From Salesman to Friend: How Brands are Building Long-Term Relationships with Customers Through Private Domains

Peter Moore is one of the legends in the gaming industry. He was the president of the American division of the video game giant Sega, and later served as the vice president of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment department, overseeing the development and operations of the Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles.

In 2002, Peter Moore conducted a corporate image survey for his employer Sega. The result is that in the minds of American teenagers, Sega has become an “old man who used to be cool, but now can’t remember anything.”

Moore wanted to tell Sega’s Japanese headquarters that consumers are changing and the company must change as soon as possible. However, Sega executives were furious at the findings: “Sega is a great brand, no one would say that, you made them say that on purpose.”

This is something that almost all companies will encounter when they develop to a certain stage – they become farther and farther away from users and cannot clearly see the current situation of the company.

In the era when Sega fell from its peak, most companies could only establish connections with consumers through product sales. This buyer-seller relationship is undoubtedly lagging and fragile.

A few years later, on the eve of the release of the first-generation iPhone, hundreds of “Apple fans” lined up outside Apple stores overnight. Since then, companies have finally realized that how to build long-term and loyal relationships with users has become a vital business link.

Nowadays, almost every company invests a lot of energy in creating and maintaining its own fan base, and this work also has a special name – private domain operations.
How can a small store become a private domain?

Private domain operations are not very sophisticated in the eyes of many people. Creating groups for users, adding corporate WeChat accounts, and distributing benefits are now even done by street shops. The threshold is neither high nor very effective.
However, doing and knowing how to do are two different things.

If an enterprise wants to do a good job in private domain operations, its first task is to position itself according to its own characteristics and give full play to its own talents.

For example, it is the same as issuing coupons. Luckin’s daily distribution is very suitable, because coffee is a high-frequency and low-priced product; but if Kweichow Moutai also distributes every day, the effect will not be good, which will not only disturb users, but also fail to play to the company’s strengths.

Guangdong’s chain maternal and infant department store brand, Ubibear, focuses on the community store model, setting up stores in various major districts to be users’ neighbors. Based on this feature, they position their private domain as an expert on maternal and infant issues in the community. .

But this expert’s role also has a “bottom line”. The main focus is “not to disturb people at ordinary times, but the service is always online.” Specifically, after store employees add mothers in the community, they will not send out advertisements in groups – that would be too intrusive. Instead, they will regularly share some parenting knowledge, so sales behavior will appear in these inadvertent popular science.

Once, Ubibear posted a post on Moments on how to care for a baby’s red butt. Soon, a mother sent a private message saying that her baby had this symptom and asked for specific treatment methods. The clerk immediately began to comfort him, telling him that it was a “common ailment” and providing solutions.

Gradually, mothers will regard Ubibear’s corporate WeChat as a “walking parenting guide”. When their children have relevant problems, they will directly ask the store staff through WeChat.

In addition to solving problems online, the advantages of the community store model can play a greater role in some emergency situations. For example, a certain mother discovered that she had run out of milk powder late at night, and the fastest delivery from the supermarket would be tomorrow. So she tried to contact the Ubibear store clerk, and the store clerk actually came to deliver her milk powder.

At present, Ubibear maintains more than 80,000 private domain customers through corporate WeChat, which is equivalent to more than 80,000 neighbors. Their needs can be tapped for a long time. For example, as their children grow up, mothers will also have new purchasing needs, and Ubibear’s business will follow the trend and become more diversified.

If the product category is richer, it will be difficult for UbiKion to defeat large supermarkets and online shopping malls. However, UbiKion’s service is considerate and meticulous. The labels given to moms on corporate WeChat even include “Speak Mandarin” and “Speak Cantonese.” Established its own core advantages.

The essence of private domain operation is to combine it with the company’s own advantageous model to achieve twice the result with half the effort. In the story of UbiKion, in the past, the trust between the brand and customers was a relatively pragmatic statement. However, through the combination of private domain operations and community store models, this trust has been appropriately embodied. In the case of UbiKion, the trust advantage of community stores was amplified through the private domain, thus achieving stable business growth.
Enterprise private domain operations

In the case of Ubibear, it is mainly companies that provide services and products to users. But sometimes, private domain users can also do something for the enterprise.

As early as 2013, Facebook calculated that each person logs into Facebook for an average of 17 minutes a day, which adds up to the equivalent of 15 million years of voluntary work for Facebook. Some business observers said: Zuckerberg’s greatest insight is that human beings’ desire to “be liked” is so strong that they will voluntarily create content for free.

In March last year, a clerk at a Miniso store in Henan suddenly had the idea to put underwear on a “DUNDUN chicken” in the store, and casually posted a little red book note, which quickly became an Internet sensation. , received tens of thousands of likes from netizens.

Miniso immediately paid attention to this unexpectedly popular “Underwear Model Chicken”, and they immediately called on stores at all levels to follow suit. The headquarters also sent materials and technical points to all store employees through corporate WeChat, and kept in touch with them. Contact the private domain KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers) to facilitate them to carry out various secondary creations.

The official campaign had outstanding results and soon led to a trend. With the help of users, “DUNDUN Chicken” has become a chicken with a story. The product has been sold out several times, and annual sales exceeded 40 million yuan.

The success of DUNDUN Chicken is inseparable from the participation of users and Miniso’s strategy of operating KOC in the private domain.

Miniso currently maintains close ties with more than 50,000 private domain KOCs, and these 50,000 KOCs are precipitated from their 39 million private domain users, and these 39 million users come from offline The stores are growing day by day. Through corporate WeChat, Miniso can quickly distribute creative materials and allow KOCs to exchange creative experiences. When there is a need for product promotion, private KOCs become the “wild spokesperson” of Miniso.

