More brands hope to capitalize on the “drop” effect via WeChat flash sales.

Yesterday, the Parisian fashion house Balenciaga debuted a single limited-edition item – a pink monogram Logo Ville bag via the company’s WeChat mini-program – in mysterious fashion.

The initial post on Balenciaga’s official account utilized a simple, yet edgy style – it was a single image on a solid background announcing the item linked to the mini-program e-commerce channel. The post did not mention price or how many were available or how long the flash sale would last, forcing users to find out the details.

Balenciaga/WeChat mini-program

The only information available within the mini-program is the size of the bag and the price. Only one size was available — the mini bag sold for about $2,037 (RMB 13,800).

While most luxury brands are busy posting WeChat campaigns to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year, Balenciaga’s lack of information about the flash sale, frankly, stood out. Within one day, the original post has garnered 22,000 page views and 67 people recommended it.

The flash sale marketing technique on WeChat was first recognized by the British brand Burberry last year as a way to introduce their new streetwear identity and connect with young Chinese consumers. As a result, the brand received positive engagement and sales — nearly half of the items were sold out by the end of the 24-hour event.

As Balenciaga is clearly following Burberry’s example, the question remains: how successful will the sales strategy be?

What’s clear is that Balenciaga has been on Chinese consumers’ radar thanks to the multiple controversial events last year, from shifting part of its signature Triple S sneaker production to China to alleged discrimination against Chinese consumers at its Paris store.

Balenciaga/Weibo

Unfortunately, the exclusive launch didn’t seem to excite Chinese consumers, many of whom still find it necessary to remind the public about the discrimination episode last April. The most-liked comment (out of only 30 as of 3 p.m. on Thursday) on the company’s Weibo post, published around the same time as the WeChat campaign, was: “D&G exemplified racist attitude towards Chinese. Balenciaga, where is your apology? It’s been a year, get out of China!” Meanwhile, another user defended the brand: “They have apologized, don’t you see?” in reference to the company’s apology in May. Even so, the negative sentiment didn’t seem to cool down; almost all of the brand’s posts since May attracted user comments urging the brand to leave the Chinese market.

It’s still too early for the company to provide insight into whether the campaign was successful.





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