One of the new trends of e-commerce in China is the appearance of the KOL (Key Opinion Leaders), who is a kind of bloggers in China. In fact, for any company that wants to increase its reputation among Chinese consumers, it is important to be sponsored by the KOL.
The KOL: The new e-commerce influencers
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Known generally as bloggers, the KOL (Key Opinion Leader), generate publications about the brands they carry or the products they use, for influencing the taste and the shopping behaviors of millions of Chinese consumers of the middle class. They produce an effect of the boomerang with consumers, with an average of four times more views and almost eight times more engagement than the own brands’ WeChat accounts. Chinese bloggers have become extremely influential and this is transformed them into real entrepreneurs, converting their digital influence into money
One of the big proofs of this new trend is Becky Li (黎贝卡). Becky Li is known in China for his almost supernatural ability to force more than four million fans across the social Chinese channels to buy the products that she recommends. She earned the name of “may shen” (买 神) or “Goddess of purchases” in the Chinese media.
After a recent collaboration with Rebecca Minkoff, to design a handbag of special edition with the label of fashion New York Rebecca Minkoff, all the collection was sold after only two days.
She focuses mainly on WeChat with publications, that include not only fashion and cosmetics, but also household items, packages, travel, and more recently she sold a special edition of 100 MINI Cooper bright turquoise via their WeChat account. Each car has a retail price recommended of 285 000 RMB ($42 215).
What is the best platform for connecting with fans?
Social networks are now part of the daily lives of Chinese consumers. Specifically, Wechat and Weibo which are platforms that are really liked by the Chinese in general and bloggers in particular. However, in the world of e-commerce, there is great competition between Wechat and Weibo.
Weibo is more a public platform, while WeChat is a large circle of friends. Users of WeChat are more valuable than the followers of Weibo. They are able to leave comments with the possibility to answer. Exchanges on Wechat are more warm and friendly.
On the other hand, on Weibo, you can see the content of users, even if you don’t follow them. The number of followers is higher, but with a different communication form. You cannot respond to everyone.
What are Chinese Consumers looking for?
The purchasing behavior of Chinese consumers has changed because they are more willing to make purchases.
In the era of WeChat in China, many Chinese bloggers use items to connect to consumers as readers. On the other hand, the bloggers like Becky Li, use different approaches, to address their fans, through their storytelling, or by the creation of original and real content. In this way, their fans can match with them. What is useful for the latter because they no longer need to do some complex searches.
Another reason is that Chinese consumers can trust them. When some bloggers work with brands, it is important to involve consumers, so that they can have a unique experience.
Celebrities or Chinese bloggers, who are the best for working with?
Indeed celebrities have an influence of mass while the Chinese bloggers play the role of educator for the brand. Chinese bloggers have managed to develop a special relationship with their fans, confidence that gives them a greater legitimacy among their followers.
There are two types of celebrities online in China: those who create original content as Grandpa Jiang, who has also been censored by the Chinese authorities for excessive use of coarse language in his videos, and “fashionistas”.
Ling-Ling and Zhang Dayi belong to the second category, which is the fashionistas, selling clothing and cosmetics on Taobao, the first site of the online sale in China. They work as models for their own stores by posting pictures of them wearing clothes that they sell, and some of their followers become their loyal customers.
Ling-Ling is active online for 10 years and has more than 330,000 followers on Weibo.
Why do you need to use Chinese KOL?
Many companies have quickly realized the potential of these new actors. Unlike the Europeans, the Chinese have no problem buying products online. Like Tiffany, Chanel and Burberry luxury brands are among the first large houses, in appeals to the KOLs. Actually, all luxury brands are consolidating their strategy toward China and are considering partnering with the KOLs.
The association with Chinese KOLs has a dual purpose; it allows creating both buzz and commercial benefits. Today, companies are choosing a strategy of collaboration with Chinese KOL. For example, Givenchy appealed to Liang Tao, editor of a blog that is very well-known in China: Mr. Bag. Together they have co-created a limited edition bag. 80 copies, sold € 2000 each, all sold out in only 12 minutes with Wechat.