In the current era of the popularity of social media, it is not uncommon for brands to operate KOC, but the biggest difficulty is: how to organize KOC? How to maintain KOC’s creative enthusiasm?

To this end, Miniso has established a graded incentive system in the private sector: the more you create, the more benefits you will receive – at first it was just an identity authentication, and later you can get new products that are not yet on the market in advance, and join the high-end First-class KOC group, communicate and grow with private domain experts.

Officials will also forward the content created by KOC to private groups and Moments, so that 39 million private fans can see it, helping KOC to increase fans, likes, reading and other data.

In addition to stimulating KOC’s continuous creative enthusiasm, Miniso also invites KOCs who have published many popular notes as “teachers” to share their summary of popular article templates with everyone in the private domain. KOC will also give each other suggestions and inspiration, and become each other’s creative support team.

Of course, this is not a one-way output process. Sometimes Miniso will officially enter the market and work with private KOCs to find traffic passwords. For example, Miniso discovered that the “blind box weighing” challenge was particularly popular, and gave this idea to KOCs in the private community. These private KOCs showed off on Xiaohongshu, Douyin, and Moments, and gained a lot of points. Likes and followers.

This is a perfect example of private domain users and enterprises providing value to each other. Being able to use Enterprise WeChat to organize and operate KOC on a large scale is the key to success.

The company provides users with some benefits and help, and finally allows the users to gain a sense of recognition on social networks and realize the construction of their own brand; while the users help the company to promote – in the past two years, these 50,000 private KOCs have helped the name create excellence The product produced 4 million pieces of content and created 1.7 billion exposures, which is equivalent to saving 40 million yuan in marketing costs. Enterprises and users no longer have a short-term, one-way, game-playing relationship, but a long-term, mutually beneficial, and symbiotic relationship.
The nirvana of private community

Another important feature of private domain is long-term effect.
There is a business anecdote that goes like this:
Question: How to sell cat food to customers?
Answer: Give him a cat.

For some companies, cats are already in the hands of users, such as Ubi Bear. “Cat” is the need for childcare. Mothers are born with it, and they just need to be properly guided. For some companies, they need to invest more energy to make users like and accept the cat.

For example, for the sports brand Decathlon, the sports products are cat food and the sports experience is the cat.

Decathlon has set up a variety of sports experience areas in its stores for users to try out at will. According to Decathlon, user experience is the best purchase driver. According to their research, the purchase rate of customers who have experienced it and those who have not experienced it differs by more than 5 times.

But if the user leaves the store, how can the experience continue? This is the problem Decathlon’s private domain operation wants to solve.

For this reason, in the past two years, Decathlon has established many corporate WeChat communities based on its stores. They are not used to promote discounted products, but to organize activities, such as running groups, fitness groups, and even parent-child interaction groups with children. , to facilitate users to find “sports partners”.

However, what those who want to experience sports are most afraid of is the “three-minute popularity” of users or the fear of being persuaded to quit because they are newbies. For this reason, each interest group of Decathlon is equipped with a group leader who is a store employee, and will organize regular and regular meetings. We organize group activities and provide logistical support for everyone’s activities. Under the organization of these group owners, Decathlon launched tens of thousands of sports check-in and experience activities of different sizes last year, involving hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

Therefore, many of Decathlon’s product sales occur naturally through social chats and offline gatherings, and do not require excessive individual sales by shop assistants. Decathlon’s evaluation criteria for store clerks are not only performance numbers, but also customer satisfaction – although their performance numbers are also very good: 75% of Decathlon’s GMV comes from members, of which 60% are repeat purchases from regular customers. Among them, the unit price of private domain users is three times that of ordinary members.

Moreover, with the development of user community relationships, the market space can be further opened. For example, there are users who like running. After joining the community, they came into contact with Frisbees and pulleys, tried to participate in some, and fell in love with them, which generated new purchase demands.

The transaction relationship is instant. After the product transaction is completed, the company and the user are basically disconnected, and it is difficult to have a long-term effect. Decathlon’s private domain is a good demonstration of how to create opportunities to interact with users in daily life and how to improve the intimacy between companies and users.
The private domain is different

With the development of private domain operations to this day, there is a basic principle. Enterprises need to adopt different approaches according to their own different characteristics.

Some companies are suitable to be welfare providers in the private sector, some are suitable to play the role of “grass planting experts”, and some are suitable to be event organizers.

Users of Enterprise WeChat have gradually formed different usage patterns: service-oriented, welfare-oriented, interest-oriented, and online business-oriented. For example, Luckin mentioned at the beginning is welfare-oriented and is more suitable for high-frequency and low-unit-price consumer products. It uses some benefits to remind customers to visit the store or directly promote online transactions, while Decathlon is service-oriented, and their method is suitable for those with high unit prices. , brands with long product life cycles.

At the same time, the Enterprise WeChat team has developed many private domain tools, such as group messaging assistants, customer acquisition assistants, etc., to adapt to the private domain operational needs of different types of enterprises. Currently, Enterprise WeChat has opened more than 1,600 API interfaces, which can fully utilize various resources within the WeChat ecosystem.

Of course, when choosing private domain traffic operation tools, brands need to consider their own operational positioning, model positioning, and the functional needs of the target group to ensure that the operation tools can meet actual needs.

However, no matter how good the tools are, the key is always the people. Enterprises provide products and services through specific people, and users also consume out of their trust and love for specific people. No matter what type of private domain it is, its operational purpose is the same: to make the enterprise more like a living and concrete person – as a user’s friend.

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