China outflanks Hong Kong in rewarding customers

While consumer electronics in Hong Kong deliver quality and efficacy, favourite brands trail their counterparts in China when it comes to communication and tailored rewards.

This was a key finding of a study by global loyalty marketing agency ICLP.

“Fostering a loyal relationship with customers goes beyond providing good products,” says ICLP Asia Pacific executive VP Mary English. “To maintain competitiveness, electronic brands in Hong Kong need to put more emphasis on communicating the latest products and trends specific and relevant to a customer’s preferences, responding to them instantly and rewarding them with special and exclusive events and offers.”

According to the research, consumers want brands to respond to them on social media.

Hong Kong consumers say electronics brands are reliable in terms of after-sales service and product guarantee.

While 47 per cent say they trust the quality and efficacy of products, and half say brands can be relied on taking care of a problems with products, there is room for improvement in terms of communication and rewards if they are to build long-term relationships with customers.

ICLP analysis shows:

  • 17 per cent of Hong Kong consumers receive something in return for sharing their personal information compared with 36 per cent in Mainland China
  • 20 per cent are rewarded with personalised offers compared with 33 per cent on the mainland
  • 23 per cent are offered exclusive experiences compared with 36 per cent in China
  • 27 per cent receive responses on social media compared with 39 per cent in China
  • 27 per cent are kept up to date on trends compared with 45 per cent on the mainland. 

The study also showed that 51 per cent of Mainland Chinese shoppers expect to grow and improve their relationship with brands as they learn more about each other, compared with 27 per cent of shoppers in Hong Kong.

Feel appreciated

Nearly 40 per cent of shoppers in China feel they are appreciated as regular customers by their favourite brands versus 27 per cent in Hong Kong, and 36 per cent say they are rewarded by brands for sharing personal information.

“These findings show that consumers, whether in Hong Kong or Mainland China, expect more from consumer electronics brands,” says English. “Brands in Hong Kong need to focus on communicating with their customers; in particular, actively listening and responding to them in real time on social media, which is becoming increasingly crucial to tap into digitally savvy consumers.”

Social media broadens a brand’s reach in providing consumers updates on products and trends, and is recommended for use with associated social-data analytics that allows brands to understand their customers’ behaviour, says the ICLP report. It also provides the opportunity to identify key opinion leaders (KOLs) to represent the brand.

Brands on the mainland, on the other hand, are performing better in terms of communication and rewards, which can be explained by the popularity of WeChat and Weibo and online customer servicing, says the report.

“It is also not uncommon for brands in the mainland to offer a wider choice of gifts and personalised offers to reward shoppers for their purchase, instead of providing a standard premium for customers as do brands in Hong Kong. However, mainland brands need to beware of the lower trust in product quality and efficacy compared with Hong Kong, and take responsibility when there are issues.

With more than 25 years of experience, ICLP has 26 offices internationally and works with such such brands as Dunhill, Esprit, Estee Lauder, Guess, Harrods and L’Oreal.


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