Carol Huang
Aug 7, 2020

iQiyi to focus on driving product sales through content, says CMO

The Chinese video streamer is ramping up its offline activities like pop-up stores based on their original content.

Fans of iQiyi hit show 'Fourtry' line up at its offline pop-up store in Shanghai
Fans of iQiyi hit show 'Fourtry' line up at its offline pop-up store in Shanghai

When 'Fourtry Space' first opened an experience center in Shanghai, people queued for 6 hours to enter. Hit products at the store were being sold out within an hour of their release.

'Fourtry' is a hit show on Chinese video-streaming platform iQiyi, that invites celebrities to run a fashion shop in Tokyo. In the show's upcoming second season, iQiyi plans to open offline stores using the name 'Fourtry Space' in several Chinese cities and has already signed a contract with 15 fashion brands.

Not every video-streaming platform has the chops to become a successful retailer, but as more consumers look to choose products based on the shows they watch, iQiyi CMO and president of its new consumer business group, Vivian Wang, believes videos with excellent content can sell products better without any obvious advertisement.

Fourtry experience space in Shanghai

"Now more than ever, brands have to connect with consumers to achieve an emotional connection," Wang tells Campaign in an interview. A person's favourite content is an avenue into that emotional connection, helping brands convey messages that turn into sales that might not otherwise happen, she explains. 

Adamant on capitalising on that trend, iQiyi is strategically looking to produce more content that will provide more channels for brands to integrate within, but also more offline channels to offer brand sales opportunities, especially as pandemic restrictions loosen on out-of-home activities. 

"In the future, we will build consumption scenarios around high-quality content. We will integrate online and offline models and create consumption opportunities with brands by leveraging the influence of celebrities and KOLs, leading the upgrading of consumption through the next decade," Wang announced at a conference last month when unveiling new upcoming drama and variety shows.

One example is iQiyi's plan to open a pub in Shanghai this year based on the hit show 'The Rap of China' to also serve as the venue for artists' performances. The video streamer quickly realised that the show had strong product sales potential. 

"At first, we discovered that there was a lot of discussion about the shoes people wear in the show 'The Rap of China', after every time the show was broadcast," says Wang. Then sales also increased every time for the same shoes that people wore in the show. "We realised that users' recognition of the content will drive up the consumption," she says. 

Vivian Wang

Going forward, iQiyi announced it will build on its IPs to expand its range of content and build online and offline models.  It's aim is to establish a new business model of "celebrity/KOL + settings + brand incubator" by connecting brands, artists, technology and other resources into one environment. 

In addition to livestreaming with its celebrities to sell products online, Wang says iQiyi will explore all possibilities to build wider influence among Generation Z, including using artificial intelligence to help customise marketing messages to younger users based on their preferences.

It also plans to set up a indie-label named 'BKStore' to tackle indie culture trend among Chinese young people. As an 'incubator', BKStore will bring designers, musicians and other artists together to build more original content that is open to cooperation from other brands.

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