Ahead of the Luxury Society Keynote on 28 November, we sat down with speaker Larry Lu, Vice General Manager at WeChat Pay, about optimising the online retail experience through innovative channels.


What are some of the most significant shifts in consumer demands when it comes to online retail over the last five years? How have successful luxury brands responded?

In terms of the online retail market for luxury in China, there are two significant shifts that deserve our attention. Firstly, more than 50% of luxury consumers live in China's third- and fifth-tier cities where few luxury brands have an offline presence. Many of those consumers choose to buy luxury goods online. We can see that almost all luxury brands have noticed this trend and this is one of the major reasons why they are embracing e-commerce. Secondly, another trend is that consumers increasingly prefer experiences offline while purchasing online. They pay more attention to the shopping experience and service, but may eventually return online to make purchases. This trend requires brands to better enhance the link between offline and online, and also puts new demands on the brand's own organizational structure and business model to meet the changes.

 

How much traction is Mini Programs gathering with luxury brands?

Increasingly, luxury brands choose Mini Programs to realize different business scenarios. In the past year, we have seen more and more luxury labels launch Mini Programs in different forms – be it pop-up or permanent stores. Besides building e-commerce stores via Mini Programs, luxury brands also use Mini Programs to provide better services, upgrading the online experiences and connecting their online and offline business.

 

What are some of the applications of AR/VR that Tencent/WeChat has rolled out to improve the customer experience?

As the WeChat Pay Smart Retail team, we have worked with brands to enhance the consumer experience in stores via our new technology. For example, we worked with a well-known beauty brand in May this year to build up a smart store. In this store, customers are able to try different lipstick colors through the AR virtual makeup mirror and they can pay with Face ID on the WeChat Face Payment Machine.

 

Let's talk a little bit about omni-channel strategy. How does WeChat Pay amplify and strengthen the relationship between e-commerce and on-site shopping?

We have made some attempts in this field. Our goal is that, together with brands, we can use WeChat Ecosystems including WeChat Pay, Mini Programs and other different capabilities to enhance online experiences and online and offline connections. Take sales associates for example: By making use of WeChat Ecosystems, sales associates can break traditional store boundaries to keep in contact with consumers and increase conversions. Usually, after customers leave the store, sales associates can't contact customers unless they have their personal WeChat. Now we offer two solutions. Firstly, we offer different tools to connect sales associates and consumers like template messages after payment. Secondly, we offer a SA Assistant Mini Program. After adding the customer’s personal WeChat in store, sales associates can use the various modules of the SA Assistant. For example, he or she can understand the consumer's past consumption records, use the SA Sales Tool to select different goods and generate a link and share with the customer on WeChat. Once the customer opens the link, he or she can directly purchase the item via the brand's Mini Program store.

 

For brands interested in incorporating Mini Programs, what are some of the uses they can consider?

Mini Programs, WeChat Pay and Official Accounts are B2B tools and abilities that WeChat provides to brands. Based on the luxury industry’s characteristics, brands can realize different scenarios on WeChat, from membership recruitment and operation, services appointment, SA services to creative sales models suchas crowdfunding gifts and gift cards.

 

Learn more about incorporating WeChat Mini Programs into your brand strategy at the Luxury Society Keynote 2018. Seats are going fast, so register for a spot here now! We can also be reached at [email protected] for all other enquiries.


About the author

Meaghan Corzine

Writer at Luxury Society

Before joining the editorial team at Luxury Society, Meaghan was based out of New York City writing for CBS New York and NBC Universal. A Washington-D.C. native, Meaghan also wrote for Washington Life Magazine while studying journalism at university. After moving to Switzerland in 2016, she went on to contribute to Metropolitan Magazine and CBS affiliates before joining the LS team.