To bring a fresh, festive experience to consumers ahead of its Super Brand Day sales event on Tmall, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté threw an exclusive party in the California desert, livestreaming the event to millions of consumers in China, and launched a pop-up boutique along the state highway. The “YSL Beauté lipstation,” as it was called, was but the latest of YSL’s experiential activations to boost engagement with its customers.
The party, co-hosted with Tmall in Palm Springs on April 11, featured performances from some of China’s up-and-coming music stars, including rapper-songwriter Lexie Liu and Sunnee Yang, a member of the band Rocket Girls. The pop-up, which resembled a retro gas station, was on the way to the city of Coachella, allowing festival goers access to professional stylists for a makeover or a “smart mirror” for trying on – virtually – more than 50 shades of lipstick.
WATCH: Tmall, YSL Beaut√© Throw Party in Palm Springs
“It’s the energy of young consumers which drives Tmall and YSL Beauté to rigorously experiment with new ideas. That’s what brought us here together today,” Liu Bo, general manager of Tmall Marketing, said at the Palm Springs event.
“We’re not only interested in bringing global brands to Chinese consumers, but also working with brands directly to bring innovation and new experiences to the retail space,” Liu said.
During the event, YSL Beauté also announced that it had exclusively debuted 12 new shades of its popular Rouge Volupté Shine and eight colors of its Vernis à Lèvres Neon Lights lipstick on Tmall, giving its users a one-month headstart on the official April 23 release. That same day marks the prestige beauty brand’s second Tmall Super Brand Day since launching a flagship store in April last year.
Launched in 2015, Tmall’s Super Brand Day is a marketing tool that rallies all of the resources across Alibaba’s ecosystem to create a smaller version of the company’s annual 11.11 mega-sale for a single brand. This can involve everything from innovative brand experiences and content collaborations to exclusive perks and special offers. Last year, YSL Beauté set the new record for most sales by a beauty brand in its first day of operations on Tmall by using the Super Brand Day tool, generating more than RMB 30 million ($4.77 million) in sales in the first 14 hours and RMB 38 million by the end of the day. The store’s followers shot to 1.2 million – a number that has surged to 4.56 million today.
Engaging consumers through Tmall’s marketing tools like Super Brand Day allows consumers to see the brand in a new way and learn more about its history and DNA, said Sebastien Xing, brand director of YSL China.
“Tmall is not just a platform we use to sell products, but we also work together to bring new experiences, new services to our consumers, as we’re doing here at the Palm Springs event,” he said.
As their first overseas collaboration, the pop-up and party “bring a different dynamism of how young generations are living in the world, how they live to the fullest all around the world,” said Xing, adding that it reflects the sense of freedom and edginess among China’s younger generations. “The Y and Z generations are very chic, very cool and expressive. They aways – like our slogan says – ‘Live to Shine.'”
Tmall said over half of YSL Beauté consumers on the platform fall within the 18-25 age group, while the 26-30 group represents about 22.4%, a significantly younger turnout compared to its offline counters, where the average customer age is about 27 years old.
Consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel said China’s beauty market is seeing rapid growth, with skincare and make-up market value increasing by 17% and 20% in 2017, outstripping the 4.3% overall growth of fast-moving consumer goods products. Particularly, lipstick emerged as the fastest-growing beauty category in China, with sales nearly doubling in 2017, according to a 2018 report from business intelligence firm Gartner L2.
To understand what drove the recent makeup category boom, Tmall surveyed users on its platform to find that the growth was not only attributable to a trading up for higher-priced products as incomes grow, but also for brand value, said Tmall Beauty head Jason Chen.
“Especially for high-end brands and products, we’ve recognized that young users are looking beyond costs and quality and have come to believe and trust the things behind the brand,” Chen said. “They are accepting the ideas, dreams, passion that the brand brings, rather than the product only.”