In 2003, PMD Beauty kickstarted a beauty device revolution by democratizing expensive microdermabrasion facials — a minimally invasive procedure that can improve the look of skin by removing the top layer of dead skin cells — and making them available for people at home. The Personal Microderm Device went on to become one of the all-time best-selling beauty devices in stores and online.
Since then, the American beauty brand has gone on to launch a slew of innovative products such as the PMD Clean (a smart facial cleansing device), by staying on top of the latest trends and technology. The organization’s mission now is to “bring brilliant confidence to the world through innovative tools and skincare products.”
PMD Beauty’s strategy focuses on using the latest advances in beauty technology to give women and men the power to improve their skin into their own hands. They call this empowerment: ‘brilliant confidence’.
PMD Beauty had been active in the Chinese market for a few years, partnering with local distributors to re-sell selected PMD Beauty inventory. The brand, however, found using distributors was a very much a hit-and-miss affair due to lack of control.
“We worked in China in the past with distributors, which can be really good, but it created a lot of challenges for the brand — we didn’t have governance,” says Mike Alexander, Vice President of Sales at PMD Beauty. Not only was PMD Beauty losing control of their product pricing and placement, but they also were not able to build brand and bring their brand message of ‘brilliant confidence’ to Chinese consumers. In short, the program was not successful in the way the organization had wanted it to be.
How did they solve that? By working with a local partner who knew the China market intimately, but was also able to provide the brand with full transparency into their performance, as well as control and governance to ensure the organization was portrayed in-market in the right way.
PMD tasked WPIC with their re-launch into the Chinese market via D2C e-commerce channels, leveraging Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace and WPIC’s end-to-end solution set.
To guide PMD Beauty’s entry into the China market, WPIC first deployed Discripto®, a custom-built big data technology that provides the beauty brand with market insights, including recommendations for product selection and pricing strategy.
Using this data, WPIC advised the brand on which product categories and which SKUs would perform well in the market, as well as how to price their products in the market. Leaning on that information, WPIC then designed, developed, deployed, and currently manages PMD Beauty’s flagship store on Tmall.
WPIC’s Creative Labs team developed localized design, photography, and video content that would appeal to Chinese consumers and build an emotional connection with the brand.
In addition, WPIC developed and executed creative marketing campaigns across multiple channels including:
As part of the ongoing marketing and promotional mix for PMD, WPIC executed e-commerce livestreams for the brand, which were specially timed to coincide with major opportunities during the Chinese promotional calendar.
With a user experience akin to “QVC meets Instagram”, e-commerce livestreaming has quickly become one of the most popular marketing channels in China, with roughly 15%–20% of all online transactions originating from the tactic in 2022.
This channel allows shoppers to learn about products, witness demonstrations, ask questions, and engage with brands in an intimate way, with “instant purchases” embedded into Tmall’s livestream app.
Livestream at PMD’s Offices
In addition to engaging influencers to execute e-commerce livestreams, as well as producing livestreams from WPIC’s Nanjing studios over the course of the year, WPIC also worked with PMD Beauty to self-produce a one-of-a-kind livestream with VP of Sales, Mike Alexander, from the PMD global headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Leveraging the Chinese trend of inviting executives from brands to participate in livestreams to explain the products to consumers, demonstrate features and benefits, and answer questions, Mike from PMD conducted a 30-minute session in time for the massive 2022 618 shopping festival.
Alongside Mike were members of WPIC’s creative and e-commerce teams.
In the first half-year of operations, PMD Beauty store exceeded sales targets while receiving over 61.54 million impressions. According to Mike, PMD beauty was able to build brand awareness and grow brand recognition among Chinese consumers.
“By going D2C via WPIC and Tmall, instead of a traditional distributor model, we’ve been able to learn about Chinese consumers. As China becomes an increasingly important market for us, we will be able to apply that local knowledge to future product iterations.”
As for the partnership, Mike appreciated the end-to-end visibility into their e-commerce operation that WPIC provided. He says: “WPIC has given us full visibility into the operations of our brand in China and driven much more effective results by helping us launch and grow on Tmall.”
Furthermore, Mike raved about the creative content marketing component to the program that WPIC executed for PMD. “WPIC has helped us leverage the full suite of Alibaba’s tools, like livestreaming, to build brand awareness among Chinese consumers,” says Mike. “WPIC’s creative capabilities and effective positioning allow PMD’s marketing activities to resonate with consumers in China, which is crucial for long-term success in the market.”
While PMD Beauty has a long history with home shopping channels such as like QVC, Mike praised the advancements of livestreaming and its real-time consumer-brand engagement capability: “Livestreaming is so much better. It’s less scripted. It’s more genuine”.
The livestream event on Tmall during the 2022 618 shopping festival was a massive success. The event drew over 50,000 viewers, achieved more than 7,800 engagements and gained PMD Beauty 1,092 new followers on the platform through comments and joint interactions. More than anything, it helped to foster the connection between PMD and its customer base in China, inspiring brilliant confidence for thousands of individuals for years to come.
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