- From July 7 to 19, Xiaohongshu organised a virtual and offline “Summer Market” in response to China’s surging popularity of open-air markets.
- The “Summer Market” reflects Xiaohongshu’s strategy to increase awareness of the platform’s content-to-commerce approach, which enables consumers to take action directly when they make a consumption decision.
- By focusing on the human aspect of building relationships through online live streams and offline pop-up events, the lifestyle platform fosters a greater sense of community among users and redefines the merchant-customer relationship.
This summer, Xiaohongshu launched a special campaign that highlights the human connection found within its personalised and diversified summer market. Under the slogan “first-hand friendship, first-hand delivery”, the lifestyle platform uses creative advertisements and physical pop-up events to communicate with its young consumers effectively.
In its series of five short advertisement clips, Xiaohongshu manages to reel in its young target audience through humour, philosophy, and unexpected plot twists. In its ad entitled “The Bargain”, the vendor and the seller strike a bargain by communicating with guitar notes. In another ad called “Mysterious Code” the vendor and seller communicate through rhymes, which aligns well with China’s fascination with ancient prose and period dramas.
Both humorous and philosophical, Xiaohongshu’s advertisements explore the transactional relationship between vendors and sellers both offline and online.
Tapping into China’s surging open-air market trend
In recent years, young Chinese consumers have taken an interest in open-air markets, resulting in bazaars popping up throughout the country during the summer. On Xiaohongshu, searches for “markets” in the first seven months of 2022 increased 130% year-on-year, compared with searches in the same timeframe last year. The lifestyle platform’s campaign, therefore, taps into the resonance of open-air markets among young Chinese consumers by creating its own “Summer Market” both online and offline.
Online, Xiaohongshu launched its virtual open-air market from July 7 to 19, selling a diverse array of items from interesting knick-knacks to ceramics, plants, beverages, and vintage items. The campaign garnered 30,000 posts on Xiaohongshu, reflecting the great interest shown by the online community. Merchants can be creators and entrepreneurs on the platform, creating new trends in the community. In this way, they can develop relationships with consumers beyond monetary transactions through live streams.
Offline, Xiaohongshu organised physical open-air markets in 5 different cities in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Wanning, and Anaya respectively. In Chengdu, a bazaar-type market was hosted in a century-old teahouse. Meanwhile, in seaside cities like Wanning, Xiaohongshu organised a surf-themed shop with an outdoor area to play frisbee. Not only does this add a human touch to the business, but it also gives Xiaohongshu a competitive edge over other platforms that focus solely on online activities.
Xiaohongshu’s content-to-commerce approach
The “Summer Market” reflects Xiaohongshu’s strategy to increase awareness of the platform’s content-to-commerce approach, which enables consumers to take action directly when they make a consumption decision. The idea is to use e-commerce as a tool to turn users’ inspiration into reality, whether it be an interest in vintage clothes or home decor.
To further promote the campaign, the lifestyle platform leveraged KOLs to engage consumers in both offline and online activities. In total, Xiaohongshu invited 7 KOLs to set up the open-air markets and 100 KOLs to recommend products and summer must-haves. After attending the offline events, the popular figures posted their experiences on the platform to boost online engagement. By hosting events in the physical realm with popular KOLs, Xiaohongshu creates a steady stream of content for the online platform which is a powerhouse for new trends.
Overall, Xiaohongshu’s “Summer Market” campaign brings together sellers and buyers who are “making friends while buying things”. By focusing on the human aspect of building relationships through online live streams and offline pop-up events, the lifestyle platform fosters a greater sense of community among users and redefines the merchant-customer relationship.