Michael Kors is launching a multichannel sales platform on WeChat, taking advantage of China’s rapidly expanding online-to-offline market.

Customers can use the popular social networking app to get digital receipts, which they can present in a store to receive personalized advice. VIP clients can even book in-store styling appointments at boutiques in Shanghai and Chengdu.

“We envision WeChat playing the role of being a fashion friend to our fans,” senior vice president of global communications and marketing Lisa Pomerantz told Luxury Daily.

With 549 million monthly active users at the end of Q1, WeChat is the most popular social platform in China. L2’s Insight Report: Mobile Social Platforms found that 44% of brands had established a WeChat presence. The platform has surpassed microblogging service Weibo as China’s most influential social networking tool, affecting 58% of users’ brand choices in contrast to 52% for Weibo.

Mobile social platforms brand adoption

WeChat has also been a trailblazer in mobile e-commerce. Brands can sell products using WeChat Shopping and WeChat Payment, while content sharing feature Moments opens the platform to advertising.

However, the L2 study found that few brands have taken advantage of WeChat’s in-app purchase capabilities or other e-commerce features. Only 20% of brand accounts let followers link their WeChat accounts to loyalty programs. Less than one-third provide geolocators to help followers identify nearby stores.

Percentage of brands using WeChat

Michael Kors has been an innovator in engaging Chinese consumers through WeChat. A customizable campaign coinciding with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week let WeChat users create a personalized New York skyline with their own names and photos. Fashion fans in China could use the MK360 app to view a live feed of the event in New York.

The new platform goes further to blend e-commerce and in-store retail. The brand’s Asian customers “live a very digital lifestyle” and consequently “expect more personalization” of the brand experience, according to Pomerantz. With China’s online-to-offline market forecast to reach more than $67 million this year, more brands could soon be doing the same.

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