Live broadcast: a gamble of luxury brands in China

 Live broadcast: a gamble of luxury brands in China

For Chinese consumers, this March live broadcast, a similar way has become a more common sight. With the slow pick-up of retail traffic and the vigorous development of live broadcasting industry, luxury flagship stores began to build a suitable setting for live broadcasting, and sales are also trying to hold education live broadcasting with the theme of new products and models.

However, for luxury brands like Burberry, it is still seen as a very brave decision to sell the seasons ready-made clothes and accessories on tmall live. Since then, other brands have followed suit, expanding the scope of influence through live broadcast, so as to improve sales.

Customers are eager for freshness, and live broadcasting is a safe and exciting way for us, especially when some customers cant come to our store, Josie Zhang, President of Burberry China, explained on tmall live.

At the end of March, when Louis Vuitton became the first luxury brand to try a new way of live broadcasting on xiaohongshu platform, they chose the same blogger, Yvonne Ching. On that occasion, her role was more like a traditional host, leading the audience to watch every part of her Louis Vuitton suit from head to toe, and interviewing guest star Zhong Chuxi in front of 152000 audiences.

The response was mixed. Some audiences praised the natural and intimate live broadcast atmosphere as very suitable for xiaohongshu, because xiaohongshu is based on a strong community of young urban women who provide suggestions and comments on products to each other. However, others criticized the broadcast because they felt that the most basic elements did not match Louis Vuittons brand positioning.

It could have been better, Lauren hallanan, director of marketing at chatly, a wechat management company, said of Louis Vuittons webcast debut. My Chinese assistant said she felt like she was looking at a cheap Taobao store. It doesnt feel like Louis Vuitton at all.

Part of the aesthetic problem of Louis Vuittons live broadcast seems to be the growing worry of the platform he chose. Xiaohongshu lacks some technological innovation and the live back-end support that tmall has developed over the years.

Cheng Xiaoyue is optimistic about the criticism. She pointed out that any big brand testing new digital platforms and tools in China will trigger a lot of discussions, including negative voices. However, Cheng Xiaoyue pointed out that at present, every luxury brand is looking for a way to take advantage of Chinas live e-commerce wave, and those brands that create experience for the audience on a specific platform will perform better.

If you use tiktok or little red book platform, pay too much attention to brand image, and your voice is very authoritative and official, people wont feel close to you, explains Cheng Xiaoyue.

Major brands are really trying to find the best of both worlds, but it is impossible. Because of the epidemic, many brands choose to take risks and try new things. If you dont try, you will never know the result, she added.

Nowadays, almost all the luxury brands active in China are considering some kind of live broadcast strategy. At this unprecedented important moment, this technology has indisputable power and undeniable shortcomings in reaching people. Now this form of live broadcast seems very real and approachable, but it also gives people a sense of cheapness in essence.

Its not just a fleeting trend

Live broadcasting is not new in China. Since Alibaba launched Taobao live in 2016, live broadcasting has become a major trend in the field of e-commerce in China.

According to iimedia, a mobile Internet research company, Chinas live broadcast sales have reached $61 billion in 2019 and are expected to grow to $129 billion by 2020. This technology has both positive and negative aspects for the brand, which not only affects the fashion industrys purchase, sales and marketing methods, but also accelerates the development of this technology due to the outbreak of the epidemic.

In February this year, in order to control the spread of the epidemic in China, large-scale population movements were restricted. At the height of the crisis, more than 750 million people are estimated to be living in some degree of isolation, prompting consumers to stay at home and use live as a form of distraction and entertainment.

In the same month, the live broadcasting platform reached an unprecedented peak. The number of sellers on Taobao tiktok platform increased by 719%. On the relatively new live platform, the average user spent 120 minutes watching live broadcast, while the time of watching other forms of content on the application was 89 minutes; on Bilibili, the time of watching live broadcast was 190 minutes, while watching other videos was 105 minutes.

Traditionally, in China, brands that want to sell on a large scale to the mass market have started to use live broadcasting. In last years double 11, the daily trading volume on Taobao live reached 20 billion yuan. Last year, each of more than 10 live brands broke the sales record of 100 million yuan, and another 100 brands achieved the sales record of 10 million yuan on the platform.

The largest e-commerce category of Taobao live is clothing, followed by beauty makeup, mother and baby, food and jewelry. The sales of the platform is mainly driven by the top-level KOL, and the best price of goods is between 200 and 500 yuan.

Li Jiaqi, the first brother of lipstick, has an indisputable position among Chinese anchors. He has 25 million fans on Taobao live and sold 15000 Lipsticks in five minutes. Another indisputable anchor is Weiya, who is supermarket type with goods, because she covers an incredible range of brands and product categories. Last month, she even sold the real rockets, and she was good at selling to her 19 million fans in a fast, dynamic language.

