With a large community of consumption-motivated users always seeking new experiences and items, Xiaohongshu is a key partner in marrying the Chinese consumer with international, sometimes hard-to-get brands — even if they aren’t available in China yet.
Such was the case for Bulgarian novelty luxury brand By Far. Despite not previously having an official presence in China, its shoulder bags became popular among Chinese consumers, which the brand discovered was largely due to word-of-mouth on Xiaohongshu.
“Xiaohongshu has always been a vivid display for people showcasing their findings and sharing their thoughts about the world, which often triggers new relationships between emerging brands and the Chinese consumer,” says Valentina Ignatova, co-founder and CMO at By Far.
Ignatova notes that “the numerous vivid content creators on Xiaohongshu” helped By Far grow and establish brand awareness even before it entered China. Today, there are over 10,000 organic posts on Xiaohongshu mentioning By Far, indicating a solid brand echo and recognition. After its first flagship store in Los Angeles, the brand intends to open its second flagship store in Shanghai later this year.
“For brands with a strategic plan toward the Chinese consumer, Xiaohongshu, with its perception as a birthplace of supernova products and services, is always the best tool to convey their messages,” Ignatova says.
The power of word-of-mouth
The feedback from Chinese consumers through organic user-generated content on Xiaohongshu can also surprise established international brands. Swiss watchmaker Longines discovered interest from Chinese consumers in one of their particular products via the platform, which led to the brand adjusting its product lineup in China.
The brand’s “Prima Luna” model launched more than 10 years ago but never really found its way into the mainland Chinese market until Xiaohongshu users made it an “it” product. In 2019, a number of Chinese consumers bought the Prima Luna in shopping destinations including Dubai, Hong Kong and Macau and shared pictures on the platform.
Word-of-mouth spread quickly, and Chinese shoppers started looking for the product elsewhere, some even reaching out to Longines China to ask why the Prima Luna couldn’t be found in-store or on its official Tmall flagship store. Longines quickly introduced the model to the market and initiated an interactive online campaign for Xiaohongshu users at the end of 2020. By featuring the Chinese actor, singer and Longline brand ambassador Zhao Liying’s gifting recommendations video, the campaign recorded a higher-than-average clickthrough rate.
Harnessing trends for the Chinese consumer
Xiaohongshu’s large community of consumers gives brands the chance to test new things in the Chinese market through the platform, extending to trends like the metaverse. This explains why By Far was willing to launch its first NFT on Xiaohongshu. On 15 July, the brand rolled out its limited-edition NFT project to celebrate the upcoming Qixi festival — Chinese Valentine’s Day. The brand released exclusive virtual pendants that could be purchased from 27 July to 7 August and could be displayed on Xiaohongshu’s virtual space R-Space.
Throughout its whole journey, from assessing emerging consumer interest, to branding and marketing campaigns, to harnessing the latest trends, Xiaohongshu has been accompanying By Far, demonstrating how the platform is able to offer a one-stop solution for Western and international brands attempting to crack the Chinese market.
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