In the rapidly expanding digital landscape of China, establishing a strong online presence and implementing effective marketing strategies is paramount for international brands. L’Occitane, a renowned global beauty and skincare company, has embraced the opportunities presented by the Chinese market and executed a compelling online marketing strategy to capture the attention of Chinese consumers.
In this article, we delve into a comprehensive analysis of L’Occitane’s online marketing approach in China, exploring the key tactics and channels they have employed to build brand awareness, engage their target audience, and drive business growth.
Introduction to L’Occitane Brand
L’Occitane is a renowned French skincare company that was established in 1976 by Olivier Baussan. The brand encompasses multiple sub-brands, including L’Occitane in Provence, Le Couvent des Minimes, Melvita, L’Occitane au Brésil, and Erborian. The company prides itself on using only natural ingredients in all of its products.
In 2005, L’Occitane expanded its business to China, and since then, it has become one of the most popular luxury cosmetic brands in the country.
The company is now a Hong Kong-listed company, and its success in China has been attributed to its high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices.
L’Occitane Expansion in China
Its success in China has an origin and a strategy behind it. Thanks to digital marketing strategies, the French beauty brand is well-known among Chinese consumers, and its products are considered some of the best cosmetics in the world. As of 2023, the L’Occitane group has 208 stores in China mainland.
The group gross profit margin grew by +82% mainly thanks to its China market where it performed really well on e-commerce platforms (Tmall +30% / JD +50%) but also with the launch of its skincare brand Elemis in 125 Sephora stores.
Although, online retail accounts for the group’s main channel, for Andre Offman (vice-chairman of l’Occitane international) brick and mortar is still essential to the business, meaning the group will keep going with an O2O (Online to Offline) strategy to bring the best of the two worlds together.
“We are convinced the progress with our online and omnichannel initiatives also rides on the existence of stores and believe our long-term success will be supported by a strong store network, online activities and CRM expertise.”Source
L’Occitane on Chinese E-commerce Platforms
L’Occitane knows that e-commerce in China is the key to success due to the increasing willingness of Chinese consumers to purchase products online.
On the first of December 2014, the cosmetic brand launched its online store on Tmall.com with the aim to increase its sales. Its products had been accessible on the Chinese online marketplace for a while by third-party vendors.
L’Occitane’s decision to open its own flagship store in China was driven by the need for better control over distribution, as third-party vendors often sell products from the gray market. Direct selling proved to be the right decision, leading to a successful journey in China.
The brand is now the only authorized seller of L’Occitane products in China, ensuring quality and protecting against counterfeit sales.
In addition to its flagship store, L’Occitane has also opened a JD store that experienced strong growth in 2020.
L’Occitane has a flagship store on various Chinese platforms and a Mandarin website optimized for Baidu.
When searching for l’Occitane on Baidu, users will be directed to the brand’s Brand Zone, which offers access to their website, Baike Page Chinese Wiki page, links to purchase products, online reviews, and videos. The brand zone includes customizable ads and is part of Baidu Ads.
L’Occitane uses this immersive brand zone to attract users and ensure they click on their links.
However, the brand zone takes up a significant amount of space on the page, so l’Occitane includes reviews to push visitors to see the results they have chosen, which is a smart move for Online Reputation Management.
L’Occitane to push its digital channels in China
As the group’s online sales in Asia have grown by 95% in Asia in 2021, it will obviously keep pushing all its online channels. Digital Marketing plays a major role in building your e-reputation, promoting, and in the success of your brand in China.
Moreover, given China has its own platforms, it is important for companies and brands to learn which platforms will be the most useful to them. Listed below are the major e-commerce platforms for selling and promoting a brand.
In China, the brand has received good feedback from the public with its live-streaming campaigns on diverse social media.
Live streaming certainly played in our impressive sales recovery in China through April to June, as well as in the 95.8% growth we saw in our online channels at the Group level. With COVID-19 likely to change some shopping patterns for the foreseeable future, we plan to do more of this kind of marketing.Hoffmann
L’occitane on Chinese social media platforms
Does L’Occitane use the full potential of WeChat?
L’Occitane has a strong presence on the Chinese social media platform, WeChat. In order to market the brand effectively on WeChat, L’Occitane has adopted several strategies.
Firstly, L’Occitane has created an official WeChat account to engage with its Chinese audience. The account is regularly updated with content related to the brand’s products, promotions, and events. The content is tailored to the Chinese audience, with a mix of text, images, and videos.
