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Michael Kors Uses Messaging App WeChat to Tap Asian Market

Michael Kors may have reported its first ever decline in comp-store sales in the latest quarter, driven by a 6.7% drop in North America and a 5.6% dip in Europe, but the affordable luxury label still has its eyes on the prize: Asia, where the middle class population is expected to double to 1.32 billion people by 2020, according to investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

Studies, meanwhile, have shown that more and more Asian consumers are turning to social networks to shape their shopping decisions. In fact, in a study of 10,000 consumers worldwide, A.T. Kearney found more than 95 percent of people aged 16 to 45 in China have bought something because of social media buzz.

That’s why Michael Kors is embracing social networking service WeChat as a means to connect with shoppers in Asia by integrating commerce and customer service within the messaging app.

“Our Asian customers live a very digital lifestyle, and they’re always looking for services that go above and beyond—and particularly that help connect the online with the offline,” Lisa Pomerantz, senior vice president of global communications and marketing at Michael Kors, told Luxury Daily. “When it comes to their experiences with a brand—both digitally and in stores—they expect more personalization.”

In addition to digitizing customer care (customer service teams will be on hand to chat through the app for eight hours each day), the platform aims to influence both online and offline retail purchases by offering promotions designed to spur spending, while also gathering important shopper insight. Plus, to enhance the luxury experience and boost personalization, top clients can use the app to book in-store styling appointments at the brand’s Kerry Center store in Shanghai and its Chengdu Swire location in southwest China.

“Through WeChat we are able to create a direct line of communication with our fans and provide them with a unique brand experience,” Pomerantz said, adding, “We envision WeChat playing the role of being a fashion friend to our fans—the friend who can give you advice, inspire you but also understand you, know who you are, what you like and what you need at different times of the year.”