Miniso, a Japanese-inspired lifestyle retailer, has been a brand on the move over the past decade. Founded in 2013 from Guangzhou, China, Miniso quickly began to expand even overseas starting in Singapore as early as 2015 and continues its push further into Southeast Asia and North America. Last December, Miniso opened its 5000th store including 1900 abroad and its 100th in the United States. The aggressive expansion paid off as a brand in a slowing domestic market. Miniso announced in its latest unaudited financial results for the third quarter 2022 ended March 31, 2022 that overseas revenue jumped 17.4% year-over-year as the pandemic began to unfold. mitigate in many markets.
Robin Liu, brand marketing director who joined the company in 2019, still has high expectations for overseas markets, especially Southeast Asia, while seeing the opportunity to expand into tier cities. below the national level. According to Liu, Indonesia is the largest overseas direct selling market which makes “a significant contribution to the Group’s sales profit”. Liu explained that it’s not just because Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regions, but also because “in terms of culture, Southeast Asian consumers East have many similarities with consumers in Asia or China as a whole.”
Leverage local intellectual property, campaigns and partnerships
Localizing and co-branding products with key partnerships has become a winning formula for Miniso in China and abroad. For example, in Indonesia, a country with long rainy seasons, Liu noticed “strong local demand for fashionable slippers.” Miniso then developed a brand concept in Indonesia that “when consumers buy slippers, they go to Miniso”. In Mexico, the brand launched the Miniso x Xico crossover collection, leveraging local intellectual property for products based on an iconic ancestral dog breed. Following the tastes of China’s Gen Z, Miniso has also collaborated with popular Chinese IPs, such as the Palace Museum, Honor of Kings, and Bilibili’s cartoon mascot 2233.
Elsewhere in typical tourist destinations like Indonesia and Thailand, Liu also considered tourism markets. The brand has developed products for travelers, such as U-shaped pillows and special seasonal products. Liu believes that “the basic strategy behind these products is to match three standards of ‘good’ (beautiful, good to use, and good to have fun) to meet the needs of local markets. »
Building on his previous experience in e-commerce as a marketing manager at NetEase, Liu continues to emphasize seasonal social media marketing to create a strong and solid “emotional connection” between consumers and the brand. During Ramadan, Miniso partnered with a local Indonesian band Geisha to host a concert and invited ten lucky fans to interact with the band. The event brought together 1,200 people and attracted nearly 5,000 participants on social networks.
The combination of social media and live events is another campaign strategy adopted by Miniso. In the brand’s first global campaign in 2022, its Mini Bus Tour, Miniso’s mini bus traveled to nine markets in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Fans from 22 markets joined the campaign online. From KOL marketing to live broadcasts, minibus live events to social media sharing, 100,000 attendees have attended live events and more than 50 million people have connected with the brand on the internet.
Mini Bus Tour Indonesia / Thailand / Vietnam
Besides co-branding and IP collaboration, Miniso has its own cartoon characters and dolls called “Mini family”. The “Mini family” is not only an iconic series of products popular with overseas markets, but also can be leveraged to create social impact. Last year, to tackle climate change, the brand launched a fundraising campaign, “Take Penpen Home,” aimed at aiding tree-planting efforts in the Andes. Miniso donated $1.33 to the Peruvian NGO ECOAN for each purchase of the brand’s Penpen soft toy. Meanwhile, as a lifestyle retailer, Miniso also started to develop biodegradable products like toothbrushes, to follow the eco-friendly preferences of many markets.
Asked about the process behind creating more top-selling products, Liu said a product development team of more than 500 people is ready to listen to the voice of consumers. “With the help of martech tools, conducting surveys and questionnaires, and collecting consumer feedback, Miniso’s product R&D team can make accurate decisions and develop actionable product strategies.”
For Liu, “all marketing, whether content marketing or creative events, is based on user information, in line with product development strategy.” Miniso not only focuses on the usefulness of products, he argues, but cares about the emotional needs of consumers. The brand celebrated World Smile Day (May 8) in China by pairing the logo wink and a smiley balloon to express the feeling of keeping a smile on your face in difficult times.
Last December, Miniso created a calendar on a building in Guangzhou to say goodbye to 2021, which helped the brand become Weibo’s second hottest topic at the time, and sales reached 150 million. of RMB ($22 million) on December 31.
While the initiatives may not be groundbreaking, Liu notes that they are nonetheless resonating with consumers. He argues that while he can get customers to share similar campaigns and sentiments for the brand, popular user-driven online campaigns reduce the cost of marketing but maximize impact. At the same time, Miniso has grown its membership program over the past decade through social media. By the end of 2021, the brand has gained over 14 million users thanks to private traffic.
Meanwhile, Liu is assisting a new internal creative brand called 1% to work with creative agencies and boutiques and a new MCN team to expand brands’ social media channels.