All branded roads lead to, well, China. Many bloggers and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) have garnered the trust of millions of fans over the years and those fans have in turn become the secret ingredient to their success. Not just online. Brick-and-mortar retail is not dead; it just needs a head-to-toe revamp to cater to today’s shoppers who are digitally-savvy and looking for an engaging experience shareable on social media. And who else do we find walking that yellow brick road to luxury success? Why, it’s AI (artificial intelligence). Time to get trending with Jing Daily!
Disclaimer: Temper Magazine’s Trending segment casts a net upon all that is throwing tantrums within the world of China Fashion across a variety of global sources. This very necessary segment makes for a collection of largely non-Temper Magazine-original content dipping its toe into the deep indigo-dyed pool that is the ocean of Middle Kingdom fashionable astonishment. This time around, we dive into luxury branding anno 2019 with Jing Daily!
The Chinese Blogger Playbook
Headlines like “100 cars ($44,910 each) sold out within five minutes of the launch” or “sold out of 80 handbags within 12 minutes” highlights the astonishing power of these bloggers to drive flash sales. However, much of those numbers could be attributed to their loyal fans, according to marketing staff from a luxury brand that put together one of those sales. He anonymously disclosed that a sizable portion of the event’s sales came from fans of the blogger before the sale went live. In many ways, the super fans are the livelihood of a blogger’s business, and they also hold the key for luxury brands that want to access the wealthiest 1 percent of customers.
At the latest influencer conference at FINS (the Fashion Influencer New Media summit) in Shanghai last week, 1,000 KOLs from the fashion industry gathered to share their insights. Many of them touched on just how important these super-fans are. The Business Director of the Becky Li (a.k.a. WeChat goddess), Rui Wang, revealed although they only have 1 percent of fans registered as members of her “Fantasy Club,” 20 percent of sales come from that group. It was reported that last year, Becky reached an annual revenue of $7 million (RMB 55 million), which is almost 2 percent of Burberry’s annual revenue from 2016.
So what’s their playbook for building these fan groups? What kind of relationships do they have with them? To get to the bottom of this, Jing Daily spoke with several top influencers to find out.
“SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It’s a high-tech hard-sell: an interactive skincare wall then displays an analysis of each user’s skin condition, coupled with a set of SK-II products recommendations based on the results.” Pan Yiling writes for Jing Daily
Beauty Brands And Their High Tech Toys
In a new high-end beauty “Smart Store” in Shanghai, customers don buying bracelets and have only to waive their wrists to purchase products ranging from a $105 (approximately 721 RMB) box of Miracle Masks to a $160 (approximately 1,099RMB) Radiance Regimen. The innovation shows, yet again, that brick-and-mortar retail is not dead; it just needs a head-to-toe revamp to cater to today’s shoppers, who are digitally-savvy and looking for an engaging experience shareable on social media.
Japanese prestige beauty brand SK-II launched its month-long “Future X” Smart Store in Shanghai on September 12. The new store employs technologies such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) to offer an intimate, immersive and customized shopping journey for visitors, aiming to transform the retail experiences of Chinese beauty consumers. The Shanghai store, located in the fashion and art department store K-11, is an extension of SK-II’s successful Tokyo activation back in May.
When entering the futuristic store, Chinese consumers first see a large-scale digital wall, named “The Art of You”, which lets them create their personal art piece by posing in front of it. In addition, visitors learn about SK-II Facial Treatment Essence at the “Miracle Water” Lab and get a free skin scan analysis. It’s a high-tech hard-sell: an interactive skincare wall then displays an analysis of each user’s skin condition, coupled with a set of SK-II products recommendations based on the results.
“From the impeccable presentation of a Michelin-star rated restaurant to the subtly distinct aroma of a high-end perfume, luxury brands are fantastic at crafting powerful sensorial experiences that can stir emotions and linger in people’s minds for a lifetime.” Rémi Blanchard writes for Jing Daily
3 Challenges AI Will Pose The Luxury Industry
Like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) is going to take over the luxury industry, and some brands are already using AI in some of their new digital marketing campaigns. Brands need to anticipate this revolution and adapt their strategies as soon as possible, because the industry will crown winners and losers as quickly as the technology grows.
But AI is not simply a yellow brick road to financial success. There will be some key challenges for companies wanting to use AI, specifically ones that threaten the way they’ve been doing business for decades.
CHALLENGE #1 – Artificial intelligence could be an “emotion killer”
Emotions play an essential role in luxury buying. From the impeccable presentation of a Michelin-star rated restaurant to the subtly distinct aroma of a high-end perfume, luxury brands are fantastic at crafting powerful sensorial experiences that can stir emotions and linger in people’s minds for a lifetime. But, unfortunately, part of brands’ reliance on emotions could be threatened by artificial intelligence and developing robotization.
For instance, car manufacturers are facing a major challenge as driverless cars begin to emerge in parts of China and Silicon Valley. For luxury auto brands like BMW, repositioning is essential to their message, as their catchphrase “the pleasure of driving” won’t exactly fit once they’re selling automated vehicles.
The Japanese cosmetics company SK-II might have found an answer to this emotion problem, using AI to serve emotions and help the brand push sensorial exploration further than ever before. In its newly opened Shanghai store, the company invites visitors to create their own art piece with the help of artificial intelligence. By posing in front of a large digital wall, users can unleash their creativity and design a unique artwork starring themselves—a form of selfie art branding.
Originally published by Jing Daily, 2018. All rights reserved
Additional editing by Elsbeth van Paridon for Temper Magazine
Featured image: Courtesy of Huffington Post
Temper Magazine does not own any of the above English content. All featured English content was re-published by Temper Magazine according to the “fair use” agreement and originally belongs to Jing Daily, 2018. All rights reserved.
After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.