Danish jewellery brand Pandora, a brand already familiar to Chinese consumers, approached this year’s Qixi (Chinese Valentine’s Day) sales opportunity from a technological angle, utilising the WeChat mini-program platform to relay a transformed style of messaging about love.
As the most traditional of China’s Valentine’s Days, Qixi has been regarded by many brands as an opportunity to win favour with Chinese consumers by localising their operations. However, many brands still use product configuration and marketing ideas reminiscent of both the Western Valentine’s Day celebrated in February and of 520, the other romance-oriented shopping festival held on 20 May. Few brands focus on the actual Chinese behaviour and lifestyle and thus fail to resonate deeply with Chinese consumers.
According to a consumer confidence survey conducted by Platinum Guild International and the Sinus Institute at the beginning of this year, 2020 remains a good business opportunity for the jewellery industry, because people want to express love to the people around them in the wake of unprecedented public health, social and political crises.
Compared with other companies, Pandora carefully considered the Chinese market, looking in particular at occasions when young Chinese consumers express their love. On 20 August, the brand launched a mini-program, E Jian Lian Ai, which allows consumers to send gifts to their WeChat friends. This is the strongest attempt any brand has made at incorporating social aspects into their operations. From a technical level, it directly engages the Qixi market with new retail ideas.
The idea actually stemmed from the personal experience of Mr Jacques Roizen, Pandora’s China general manager. When he had just graduated from university, he found himself unable to express his love to his secret crush — something he still regrets. “So he thought that, as a jewellery brand, we should think about how to help men like him,” says Vanessa Li, Pandora China’s VP of marketing.
The team found a solution: many people will ask for the WeChat contact of someone they’re interested in, but then can’t find a good way to express their feelings. The team decided that sending a mysterious gift through WeChat could be a good way to do so. When someone chooses the product they want to send and writes out the text they want to include with it, they can pay for it and then send a notification to the object of their affection via WeChat. Said object of affection need only fill in their measurements and address in order to receive the gift. If they instead choose to reject the gift, it is at least less embarrassing than refusing it in person. In addition to this smoother path to gift-giving, consumers can also customise their own chain bracelets, a function also available in the brand’s Tmall flagship store.
From the sales perspective, the mini-program seems to have had significant success. “We found the conversion rate to buying was about twice as high compared with our own Tmall flagship store. It seemed quite direct,” says Li. Although the brand did not disclose specific sales data, Li says the marketing effort assisted the brand in overcoming the pandemic’s impact on its business.
In design terms, Pandora has consistently innovated based on its original aesthetic. Inspired by the folding fans of the East, which symbolise etiquette and Chinese identity, Pandora skillfully integrated fan imagery into their product aesthetics, launching a limited series for Qixi that included bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more.