By Lionel Sim
As has been made crystal clear thus far – it’s China leading luxury. China is also bossing it in the world of luxury automotive, accounting for almost 90% of the sales growth for leading luxury automakers in 2017.
China made up 27% of overall sales, three percentage points more than in 2016, and the number of luxury cars sold in China rose 17%, compared to the rest of the world according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review.
While the numbers clarify just how big the China opportunity is for luxury brands, with demand comes competition. In China, this means capturing the customers’ attention digitally – on mobile, on WeChat – as this is how information and content is received here. Yet despite this truism, some luxury car brands have been slow off the line in using WeChat’s all-encompassing Mini Program capabilities.
Mini Programs are mobile apps built for and within the WeChat platform. There are Mini Programs for travel, games, food delivery, shopping, event sales and much more. Discovery happens primarily from online social sharing and offline QR-code scanning.
Here are three marques that are leading the way in leveraging WeChat Mini Programs to not only ignite interest and passion in their brand, but make the direct connection between mobile content and sales.
In Ferrari’s WeChat Official Account, they have the full display of Ferrari car models with richly detailed information about product specifications and features. The simple yet key learning here is that your potential or existing Chinese customers will not browse online for your .cn. Your WeChat Mini Program is your website in China.
One function that stands out is the ability to ‘play’ with personalisation of your dream Ferrari car, whether the paint job, wheel model or interior. After the user personalises their model, they can share the end result with their friends within WeChat and across other social platforms too.
Maserati launched their official account with several rich features, from a customer loyalty system (or more like a ‘club) and also their virtual product catalogue. One of the features that Maserati has implemented in WeChat is to offer a referral program: recommend a potential Maserati customer to sign up, and successful referrals earn you monetary ‘commission’ and other gift rewards. This is a brave, bold move and the first of its kind in the luxury car world. It strongly leverages the power of peer sharing and recommendations in the affluent segment.
Tactic: Free Trial
BMW has launched a Mini Program that allows customers to book a test drive. They are able to view a catalogue of the latest models and access more comprehensive information about product specifications and design options in the Mini Program.
After submitting the request, the customer support will contact them within WeChat – the smart way that some brands are implementing and that Chinese consumers surely prefer. The user can also then share her/his test drive experience to their own WeChat network, prompting more lead generation.
Lionel Sim is the Founder of CTR Interactive. CTR Interactive empowers Global Brands with market & tech intelligence to expand their social and digital capabilities in China and global markets.