Secondly, L’Occitane has collaborated with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) and influencers on WeChat. These KOLs have a large following on the platform and can help to promote L’Occitane to their audience. L’Occitane has also partnered with Chinese celebrities to promote its products on WeChat.
Thirdly, L’Occitane has used WeChat to run marketing campaigns and promotions. For example, the brand has run WeChat-based contests and giveaways to engage with its audience and increase brand awareness.
Overall, L’Occitane has been successful in marketing its brand on WeChat by creating engaging content, collaborating with KOLs and influencers, and running marketing campaigns and promotions.
L’occitane on Xiaohongshu
L’Occitane has been successful in marketing its products on Xiahongshu, which is also known as RED in China. Xiahongshu is a popular social media platform in China, especially among younger generations, and it is known for its focus on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.
L’Occitane has been able to leverage the platform’s visual nature to showcase its products in a visually appealing way. They have created high-quality content that features their products in use, and they have also used influencer marketing to reach their target audience. They have collaborated with popular Chinese influencers to promote their products, and this has helped them to reach a wider audience.
In addition to influencer marketing, L’Occitane has also used targeted advertising on Xiahongshu to reach potential customers. They have created ads that are tailored to the interests and preferences of their target audience, which has helped them to increase their brand awareness and drive sales.
Their efforts have helped them to reach a wider audience in China and establish themselves as a leading brand in the beauty and skincare industry.
Is Weibo a good place for high-end cosmetics brands in China?
Weibo is a great platform to use to promote your brand, as it will enable you to build your brand image by posting qualitative content like photos or videos of your campaigns.
This is a great social media to use in order to maximize your exposure and grow and also keep in touch with your community.
L’Occitane has been actively marketing its products on Weibo, which is one of the most popular social media platforms in China. The brand has a verified account on Weibo with over more than 1.2 million followers, and it uses the platform to promote its products, engage with customers, and share content related to its brand values.
L’Occitane’s Weibo account features a mix of product promotions, lifestyle content, and brand stories. The brand also runs various campaigns and contests on Weibo to engage with its followers and increase brand awareness.
For example, L’Occitane launched a “Love Letter” campaign on Weibo, where customers could write a love letter to their favorite L’Occitane product and win a prize.
Apart from promoting its products, L’Occitane also uses Weibo to educate its followers about the benefits of natural ingredients and sustainable practices. The brand shares stories about its partnerships with local farmers and highlights its commitment to eco-friendly
L’Occitane has been successful in leveraging Weibo to promote its brand and engage with Chinese consumers. By creating a mix of product promotions, lifestyle content, and brand stories, the brand has been able to build a strong presence on the platform and connect with its target audience.
Chinese KOLs & Live Streaming: Growth factor for cosmetics brands in China
The growth of l’Occitane in 2020 in China was intertwined with its live-streaming strategy, so here are some tips to succeed with your live streaming & Kols strategy in China.
Key Opinion Leaders, also known as KOLs and Key Opinion Consumers (KOC) are major assets to reach a wide community and retain them.
Finding the right KOL might seem tiring but it is absolutely necessary if you want to perfectly target and attract your consumers. If you manage to find the right KOL with a community that shares your company’s values, you can be sure that your marketing strategy will be efficient.
Chinese consumers are sensitive to feedback when buying an item. So, in order to reassure and seduce your customer target, it is necessary for you to share as much product information and characteristics as possible with the KOL you’ve chosen, this way they will be able to properly present and describe your product to their followers.
L’Occitane is aware of the potential of Chinese social media platforms. In order to take advantage of the power of social networks, the brand has built a strong presence on them with the purpose to reach a huge number of consumers and interact with and engage them.
Case study about L’Occitane in China
One key factor in L’Occitane’s success in China has been its focus on localizing its products and marketing strategies. For example, the company has developed products specifically for the Chinese market, such as its Immortelle Reset Serum, which is designed to address skincare concerns that are common among Chinese consumers.
L’Occitane has also been successful in building a strong online presence in China, where e-commerce is a rapidly growing market. The company has partnered with popular online retailers such as Tmall and JD.com, and has also launched its own e-commerce platform to reach Chinese consumers directly.
In addition to its online presence, L’Occitane has also invested heavily in physical retail locations in China. The company currently has over more than 208 stores across the country, with plans to open even more in the coming years.
Overall, L’Occitane’s success in China can be attributed to its ability to adapt to the unique needs and preferences of Chinese consumers. By localizing its products and marketing strategies, and by investing in both online and offline retail channels, the company has been able to establish a strong presence in one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets.
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