With the borders shut to international visitors, how do you provide Chinese consumers a truly authentic New Zealand experience, from over 11,000 kilometres away?
An immersive virtual reality experience cycling through the towering trees in The Redwoods Whakarewarewa or a simulated tour through the Waitomo Caves is a compelling start. Independently verifying each of your 30 products with a FernMark? Well, that’s the cherry on top.
Last month, online retail brand Kiwiso launched its first store in Xiamen, China selling New Zealand wellness products including natural foods, personal care, skincare, intimate care, and mum and baby products.
The 1,000sqm store is owned by Alpha Group, a successful health supplement business in China with their own direct to consumer sales channels, and an active database of almost one million customers.
Customers to the store are treated to an authentic New Zealand experience through the use of VR technology and expansive New Zealand imagery.
Alpha Group CEO David Gao says the FernMark is key to getting that authenticity right.
“The market is saturated with brands that claim to provide authentic country of origin experiences. Our products are made, grown, and designed in Aotearoa. Creating an intrinsically New Zealand experience is one part of this story, the other is backing it up with the FernMark on all of our products – it’s our stamp of approval.”
The highly visual and technology-driven store experience is backed up by the Kiwiso app that reaches Alpha Group’s vast customer base in China. So far, there have been more than 100,000 downloads of the app since the launch in September.
Many of the store’s products come from local New Zealand businesses such as the fastest selling Kiwiseng Boysenberry drink from Rotorua. The new concept provides a ripe opportunity for businesses that would otherwise struggle to get their stock into the Chinese market where it can be challenging building brand awareness and trust.
“We take care of the logistics, customs clearance, and marketing to the Chinese market and we use the FernMark to assure trust and confidence that these products are genuine’, says Gao.
New Zealand Story CEO David Downs says a licence to bear the FernMark is formal recognition of a business’s role as an ambassador of the New Zealand Story.
“Kiwiso’s immersive store is a great example of Kiwi ingenuity that tells a compelling country-of-origin story backed up by the FernMark. The interactive showcasing of New Zealand as a destination, as well as producer of premium New Zealand products gives Chinese consumers a flavour of what New Zealand has to offer amid closed borders.”
A flavour, Kiwiso Marketing Manager Echo Feng, says that Chinese consumers are seeking out.
“Our customers are seeking wellbeing products that come from a safe and clean environment – the FernMark helps associate us with the reliability of the New Zealand brand.”
Alpha Group has ambitious plans to open an additional 40 Kiwiso stores throughout China over the next three years and to increase its product range to 80 in the next six months.
David Gao says that part of this growth, is using the FernMark.
“It goes hand in hand with our growth strategy. Everything about the Kiwiso brand reflects the New Zealand brand so the FernMark, for us, is perfect.”