Looking at the timeline of Perfect Diary, it was founded in 2016 and started its Taobao and Tmall business in March 2017. Only one and a half years later during the 2018 Tmall 11.11 promotion, it became the top makeup brand in sales and achieved 1 billion RMB turnovers within 13 minutes in 2019's double 11 festivals. Within less than 3 years, Perfect Diary's Tmall store now has more than 10 million followers and it is continuously topping famous international groups like L’Oréal, Maybelline, etc.
Apart from the common marketing strategies used by all international and local brands: cobranding with popular IPs, utilizing multiple social media channels to spread influence, working with KOLs, etc, an inseparable factor of Perfect Diary's success is how the brand emphasizes converting public traffic (sales made on marketplaces) to private traffic and investing enormous amounts of time and effort in managing its followers. This article aims to provide a step-by-step analysis of how Perfect Diary has achieved its success.
Step 1: from Public to Private
Perfect Diary attaches a promotion card to products sold on marketplaces with promised lucky money (cash return) to encourage consumers to claim this money by adding the virtual KOC account Perfect Diary has created for marketing purposes. Now that the consumers are in the private pool, Perfect Diary starts to retain these customers and send promotion-related messages to them through 3 channels simultaneously: moment posts of the virtual KOL character, messages sent to WeChat groups, and content posts of its WeChat official account.
Step 2: Virtual KOC - Creating personal relationships
The virtual KOC created by Perfect Diary is called Xiaowanzi, "she" shares the same characteristics with the target group of Perfect Diary: young, energetic, and beautiful. She plays the role of a close friend, consultant, information input, and real-time customer service provider by updating on average three Moment posts per day. The scope of content covers WeChat shop promotion information (35%), Tmall promotions (26%), product reviews and recommendations (20%), promotion previews (16%), and some combined promotions across WeChat and Tmall (4%).
Links to each product mentioned in the posts are included and are available in its WeChat mini-program shop for the consumers to buy with the minimum number of clicks. To notice is that the price of the same product is sometimes 40% to 50% lower on WeChat than on Tmall - an effective way to retain the consumers on WeChat, i.e. private.
Step 3: WeChat Groups - Community building
Since the maximum number of people in a WeChat group is 500, Perfect Diary has hundreds if not thousands of WeChat groups that operate from 8 am to 12 am every day with 30 minutes to 1-hour breaks in between. The contents in these groups are mostly links to promotions or specific products combined with chats (pre-arranged or sometimes actual discussions among group members).
Having these groups serves two objectives: customer retention and sales conversion. Direct interactions between group members create a strong sense of belonging and seeing others purchasing or reviewing products is an effective way of customer stimulation and therefore furthermore boosts sales.
Step 4: WeChat official account and mini-program shop
The WeChat official account is the main input provider: the contents must first be posted on the official account in order to be forwarded by the KOC account or be sent to chat groups. Similar to what the KOC posts on her moments, the aim of the WeChat official account posts could also be divided into three parts: customer stimulation, customer engagement (encourages interactions or compilation of customer reviews), and product introduction, which echos with the 3-column setup of the official account. Combined with the E-Commerce mini-program, the WeChat official account is the central platform for customer conversion.
Perfect Diary is without question one of the best examples of how Chinese companies are maximizing their omnichannel presence and paying more attention to retaining consumers within their private traffic pool. Whether entered China for a long or planning to enter China soon, there is still more for foreign companies to learn, try out, and adapt to if they want to remain relevant and competitive in the future.
Sources: WeChat official account i美妆头条, daxue consulting case study