Jun 28, 2019 11:18:44 AM   |   Lauren Hallanan

3 Key Takeaways from Salesforce HK Pop Up Event on the Future of Retail Brands

3 Key Takeaways from Salesforce HK Pop Up Event on the Future of Retail Brands

There’s no denying that the global retail industry is going through a massive systemic overhaul and many brands are struggling to adapt. Modern consumers want more. They crave relationships, not transactions, with 64% of shoppers feeling that retailers don’t know them. On top of that, they have come to expect their offline experiences to be integrated with their digital (mobile) experiences – and vice versa.

But what exactly does this mean and how can retailers meet these demands?

On May 31st, Salesforce, a world leader in customer relationship management, held a retail showcase popup event in Hong Kong to present their latest findings on consumer behavior and shed some light on these burning questions. The full-day event was packed with valuable insights and case studies, with speakers including Avis Easteal, Regional Head of the Consumer Department for Luxasia​, Grace Lo, Managing Director at KEF Audio Group​, and Sunny Ip, a Director at Deloitte Consulting.

During the event, WeChatify’s Shanghai Managing Director Tom Kruger also took the stage to share specifically how retailers in Asia can build a brand and develop relationships with their Chinese customers using WeChat.


Below are a few key takeaways from the event:

1. Mobile is the digital glue and consumer experiences should reflect that

Brands should be thinking not simply about their digital strategy, but their mobile strategy. James Johnson, Retail Industry Strategy at Salesforce, shared that worldwide, on average 64% of brands’ online traffic comes from mobile devices and 46% of orders are now placed on mobile devices.

Brands also need to be thinking about how to connect the mobile experience with the in-store experience, and according to a Salesforce study, 55% of consumers claim that brands are failing to do that.

While you may have yet to figure out your O2O or omnichannel strategy, your customers are already merging their online and offline experiences themselves, with 83% of shoppers aged 18-44 using their mobile devices in store, whether it’s to research a product (30%), photograph a product (32%), compare prices (40%), or read product reviews (25%). Brands should consider how they can facilitate these behaviors that are already occurring.


2. As a retailer in China, WeChat is your core customer engagement hub

In China, not only is mobile the digital glue, but really WeChat is the digital glue. WeChat accounts for 34% of total mobile data traffic in China and over half of its 1.08 billion monthly active users spend more than 90 minutes on WeChat every day and one-third spend more than 4 hours a day on the app.

In the West your brand presence is fragmented and you must use multiple platforms, each with a specific purpose, for example a website, app, and SMS notifications in order to reach consumers, while in China this can all be done within WeChat using a WeChat Official Account, H5 mini-site, and mini-programs.

For those who aren’t active WeChat users, it may seem mind-boggling that marketing, customer service, sales, and e-commerce can all be run through one platform, but that’s truly how multi-functional WeChat is.


3. WeChat is the bridge between online and offline

Those reading this may be thinking, well great, our brand has a WeChat official account with a decent number of followers, and we get plenty of foot traffic in our stores from Chinese consumers, but how can we connect the two?

During his presentation Kruger explained that brands can gain a wealth of knowledge about their Chinese customers simply by generating a custom, trackable QR code for each of their offline locations, and encouraging in-store customers to follow their WeChat Official Account using that code.

Brands can then automatically send the user custom welcome messages and coupons based on the store they visited. They can also track each user’s interactions with the account, segment them according their interests, and send them information and content that matches these interests.

Brands can also drive their WeChat followers offline, hosting in-person events and using WeChat for event registration or sending them product coupons that can only be redeemed in-store. Brands can then track which followers attended the event or participated in the sale, and apply tags to their account, which will allow them to send them targeted messages about similar campaigns in the future.

The retail landscape is constantly changing, and new technologies have emerged that can help brands understand and connect with customers unlike ever before. To see more of Kruger’s suggestions, click here to download his full event presentation. 

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