Product launches are a key tool for companies to foster sales growth and enhance brand awareness, that’s why in 2017 Alibaba Group’s B2C online marketplace Tmall decided to provide its merchants with a dedicated channel aimed at supporting them with their new releases. Newly released items on TMall Heybox generated an increasing amount of revenues in the last three years, jumping from accounting for 24% of the e-commerce platform’s turnover in 2017 to over 35% in 2020. In a few clicks, consumers can discover what their favorite brands’ new products are, enjoy personalized offers and recommendations, participate in raffles of limited-edition items and try innovative products at incredibly low prices.
TMall Heybox: one channel, multiple tools
With its 180 million users per month, TMall Heybox offers a precious opportunity to brands launching products in China. Big names such as Valentino, Lanvin, Yamaha and PlayStation have arranged prize drawings using the TMall HeyDrop raffle tool in order to catch consumers’ attention and generate buzz around their limited-edition products. The key feature of such tool is that anyone can participate in raffles from the comfort of their own home, without having to go out and queue up for hours in front of a physical store. According to China Daily, more than 30 million people have signed up for an online drawing on TMall HeyDrop since the launch of such functionality last year.
Moreover, companies can test consumers’ reactions to their new releases on TMall Heybox’s product trial tool. On this section of the website, beyond a customized list of newly launched items at bargain prices, shoppers can find daily special offers and drawings for less than 1 RMB. The product trial page includes a wide range of objects, from dairy products to lipsticks, from water bottles to toothbrushes, and much more.
TMal Heybox is much more than just a launchpad
TMall Heybox provides merchants with a great variety of highly sophisticated digital marketing tools.
First and foremost, it allows them to access TMall Innovation Center’s detailed consumer insights. Such center was meant to become the e-commerce platform’s R&D arm: it vaunts a huge amount of data related to shoppers’ consumer habits, sellers’ strategies, consumers’ demographics, users’ cart abandonment rate and logistics analytics. TMall Heybox members can exploit such precious data in order to adapt their communication strategies and incubate new products in a shorter amount of time.
Furthermore, the platform makes extensive use of live-streaming and short videos in order to reach a wider audience and increase novelty-loving consumers’ engagement towards newly launched products. For instance, last summer, Swiss luxury brand Piaget launched 150 limited-edition necklaces on TMall Heybox. For the event, the platform broadcasted two livestreams: one with Chinese actor Liu Haoran promoting the necklace and another one featuring the famous KOL Li Jiaqi talking about the story of the brand. The campaign was a success and the necklace shortly sold out, leading Piaget among the top TMall’s best-performing jewelry merchants.
In addition, TMall Heybox holds every year a New Voice Conference in Shanghai’s West Bund Art Center, during which TMall’s VP awards prizes, illustrates the trends marking new product launches in China and outlines the e-commerce platform’s annual strategy.
Brands presented at the TMall Heybox
Last year, the event took place on July 7th and was attended by more than 300 brands, such as Oppo, Samsung and Xiaomi. The “brand of the year” award went to Mars Inc., Lining and to the Chinese beauty company Proya; while the prize for “innovative international products” was awarded to Ermenegildo Zegna, Unilever and Changsha Saturnbird Coffee Co., Ltd. Regarding current trends in new product launches in China announced during the ceremony, they are usually general features applicable to all industries and item categories. According to TMall Heybox report, currently “rituality”, “market niches”, “values and beliefs”, “inclusive technology” and “kindred spirits” are some of the main trends shaping the way successful new products make their debut into the Chinese market.
Turning new launches into a success: Winona’s and Kiehl’s strategy on TMall Heybox
Chinese sensitive skincare brand Winona heavily relied on TMall Heybox for launching its innovative anti-aging cream, embracing a comprehensive strategy that included both online and offline marketing. For its online strategy, Winona worked with Li Jiaqi in order to enhance its brand reputation online through broadcasting a live stream event on TMall platform. The event generated 80 thousands sales in just 7 seconds.
Additionally, the leading company in sensitive skincare collaborated with more than 100 KOLs and 300 KOCs on all the most popular social media platforms, reaching about 350 million people and turning its brand new product into a trending topic. Moreover, Winona advertised its anti-aging cream for sensitive skins on smart displays located in 20 cities nationwide, 3 major airports and more than 600 cinemas situated in 10 different cities across the country.
New York-based skincare brand Kiehl’s decided to make use of TMall Heybox to launch its new Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream as well. For the event, TMall users got a 30-day headstart to pre-order the product before its global debut, obtaining 2,000 orders in just one day. In addition, the TMall Innovation Center is currently supporting the famous US beauty company to identify its target audience, adjust its communication and channel strategies accordingly and develop new successful products by handing out about 200,000 samples of its products to Chinese consumers in order to obtain their feedback, while keeping track of market trends.
How TMall Heybox can support companies with their product launches in China
- TMall Heybox is a channel designed to help novelty-loving consumers to keep updated about their favorite brands’ new products, enjoy personalized offers and recommendations, participate in raffles of limited-edition items and get newly released products at bargain prices.
- Companies can utlilize the TMall HeyDrop raffle tool in order to catch consumers’ attention and generate buzz around their new products, whereas thanks to TMall Heybox’s product trial tool, brands can easily collect shoppers’ feedback about their newly launched items.
- In addition, TMall Heybox provides merchants with a large set of highly sophisticated digital marketing tools. Indeed, beyond supporting member brands granting them access to TMall Innovation Center’s detailed analytics report, the e-commerce platform connects them with leading live-streaming KOLs in order to expand their audience reach and enhance consumers’ engagement.
- The launch of Winona’s new anti-aging cream for sensitive skins on TMall Heybox was a great success, thanks to an omni-channel strategy that mingled live streaming events with offline advertising. The Chinese brand collaborated with more than 100 KOLs and 300 KOCs on all the most popular social media platforms, reaching about 350 million people and turning its brand new product into a trending topic.
- The US beauty company Kiehl’s relied on TMall Heybox for the global debut of its new calendula water cream as well: shoppers had the opportunity to pre-order the new product 30 days before its release, amplifying the hype around it and contributing to achieve 2,000 orders in just one day.