Tmall Perfume Route: A New Business Opportunity for Niche Fragrances in China

In December 2020, Tmall launched the Tmall Perfume Route. This is a dedicated e-commerce platform for perfume brands and especially for niche fragrances in China. How? By proposing a new alternative for perfume delivery, which is faster and more convenient. Discover our complete guide on how to use this specific platform for your niche and premium fragrance brand.

What is Tmall Perfume Route?

Tmall is the #1 e-commerce platform in China. This digital giant is held by Alibaba Group. Indeed, let us present you with some key figures. Due to Covid-19, e-commerce luxury sales have increased by 150% this year on Tmall. In the meantime, the online penetration is multiplied by two, reaching 23%. Alibaba’s strategy is to separate businesses into divisions, with a dedicated Luxury Pavilion and Perfume Route.

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A Dedicated Cross Border E-commerce Platform for Perfume brands

In a word, the Tmall Perfume Route is a cross-border flight from Europe to China. This is an opportunity for any fragrance brand looking to sell faster in China. This is not only a digital asset but also a logistics asset. Brands can benefit from a more convenient transport with a better delivery service.

What does it change? Before, perfume brands had difficulties to export to China. Due to the alcohol composition, these products were highly flammable. They were refused to be sent by air. The only existing solution was to export by sea, but this method of transport was too long.

Tmall Perfume Route is then offering an all-in-one solution. Thanks to a partnership with Cainiao, a specific packaging has been created. It addresses all the flammable issues of the product and allows fragrances to travel by air.

A Solution to Improve Client Experience

Tmall Perfume Route is a unique opportunity for niche brands to better target Chinese consumers. Often in the past, the scales were not important enough to send quickly products to China. Niche fragrances did not meet the quantity required for transportation. For instance, some niche brands have only a few dozen of bottles available. It used to take so much time to be delivered to China. So, they needed to wait to export a larger quantity to be shipped, which was impacting their sales.

Today, Chinese beauty lovers can purchase perfumes online and be delivered within 3 days. The opportunity brought by Tmall is huge. Especially when you know that 70% of Chinese consumers are more comfortable purchasing almost everything online.

How to Grow your Niche Fragrance Brand in China?

Niche Perfumes China Market Overview

As you may know, China is not the first worldwide market for fragrances. Why? Because usually, they considered fragrance to be a product to “hide” your natural scent… which means you do not shower. Now, perfume is making its way through. And even niche fragrances!

Chinese consumers are getting more and more educated to appreciate perfumes. This is why Tmall launched the Perfume Route. The consumption of niche fragrances is rising. Tmall mentioned its niche perfumes sales have almost doubled in 2020.

What is the opinion of Chinese people on niche perfume now? The recent success is driven by the younger Chinese generations, the Millenials and Generation Z. According to them, wearing the same perfume as anyone is not luxury anymore. They think of luxury fragrances (Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, Guerlain, etc.) as “街香” which means “street scents”. Everyone is wearing them and there is no additional pleasure to wear them.

On Chinese social media, beauty lovers even come out with a new expression. It says 宁愿撞衣,不要撞香”. It literally means “it is better running into people with the same clothes than running into people with the same scent”. Niche fragrances are a new way for Chinese consumers to differentiate and promote their luxury lifestyles.

The success is tremendous. Even a new niche perfume e-commerce platform was created: Minorité. Its business model is based on the desire for personalization. Chinese shoppers start the experience with an olfactory test to recognize their favorite scents. They will enjoy an aroma tour before purchasing their favorite fragrance online. A real omnichannel strategy!

Niche Perfumes Digital Strategy in China

For any niche fragrance brand, it is important to acknowledge that a consumer path is mainly digital. When you enter China or try to perform in China, you do not necessarily need to have a store. Especially with the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital world is everything. You can build a strong digital strategy by combining branding and social media

What are the steps to implement my niche brand in China?

  • Baidu: You need to create a Chinese website with SEO/SEA strategy to reach Chinese consumers. Why Baidu? Because it is the most used search engine gathering 70% of online queries.
  • WeChat & Weibo: You should create accounts for these two social media as they are the most used in China. WeChat will help you to attract new clients, create a community around your brand, and redirect them to your Chinese official website. Weibo will enable you to increase your brand awareness and build your visibility.
  • Xiaohongshu: You can create a Little Red Book account to increase your brand attractivity. Indeed, you will combine PGC (Professional Generated Content) and UGC (User Generated Content) by encouraging people to share content including your brand.
  • Douyin: You will increase your brand visibility and loyalty by creating short videos which are a huge success now in China and have partnerships with KOLs

Discover the top 10 social media in China

How to implement each step?

If you want to perform, you need to have a partnership with a local agency. For instance, you need to have Chinese speakers because your website must be written in good Chinese and understand the Baidu algorithm for SEO strategy.  

Founded by Olivier Vérot and Philip Qian, GMA helps luxury brands performing in China. Until now, we have already worked with Yves Saint Laurent, Les Georgettes, and Vogue. So, we can help you build your launch plan and your project to enter Tmall Luxury Pavilion. We can talk about your project!

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