LOS ANGELES/BEIJING: Lime Crime, the cosmetics company, adopted a distinctive approach to launching in China in response to the unique dynamics that were facing its brand in the country.

Kim Walls, Global General Manager for Lime Crime, discussed this topic at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Shop.org Conference in Los Angeles.

“Looking at China, one of the things I knew based on prior experience is that we couldn’t sell in any of the ways that I knew how to sell,” she said. (For more details, read WARC’s in-depth report: Lime Crime’s formula for entering the Chinese market.)

One issue involved a mandate that cosmetics sold via wholesale must be tested on animals. Lime Crime, a vegan brand that does not engage in this practice, could avoid that requirement only if it shipped directly from the United States.

But shipping to Chinese consumers in this way would result in complex transportation logistics, having to manage duties and taxes, and handling international returns and customer inquiries in a foreign language.

These obstacles were compounded by the problem with counterfeits. “We found out that we had over a million units of our [lip topper] product that were counterfeit sold through marketplaces in China last year,” Walls said.

Lime Crime’s solution when it launched in China this year was to partner with Revolve, a Los Angeles-based e-commerce fashion platform expanding into the beauty segment.

“They really stood out as people who were servicing a very similar consumer from a very similar perspective,” Walls reported.

For its official roll out, Lime Crime built a “seed audience” in China by encouraging people who arrived at its social feeds and website to visit Revolve’s e-commerce service.

“So, it was a unified effort to let everybody in-market know that Revolve was the only source of legitimate product in the country,” said Walls.

Existing fans of the brand could also access its e-commerce hub – at commuting time – two hours before its official launch, a move that prompted online word of mouth to spread.

Additionally, Lime Crime worked with a slate of influencers. But it largely avoided the “first-tier” category mavens in favour of slightly less well-known individuals, but people who were truly passionate advocates of the brand.

“For us, it’s most critical to have someone speaking on our behalf, or actually generating content with our product that looks like it would fit with our brand.” said Walls.

“And that’s not necessarily the first-tier influencer, because they are their own brand.”

Sourced from WARC