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Burberry launches latest WeChat initiative amid slowing China sales


Digital pioneer Burberry is building on its longstanding partnership with Chinese social messaging platform WeChat with a gifting experience in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

WeChat users are invited to unwrap some of the brand’s iconic products using the app’s native swipe, tap and shake functions. At the end of the experience, they can also create and personalise digital Lunar New Year envelopes to send to friends and family to celebrate the holiday through the platform. WeChat users in China are also given the chance to win limited edition physical Burberry Lunar New Year envelopes. Lunar New Year inspired gifts are available to purchase online and in store.

The Lunar New Year experience is designed to entertain but also drive sales, making it a strong example of why Burberry remains ahead of its competitors in the digital sector. Its digital initiatives concentrate on providing engaging content all the while featuring a subtle underlying commercial aspect.

Crucially, however, the move comes at a time when sales in Asia are struggling and economic uncertainty dominates China. The company reported a slowdown in sales in Hong Kong and China in October, leading to it missing its sales growth forecasts and warning of an increasingly challenging environment for luxury goods, according to Reuters. While it suggested signs of recovery during November, the share price remains at a three-year low.

For anyone not familiar with WeChat, the free messaging and calling app was developed by Chinese company Tencent. It has nearly 650 million active users worldwide. Recognising the platform’s potential, Burberry first partnered with it during London Fashion Week in February 2014. This initiative focused on delivering an interactive catwalk, where users could personalise a digital version of the brand’s Made to Order plaques with their name in either English or Chinese characters.

The second stage of Burberry’s WeChat innovation, involved a parallel social experience at its Shanghai event in April 2014. Followers were able to interact with 360? views of the London & Shanghai set/skyline. This type of brand interaction was designed to appeal to tech-savvy Chinese millennials. The hope now, is that they start to spend more again.