WeChat has become a crucial element of brands’ digital strategy in China, with 96% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty China present on the platform. Opening an account helped SK-II move from Challenged to Gifted in one year; similarly, Clinique rose from Average to Gifted by adding one-on-one WeChat consultations as part of a comprehensive customer service overhaul.
Genius brands typically demonstrate strong performance on WeChat. For example, L’Oréal doubled WeChat post views and engagement with its Cannes Film Festival campaign, which let users interact with brand ambassadors’ posts. Conversely, Challenged brands often struggle: Carslan generates one-sixth the engagement of the average Index brand.
In terms of engagement on the platform, Western brands are far in the lead, receiving 2.5 times more views and likes per post than local brand accounts. The biggest winners are Mary Kay and the L’Oréal Group, which each generate more than a fifth of all Beauty brand engagement. Mary Kay’s showing is particularly impressive: despite representing just 2% of posts, the brand garners 21% of engagement.
Local brands lead their global rivals when it comes to using WeChat for e-commerce, with Chinese brands accounting for more than half of the Beauty Index WeChat Stores. Brands such as KanS and CHINAskin are also experimenting with the platform’s C2C franchise model, which lets WeChat users establish their own storefronts and sell goods on behalf of brands. Their posts appear in their friends’ Moment feeds, and storefront owners receive a commission on each sale. While only one in five consumers currently shops on the platform, this social selling model could convince more WeChat users to experiment with new products.