As global prestige beauty brands flood onto Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Tmall, they’re shifting loyalty program investments away from their own sites and onto the B2C e-tailer.
The adoption rate of Tmall loyalty programs among prestige beauty brands is now at 71%, up from only 48% in 2016, according to L2’s Beauty China: Tmall Insight Report. In contrast, adoption of brand site loyalty shrank to 56% this year, down from 60% in 2016. Only 10% of all beauty brands have Tmall loyalty programs that are synchronized with site loyalty.
The increased focus on Tmall for loyalty comes after the e-tailer saw an influx of prestige beauty brands in the past three years. An impressive 84% of brands tracked by L2 have official Tmall shops, a rate that has increased from 55% in 2015. The most recent launch was by Yves Saint Laurent Beauté last week, which set the record for the highest first-day sales for a beauty brand on the platform. Other big launches in the past year include Givenchy Beauty, Giorgio Armani Beauty, and MAC Cosmetics.
The number of prestige brands that have Tmall loyalty points synchronized with other platforms grew year over year, but remains low. Only a third have a Tmall loyalty program with points that can be earned across other channels. SK-II has a standout loyalty program with points that can be earned and redeemed across Tmall, WeChat, in-store shopping, and DTC e-commerce. Fresh’s program is also redeemable in multiple locations, including Tmall, WeChat, and brick-and-mortar stores. Brands are also increasingly seeing loyalty programs as a way to incentivize not only purchase repeats but also engagement with the brand. As a result, they’re rewarding interactions like following the brand site or checking in on the app.
With higher Tmall adoption at 97%, mass beauty brands have seen the value of loyalty programs more quickly than their premium counterparts. Mass adoption of Tmall loyalty rose from 93% from 71% year over year, and 88% now award points for interactions.