by Ker Zheng & Queenie Yao
On May 15th, global luxury retailer Net-a-Porter teamed up with top luxury influencer Mr Bags to host a livestreaming video session on Alibaba’s Taobao Live platform. The program was designed to promote a series of sales for China’s 520 Valentines Day, which takes place on May 20th every year.
This comes after Net-a-Porter set a precedent for being the first luxury player to host a Taobao livestreaming event in March, not long after launching its Tmall flagship store in October. Livestreaming is highly appealing to millennial customers, who are now driving growth in China’s rapidly growing luxury market.
Mr Bags x Net-A-Porter live streaming session
Why Mr. Bags Over Other Influencers?
The livestreaming scene in China has been dominated by two top influencers, Viya, and Austin Li, as well as a handful of celebrities that have gone online to hawk the brands they represent.
So why did Net-A-Porter decide to work with Mr. Bags to drive its 520 (May 20th) Chinese Valentine's Day marketing campaign, despite the fact that he had never conducted a livestreaming session before?
Luxury players often have a complex relationship with e-commerce; it’s an important channel to engage millennials, but it’s also rife with discounting and fake products. Maintaining a luxury experience while your products are being sold on an e-commerce platform next to beef jerky can be tough.
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Working with a fashion and luxury influencer like Mr. Bags fits the luxury agenda, whereas other influencers such as Viya and Austin Li have diversified their range of products to include anti-mosquito patches, throat lozenges, and even kitchen chopping boards. While they do have large numbers of followers, it’s questionable how much purchasing power they actually have and whether or not these customers can stomach US$5,000 handbag purchases.
Mr. Bags is infamous for his expertise in the handbag world, possessing the uncanny ability to appeal to both handbag aficionados and those new to the luxury world. Top brands such as Chloe, Burberry, Longchamp, and Tod’s have even partnered with him to launch co-branded lines for his top fans, which top over 7 million followers on China's microblogging platform Weibo.
Mr Bags collaborations with luxury brands
The Tod's capsule collection sold 3.24 million RMB of items in just six minutes flat, setting a new record for WeChat sales.
And more recently, Longchamp renewed its close partnership with Mr. Bags, launching an exclusive 2020 collection that includes seven handbags and one T-shirt. This collection was inspired by the Year of the Rat. The bags sold out within 5 minutes; and some products ran out of stock after just 60 seconds.
Mr Bags x Longchamp collaboration for Year of Rat 2020
Was the livestreaming session with Mr. Bags successful? It’s hard to say. No sales numbers were released, and at its peak, the session drew only 5,000 viewers, likely because Mr. Bags does not have an existing livestreaming channel.
But selling luxury handbags that cost up to US$5,000 each is much more different than selling US$50 lipstick items. Customers are much less likely to make impulse purchases, but for a luxury retailer to make the same amount of money it only needs to reach 1% of the number of customers.
Mr. Bags x Farfetch
Net-a-Porter isn’t the first luxury platform to have partnered with Mr. Bags. Last year, online luxury fashion retail platform Farfetch partnered with Mr.Bags to launch an e-commerce Mini Program on WeChat. Mr Bags’ WeChat Account, which pushes content to followers, link directly to the mini-program.
The shopping journey is as follows:
1. Users on the mini-program can directly access Farfetch's global product information database and inventory systems. They can browse content on Mr. Bags’ Wechat account, and click links that lead directly to product ordering pages on the mini-program.
2. Users can also obtain ideas from Mr. Bags' wish list and recommendations. For example, when users click the "New Releases" session, they have access to new product lines that have been reviewed by Mr. Bags.
The benefit of a mini-program is that it enables the brand or retailer to create its own personalized customer experience. It has more space to post banners and videos, and create loyalty CRM programs that keep customers coming back for more. Other brands such as Perfect Diary have also created virtual games to keep customers entertained.
Going forward, both livestreaming and WeChat selling are likely to become increasingly important factors in luxury e-commerce. Expect to see more and more luxury players enter the livestreaming realm in the near future.
1. Net-a-Porter held a livestreaming video session with Mr. Bags to promote its 520 Valentines Day gift collections. This comes after it started livestreaming in March. Net-a-Porter launched its Tmall store in October of last year.
2. Mr. Bags is highly respected in the luxury industry in China, and has the ability to appeal to both serious luxury aficionados and those new to the luxury world. Brands such as Longchamp, Chloe, and Tod’s have all partnered with him to launch co-branded collections.
3. Last year Mr. Bags also partnered with luxury platform Farfetch to launch a WeChat mini-program, which not only links to his WeChat official account, but also has access to Farfetch’s global product information databases and inventory systems.