“In a country where everything has been built within the last five to ten years, just being new isn’t enough,” said Frits van Paaschen, Starwood CEO, in a recent interview in Beijing.
In the recent luxury retail race for China, the noise has been about presence—not necessarily presentation. But that mentality is changing for luxury companies: in order to grab Chinese attention, they are finding that they must offer something attention-worthy.
And with innovative perks directed at Chinese consumers, these companies are indeed turning heads in the business sector. Besides holding fashion shows, expos, and star-studded events in China, companies are offering more services to their consumers. One company anteing up service is fashion website thecorner.com.cn owned by Yoox Group, a Milan-based Internet designer fashion retailer. In September, Yoox will offer a new service exclusively for Chinese customers: a try-it-on option.
Yoox has partnered with FedEx in this initiative. When FedEx delivers Yoox products to Chinese consumers, the delivery person will wait on the doorstep while the customer inspects the product or tries it on. The customer has the option to send it back with the delivery person.
Not only is Yoox trying to pamper its Chinese clientele, but it is also seeking to bring more customers online. Its thecorner online outlet, which opens in September with the advent of Yoox’s FedEx partnership, will offer perks like a 24-hour call center, instant-messaging fashion advice, a brand shopping bag included with each shipment, and a reusable-extra-durable gift box.
In a further attempt to woo the counterfeit-scared Chinese, the company will also use radio-frequency identification tags, or RFID tags, to track products. RFID tags are attached to the product and are used to track the item from warehouse to customer to ensure the real deal isn’t switched out for a fake.
Online stores aren’t the only ones looking to attract Chinese business through special service. Hotels, too, are ramping up their efforts to be China-friendly. Hilton hotels feature Mandarin-fluent front desk workers, Chinese-language TV channels, and a special breakfast menu of Chinese foods like fried dough and rice porridge. And Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is globally offering in-room tea kettles, slippers, and translation services.
“The crucial question is: How can a brand go above and beyond to offer an unforgettable experience?” said Chloe Reuter of ReuterPR, a Shanghai-based public relations firm.
photo credit: thecorner.com