China’s luxury shoppers are increasingly gravitating towards custom products that showcase the their personalities, but just a few brands are tapping into that demand. Only 12% of Fashion and Watches & Jewelry brands offer product customization in China, and Burberry, Chow Sang Sang, and Chow Tai Fook are the only ones that allow customers to purchase the personalized items online.
However, in November 2013 Salvatore Ferragamo topped all other brands in product customization with the launch of its iconic Vara shoes for the brand’s 35th anniversary. Ferragamo partnered with 15 Chinese brand ambassadors including Michelle Chen and Miss World Zhang Zin. A video of the brand ambassadors, called the “Vara Girls”, became the most popular brand on Youku with more than 45,000 views.
Ferragamo does not offer e-commerce in China, but shoppers can customize a Vara or Varina on an iPad and send the final result to a local store for purchase. Ferragamo also promoted the campaign on Sina Weibo, multiplying its audience.
Even among brands that offer customization, even fewer promote the option in the forefront of their social media channels. The enthusiastic reception for Ferragamo’s campaign – featured as a Flash of Genius in our Digital IQ Index: China – Luxury – suggests doing so can pay off.