In what way has WeChat been a useful tool for Swarovski as a brand?
For Swarovski, we’d like to fully leverage WeChat’s various functions to connect with consumers in a long-term way. This nurtures brand desirability and drives consideration. We’d also ultimately like to build up social commerce to enable WeChat to act as a full consumer funnel.
To do all this, we need to look at WeChat and consider the full spectrum of its functionalities. While we always had a strong focus on developing impactful and inspiring campaigns to support the development of our brand awareness, we now also focus on developing the service part with our loyalty program, My Crystal Club, and like I said, ultimately social commerce. This allows Swarovski to not only focus on acquisition of new prospects but also to reinforce the preferences and the loyalty of our audience through the value proposition of our WeChat account.
What are some of the programs or initiatives you have run via WeChat?
Over the past year, we ran several successful WeChat campaigns, for example Valentine's Day, which we used as an opportunity to introduce Maggie Jiang as our new ambassador and a way to localize the concept of "daring and brilliant" to the Chinese audience. We also did a first test case using the WeChat mini-program to support our Mother's Day campaign with a pop-up store specifically designed for the occasion. Last but not least, we introduced our WeChat loyalty program called My Crystal Club at the start of this year. It is fully integrated to our CRM infrastructure.
What are some of the outcomes you can share about brand awareness of Swarovski prior to these WeChat initiatives, compared with after?
It is hard to do a “before and after” exercise as the whole idea of implementing such activities is also to improve the level and accuracy of the measurement and analysis of our WeChat audience. That being said, such initiatives allow us now to also assess the result of our campaigns more qualitatively. Overall, it has all been very positive as we achieved our yearly objectives in terms of customer sign-ups and repeat purchases very quickly.
It makes sense to think of WeChat as an educational or informational tool. Could you tell us a little bit about its efficacy at building loyalty as well?
Users don't follow brands randomly on WeChat, you only decide to follow a brand when the brand appeals strongly to you or if there is a concrete benefit in doing so. In accordance with that, the expectations of this audience are very different from that of other social media networks.
WeChat gives us a way to reach out to a qualified audience of users that have signed up for such updates, on a weekly basis. That’s already half the battle won when it comes to building loyalty. Once that is done, the key is to constantly ask ourselves whether our content, campaigns and services developed on WeChat bring added value from a customer standpoint. This is obviously a challenge, but that is the beauty of this platform.
How key is customer retention to Swarovski? How do you balance your WeChat activities between customer acquisition and retention?
It is not really about balancing it – one cannot live without the other. The brand already enjoys a strong awareness in China so while we still and will always care about reinforcing aspiration for the brand and product, our growth is naturally linked to our ability to retain clients. At the end of the day, a sale is much easier to achieve with satisfied clients than with someone that never heard about your brand.
WeChat is an ever-evolving platform, what do you think will be next? How will brands such as Swarovski look to utilize WeChat in the future?
With new functions like searching, brand zone and mini programs, competition is fierce and brands have to be more active and much smarter to have a holistic WeChat strategy.