Rivalries in the digital landscape have intensified of late. Local e-commerce giants and social media platforms are diversifying their business models to optimize revenue streams, while some early adopters in the luxury sector have expanded their presence beyond WeChat, Weibo, and Tmall. Social commerce is changing. Emerging platforms are part of this. Poizon, in particular, has great potential — now home to China’s largest online streetwear community. How best, then, for luxury houses to navigate it?
What it is
Poizon is a fully-fledged fashion marketplace for authentic sneakers, apparel, bags, watches, and accessories from designer labels and luxury brands, as well as artwork. Before this, Poizon started as a content-sharing community with an emphasis on streetwear when it was founded in 2015. Two years later, the platform made its foray into e-commerce and rolled out dedicated authentication. It is this journey that has allowed for its unique business model. Based on two pillars, namely community and shopping, this facilitates a clear and efficient content-to-commerce closed loop.
What it offers
Each order made on Poizon has to go through a verification and quality inspection process. This means the seller must send the products to the platform’s professional authenticators; items which pass the process come with a set of Poizon-branded packaging including an exclusive certificate of authenticity, a tamper-resistant cable tie, and custom packaging. Moreover, Poizon has the world’s largest AR shoe model library. Its “AR try-on” function is used by 30 percent of customers every day, according to Poizon’s data. With their phone cameras, consumers can intuitively feel the size, details, and even the actual effect of the product.
What makes it different
In targeting the younger generation, Poizon is only available on mobile applications. Users are directed to make on-site orders through purchase links in the posts, and can share their authentic experiences and styling inspirations after they receive the products. This helps accumulate brand equity — and establish loyal communities.
Why it matters
Gen Zers account for nearly 90 percent of Poizon’s users, as shared with Jing Daily. Compared to older generations, this demographic tends to be better educated, with a broader vision and greater interest in quality. In addition to desiring newness, they are motivated by the prospect of community, and enjoy sharing their products and thoughts with like-minded peers. With all this in mind, Poizon has created not only an online shopping destination but a virtual space in which to forge emotional connections with others.
What’s more, brands launched on Poizon enjoy an efficiency that sets it apart from competitors. In a marked difference to other social media platforms and e-commerce sites, Poizon takes charge of the daily operations which are typically farmed out to third-party agencies. There is no registration fee for brand merchants — a high cost on marketplaces like Tmall. And all its marketing and promotion resources are free.
Because of this, there are now more than 10 global brands in partnership with the platform, such as Kering Eyewear, Coach, and Zenith. Coach announced the collaboration in May 2021, selling handbags, leather goods, and accessories, simultaneously offering its range on the app as well as in its own stores. The American affordable luxury brand has also released limited-edition products there in advance of their official launch. Meanwhile, in July 2021, LVMH-owned luxury watchmaker ZENITH unveiled an exclusive set for it.
One-time drops have also been seen. In January 2022, Moncler launched its collaboration with POP MART’s MEGA COLLECTION, featuring an extra-large-sized collectible toy, on both Poizon and its WeChat Mini Program. The brand has yet to open an official account.
So far, most of the products available on the platform are resale items. This has led to price variations and concerns regarding authenticity, despite the verification service provided. But the resale value of luxury can consolidate brand equity, which has been proven by legendary collaborations like Louis Vuitton x Supreme and Dior x Air Jordan.
Indeed, there are untapped opportunities given the platform’s young user base and its resale capabilities. However, according to the current brand portfolio on the marketplace, leading luxury brands seem hesitant to launch official accounts. A prudent approach might be a one-off collaboration. What do they have to lose?