Chatly recently analyzed 41 WeChat Official Accounts from top global luxury fashion brands - and the results were surprising.
We looked at five core initial touchpoints: WeChat Search, 48-Hour Journeys, menu bar, customer service, and e-commerce and found that very few of the brands excelled in all areas, leaving significant room for improvement.
To see our full findings, check out our report, “WeChat Initial Touchpoint Optimization Guide: Luxury Fashion Edition”.
Here we’re going to highlight the four key areas luxury fashion brands need to work on:
1) Only 29% have a Brand Zone set up in WeChat Search
WeChat Search allows brands to create a branded zone that appears at the top of the search result pages when users type a brand name (or related terms). This zone can be customized with a branded background and provide easy access to all of the brand’s WeChat properties including Official Accounts, mini programs, store finders, customer service, live streams, and more.
Setting up a Brand Zone can help increase a brand’s index results and provide a cleaner, more appealing design. Without a Brand Zone, 3rd party content such as influencer articles and WeChat Moments posts may appear higher in search results than branded content.
A Brand Zone with customized background leaves a strong impression on users and spotlights your key brand properties and campaigns.
Despite the importance of a Brand Zone, our research found that only 29% of the luxury fashion brands we looked at had one. Among the brands we looked at, Burberry, Tiffany’s, and Hermes had excellent Brand Zones.
It was surprising to see that Prada, Michael Kors, and Tod’s - three brands which are very active on WeChat, did not have a Brand Zone set up, and Gucci only had a very basic Brand Zone without the custom background and some 3rd party content near the bottom of the screen.
Gucci’s brand Zone is very basic and only covers part of the page. Prada and Michael Kors don’t even have Brand Zones, allowing 3rd party content to show up near the top of search results.
2) Very few luxury brands taking full advantage of the 48-hour journey feature
During the first 48 hours after someone follows a WeChat Official Service Account, the account can send that user an unlimited number of messages and content, meaning that brands can create customer journeys similar to an automated email sequence.
What’s more, this series of messages can be customized depending on how that person entered the account, based on whether they are a customer or loyalty member, as well as other criteria.
The responses and engagement with this series of messages help the brand tag the user, group them, and know which type of content to send them, as well as drive the user to take immediate action such as making a purchase or joining a loyalty program.
Luxury brands are vastly underutilizing this feature, sending an average of 1.2 messages to new followers during the first 48 hours when they should be sending 3-4 messages.
Even worse, only 14.2% are creating customized, personalized experiences.
Personalization makes content more relevant to the user, and relevant content and offerings can cut through the noise, and when done right, is proven to increase engagement, retention, and conversion rates.
Ralph Lauren sends users a welcome message personalized with their name and immediately encourages them to complete membership binding and shares a link to its mini program store. It follows up with a second message which is an article related to the upcoming 520 holiday.
If these results were for the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) industry, we would be less surprised, but to us it seems that personalization should be a staple of the luxury shopping experience.
3) Poor customer service options
As the name implies, one of the key things a Service Account should offer is easy access to customer service, yet only 53% of the accounts we reviewed included customer service in their menu bars, and only 28% offer live support.
The use of WeChat for customer service is very important in China because Chinese consumers rarely visit brand .com websites or use email - two common customer service channels in the West.
Celine’s Official Account offers a live chat with a brand ambassador who shared links to specific products after learning what type of bag we were interested in.
Brands who have Official Accounts on WeChat must consider how to handle customer service. Service Official Accounts are called service accounts for a reason and Chinese consumers expect that if they message a brand, they will receive a prompt response. When used correctly, autoresponders, template messages and chatbots can lighten the customer service team’s load and increase customer satisfaction, but offering live support is still crucial, particularly for luxury brands.
With high price points, consumers are not going to make purchasing decisions lightly and often desire to speak to a sales associate who can guide and reassure them.
4) Only 7% offer in-store pick up
Luxury brands have been some of the early adopters of WeChat commerce, with 76% linking to their websites and 50% offering a mini program store, however, we were surprised to find that only a few brands give consumers the ability to purchase online and pick up at a nearby store.
Prada shoppers can select in-store pick up during checkout.
This feature seems particularly appealing for luxury purchases, as many consumers may not trust shipping services to safely deliver such an expensive product and would rather pick it up themselves.
This is also a lost opportunity for brands to drive consumers in-store where sales associates can develop a relationship with the consumer and potentially introduce additional products to the consumer during their visit.
What was interesting about our findings was that many brands tend to excel when it comes to certain aspects of their WeChat strategies, but then lag far behind in others.
Take Prada and Michael Kors for example - Prada had an excellent 48-hour journey with three messages and links to a current campaign, and Michael Kors offers a WeChat mini program with live support and even a pay-upon-delivery option, but neither of them have the basic Brand Zone set up.
We hope brands can use the initial touchpoint framework outlined in our recent luxury fashion report to examine their accounts and discover gaps. We have even created a checklist to help brands to just that.