Leaving a challenging 2020 behind, luxury brands are starting off the new year trying to forecast what the marketing landscape in China will look like. For brands, the marketing approach for 2021 seems to be: do what worked in China last year. In 2021 we expect a continuity with the main trends of the past year: live streaming and v-commerce (video-commerce).
Live streaming will continue to reign, with content creation quite likely taking new directions. In fact, as e-commerce, social media marketing and offline commerce become more and more related, KOLs play an increasingly central role in the entire ecosystem.
2021 will also give us a closer look at the practical ways the technology is transforming e-commerce, thanks to the 5G. In fact, allowing for faster streaming, 5G technology has led the way to v-commerce as a gateway to generating sales. As platforms ready to compete in this market share, Douyin and Kuaishou appear to have an advantage over e-commerce giants like Taobao and Tmall to exploit the opportunities offered by 5G.
Bilibili will continue to gain popularity this year, especially in the live streaming battlefield, focusing on user-generated content and effectively engaging the huge Gen Z audience.
How can a brand prepare to fully take advantage of 2021 main shopping events in China?
- Set your expectations
Define your goals and expectations, having in mind your brand specific sales targets.
- Pick your products
Choose the products your brand is going to focus the campaign on and consider launching a new or a limited-edition product in line with the theme of a specific occasion.
- Plan your strategy in time
Preparations should start around 45 days ahead of the big day (or the launch, if the campaign extends over several days). The two main exceptions are also the most important online shopping events in China: 618 Shopping Festival by JD.com and Double 11 by Alibaba. On these special occasions, brands must start planning at least 3 months in advance.
- Partner with KOLs and KOCs
Partner with KOLs and KOCs who will review products, creating an organic cycle of conversation around the brand.
- Consider the platform
Although the conversation around shopping festivals is often very much a cross-platform affair, and many social platforms are now perfectly integrated with e-commerce platforms, for those platform-specific events, such as the RED Shopping Festival (Xiaohongshu) and 618 Shopping Festival (JD.com), it will likely make sense to target content and advertising on the host platform.
- Deliver sharable content
As the shopping event approaches, consumers will be more actively searching products, brands and deals. At this time, the brand should be using content to build buzz, using keywords and hashtags to ensure consumers discover the content.
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