Yesterday, we released our first Digital IQ Index: China – Fashion Supplement, a report that benchmarks 27 global Fashion brands’ digital performance in the Chinese market. Of the 27 brands we assessed, just four were American: Coach, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, and Ralph Lauren. Of these four, three scored “Feeble” Digital IQs. Only Coach, ranked fourth overall, stood out for the right reasons, earning a “Gifted” title. What is Coach doing well? A lot of things. In the past year, the 62-year-old leather accessories brand launched a robust Chinese language e-commerce site with free returns and free shipping, and at the time of data collection was the only brand in the study whose site supported customer ratings and reviews. Coach also does well relative to its peers in terms of site load time, a problem that plagues brands in China, where the average load time is a glacial 30 seconds.
On the social media scene, where most Fashion brands have a presence on just two Chinese platforms, Coach leads the group with seven accounts–a huge improvement over last year, when it was only on Sina Weibo. In addition to adding Renren and Douban, Coach has also expanded to the hugely popular mobile platform WeChat, which has become one of the most downloaded and top-reviewed apps in China. They also launched their “New York Style” campaign on a dedicated Weibo tab that featured a fashion video starring five Chinese fashion bloggers. Fans voted on their favorite street styles for a chance to win Coach merchandise. In a follow-up Weibo contest, Coach had fans submit their photo interpretations of New York Style using a custom photo filter developed by ‘China’s Instagram’, TuDing. With Coach Legacy bags up for grabs, the UGC contest — which was also a success on Douban, where fans and visits have grown YOY by 65 percent and 189 percent, respectively — was a huge hit that generated almost 42K mentions of the #COACH纽约范儿 hashtag.
The fact that there were no “Geniuses” in this study indicates just how much room brands have to grow, digitally, in the Chinese market. Coach isn’t just the most successful American brand in China, it’s one of the few global brands on the right track across all the most important digital dimensions.