hub Lujiazui. It is based on three themed chapters, namely, “Sunset,” “Moonlight” and “Sunrise” which emphasize the FW21 campaign theme — “HOPE.”

Casting young faces to win over Gen Z shoppers

Finally, Sandro has partnered with the brand’s newly announced China ambassadors to deliver its DNA which is rooted in the popular cultural pillars of fashion and music. The young faces are music producer Wang Linkai (aka Lil Ghost), and singer Sunnee Yang Yunqing.

Wang Linkai (left) and Sunnee Yang Yunqing (right) at Sandro’s Shanghai event. Photo: Sandro

Their authentic music careers and vivacious personalities allow the brand to extend its Parisian chic to broader audiences in China thanks to the halo effect. Moreover, their combined reach of 42.5 million enables Sandro’s vision to reach new, unexpected fans from their healthy amount of followers.  

Overall, Sandro’s dedication to digital transformation and its agility in the local market have demonstrated its advanced brand desirability among today’s young generations and consolidated relevance to Chinese customers seeking elevated and uncompromising accessible luxury.