The Chinese Lunar New Year has become an increasingly important time for department stores around the world to court Chinese luxury shoppers. Some simply stick to the basics — decorating with red lanterns; holding dragon dances — while others go beyond the traditional, particularly if they plan to attract a younger audience, and that requires a digital approach. Selfridges & Co., based in London, has done just that — creating a winning digital campaign, with a lifestyle-driven focus that resonated with the younger Chinese audiences.
How it worked: Launched weeks ahead of the Chinese New Year, Selfridges published a month-long WeChat mini-program, which asked users to take a personality test and offered a New Year outlook based on the users’ answers. It also matches the user with an artist that reflects their personality, as well as product recommendations, and a location in England to snap that perfect selfie.
The challenge: This wasn’t Selfridges’ first mini-program, but it did pose some challenges for the company. The mini-program was in development for nearly three months from idea to completion, and the most challenging aspect of the New Year mini-program development was deciding on the design and functionality of the personality quiz. Simon Forster, managing director of the department store told Jing Daily, they finalized the program because they believed the quiz function was a fun way to directly engage with users, while allowing them to express their own personality.
The results: Overall, Selfridges has seen significant improvement from this mini-program compared to the last one that went live last autumn. Total visits on the mini-program tripled from the previous one. All KPIs was reached in 10 days — the total page views within the mini-program were nearing 200,000, and on average, users spent 1.4 minutes within it, and it had been shared more than 3,000 times so far.
The WeChat mini-program is a small part of Selfridges’ digital asset, though being digital-savvy is a big part of identity to the department store. In a survey of over 5,000 Chinese luxury shoppers’ customer experience by OC&C Strategy Consultants, Selfridges’ e-commerce site ranked seventh after Farfetch and just ahead of Lane Crawford. Selfridges is also one of the early adopters of WeChat Pay and Alipay in its stores, and it offers direct shipping options to China.
The digital investment in China has been paying off. In the company’s earnings release in October 2018, Selfridges’ sales increased 11.5 percent year-on-year, reaching £1.75 billion ($2.27 billion) for the year ending February 2018.