All of this is great, but it doesnt necessarily sound like a luxury fashion or jewelry industry. Louis Vuitton clearly disagrees. Not long ago, the luxury giant announced that it would invite Li Jiaqi and actress Song Jia to appear in its 520 publicity campaign.

In general, the price of luxury goods is not only far higher than the best price of 200-500 yuan for live platforms, but also based on the concept of exclusivity. On the other hand, the use of live TV in China is similar to that of home TV shopping in the West. For example, QVC encourages the audience to make impulse consumption on the sofa.

Entry of luxury brands

Before this year, luxury brands will use a live platform of microblog to broadcast the world-famous fashion week to Chinese audiences. However, before the outbreak of the epidemic, no one will use the live mode of KOL and mass market brands in China to enjoy the most important advantage of this technology: user growth and interactivity.

Chlo u00e9, a high-end fashion brand just settled in tmall, started its first live broadcast soon. With the help of 520, an important marketing node, it not only introduces the brand spirit and recommended products, but also recruits fans for new stores. According to the brand, there are more than 60000 people watching the live broadcast. From the beginning of the warm-up to the day of the broadcast, the store recruits more than 10 times more fans every day.

Sara Dong, account manager of redant, a digital marketing agency in Shanghai, said: live broadcasting is the fastest and most responsive way of all online communication. You dont get the same level of instant feedback through other content types, posts, and websites.

Cheng agrees, and believes that live broadcasting can let luxury brands see the real-time response of the market to products, so as to help them better customize store marketing and public relations work.

Brands get feedback from them and from me; I can also pass on feedback from fans to them, so we all grow together with the help of that feedback, she said

Brands are not the only ones trying to find the best way to cut into live broadcasting. Many traditional luxury fashion KOL in China market are looking for a turning point in live broadcast, which requires completely different skills from micro-blog, WeChat official account or short video background, and the time needed to edit, modify and improve daily content.

The blogger Yuyu Yuwei Zhangzou, who cooperates with Dior, Louis Vuitton and other brands, recently hosted the live broadcast of maje in tmall and displayed more than 100 products. She says the difference between her regular content and live broadcast is more than just a formal one.

Live broadcasting is a risk for brands and bloggers. Some people will get attention and some people will lose their fans. Your personality is becoming more and more important, some people may prefer you, some people will think you are an idiot, said Zhangzou, although she, like many other luxury brands she works with, has accepted the fact that live broadcasting is an inevitable part of business in Chinas growing online luxury market.

Live, but make it luxurious

The environment of the live broadcast is the first. Chlo u00e9 has made great efforts in this live broadcast. How to display the texture and tonality of luxury goods through the small screen is also our biggest challenge at the beginning. We choose the online store to build a real whole flower wall as the main background, while setting off the soft and beautiful atmosphere of 520 and ensuring that the screen is fresh and clean, with advanced and rich texture A representative of the brand side introduced. During the live broadcast, according to the product style, there are also different kinds of advertising blockbusters and videos, which enrich the live experience with various modes. Some people in the audience praise it as the most advanced live broadcast of luxury goods.

Another platform supporting live broadcasting of luxury goods is the temple Library of luxury e-commerce website. Li RI, its chief executive, said they were working with brand partners and had been broadcasting more and more live online even before the outbreak in China. Since then, their efforts have accelerated and now more brands are willing to participate, he said. Although he saw the potential of the technology for luxury brands, he acknowledged that there were some limitations.

Li rixue pointed out that Chinas post-80s and post-90s accounted for 30% of Chinas e-commerce market, live broadcast will bring the most intuitive online experience for this target consumer group.

Perhaps for luxury brands, the best way is not to use live broadcast as the main sales channel, but as a powerful customer relationship tool, to use interaction to turn fans into customers and help them maintain loyalty.

Lauren hallanan suggested that instead of thinking that live broadcast must be one to many (like on xiaohongshu and Taobao live broadcast), it should be transformed into a more intimate but influential tool. She envisions a scenario in which luxury brands invite VIPs to watch exclusive new or limited edition products using the new live tool wechat is testing.

Dior is a luxury brand that does this. Last month, it hosted two live broadcasts for VIPs through wechat apps. One of them launched womens summer collection, the other focused on mens VIP, pre announced the brands cooperation with stussy. Its similar to offline experience, just bringing it online. I believe that this kind of activity will bring some sales, and this exclusive incentive will encourage purchase, rather than provide price concessions like the mass market live broadcast, hallanan said.

Chlo u00e9 also chose to avoid the most commonly used shopping and direct recommendation mode of Taobao live broadcast. By inviting @ Alex, a constellation blogger with 17 million Weibo fans, to analyze the constellation for the audience, select the corresponding items, imperceptibly promote brand and new store products.

This could be a huge opportunity for luxury brands relative to these broad audiences and types of brand awareness activities, says hallanan.