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I was strolling through Connaught Place in central Delhi, sipping on cold coffee after a good meal from Wenger’s. I came across this store overflowing with people. The store had bright yellow ceiling lights, mirrors, and super attractive neon-colored items on the front shelves.

Being someone who has been obsessed with stationery and co. since childhood, I finished my coffee in two large sips and stepped in to become a part of the crowd. Things have been different for me since then and probably for everyone who fell for this psychological marketing.

First things first- The Company Context:

Chinese or Japanese? In a single line, a Japanese “inspired” brand but is run by a Chinese entrepreneur. Although the store operates in mainland China and has very little or no presence in Japan, the Chinese entrepreneur and founder Ye Goufu gained inspiration for Miniso on a family trip to Japan.

Miniso claims to be a Japanese brand since most of its designers come from Japan. As Chinese products are positioned to be cheap, they wanted to be 6 feet away from any such kind of resentment. 

Founded in 2014, in just 7 years, they have 3500 stores in over 79 countries. Miniso expanded aggressively, leveraging the One Belt One Road policy in Asia to Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. While they were on the expansion spree in 2017, they decided to enter the North Korean market.

However, after a tussle between the Japanese branch and North Korea violating some trade agreements under UN Security Council Resolution, Miniso was rebranded as “Evolution” in Pyongyang. Well, anything about North Korea is far from surprising. But anyway, it was around the same time that it began its operations in India, with 100 stores, out of which 21 were based in Delhi NCR alone.

India is one of the top five markets in terms of revenue for MINISO. To expand our presence in India, we have initiated our franchise model to start operations in Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Jaipur while tapping into tier 2 and tier 3 markets.” In 2018 alone, it generated a revenue of Rs. 700 crore, achieving their annual target with quite an ease. 

When asked about the Indian market, the Chief Designer said

Miniso’s business model with this exceptional expansion rate was built on the foundation of one thing- Marketing Strategy

Marketing Myopia:

For anyone in love with Marketing, this term might’ve crossed your path at least once. If it hasn’t, here’s your cue. Myopia, as the name suggests, is a short-sightedness disease. And Theodore Levitt of HBR used Marketing Myopia to define the pool of companies that jeopardized their fortunes by having a very inward-looking approach to fulfill the immediate needs of selling the product and not focusing on the consumer.

Basically, whenever Sales >> Marketing, Myopia kicks in. I’ve brought this up to highlight how Miniso had read that paper and did it right. Miniso focused on its consumers and employed every technique out of the book to perfect its marketing strategy. Let me take one strategy at a time and walk you through their mission of providing affordable joys to people.

Key Pillars of Miniso’s Marketing Strategy

In-Store Experience:

Starbucks is a leader when it comes to charging for the experience. Similarly, Miniso taps onto this unstated need with great perfection. The presentation of its products, it’s shelving, and the American color palette leaves one with starry eyes. Top it up with the brand’s interior designs, and it’s almost impossible to resist walking out empty-handed. After all, it’s too pretty to handle. 

Smart Collaboration:

A partnership with another successful brand always leads to synergy. That is what Miniso exhibited first-hand by collaborating with The Pink Panther, Hello Kitty, and *drumrolls* MARVEL STUDIOS!! One should’ve looked at the craze of its products close to the release of Avengers Endgame. Wholesome. Just look at it right now, no! Meanwhile, it also made a promising collab with Givaudan Fragrance Company to brand their perfume range and sold 3L bottles a month. Like whattt 🙂

Giveaways and Contests:

The best thing about living in India is how the entire population loves free things. Whether I want it or need it, would use it or not, I’d rather have something without pulling out my wallet, especially when I am winning it. I love how they tickle the competitive spirit in us.

Miniso’s special festive giveaways and competitions on social media have led to this strong customer base and increased brand awareness. Also, taking care of the exclusivity factor, it launched the Miniso Membership to make sure products and events are limited to this small pool. FOMO? Guess so.

Endorsements and Influencer Marketing:

Type Miniso on Youtube, and you’ll get hundreds of search results with the title “Miniso Haul”. Word of mouth is by far the most vital marketing strategy and Miniso understands it.

Seeing our favorite celebrities and influencers endorse something which is also affordable for us makes us want to pull out our car and get it before the stock runs out. Content creation increased drastically when everyone wanted those trending Marvel sippers and those cute coin purses or AirPod cases. The buzz they intended to create was mission accomplished. 

Psychological Marketing:

The MVP of Miniso is finally here, and time to dive deep into how we increased their sales subconsciously.

  • Using psychological pricing by keeping their products at Rs. 99 or Rs. 249,
  • Personalizing the perfumes by adding Sun Signs, cute customized notes, color compositions,
  • The vibrant atmosphere with floor staff ready to assist, and
  • Billboard Top 50 tracks playing in the store gave a feel-good experience urging people to spend more time.

As I mentioned earlier, mirrors are placed alongside product shelves, and I’m not going to lie, but those mirrors have a beautifying effect. Even I’m guilty of taking those mirror selfies to send it to my sister asking if I should buy it and getting a reply to buy two instead 🙂

Gifting:

How many times have you been confused about what to get your friend for their birthday? Or let’s make it more challenging, your parents? My mind used to narrow down to options like a watch, perfume, flowers, a card, or if my love was enough?

But I got my mom a plastic knife from Miniso she could carry to the office, and I saw her praising that little product more than the one who bought it 🙂 A gifting collection of cute handbags, bottles with captivating text, and in fact, even utility items like a travel neck pillow, manicure kits, and cutlery sets have made way into most houses with ease.

Campaigns:

Talking about leveraging social media, Miniso has made a mark online too. Its campaigns like #ShowMinisoColour on Holi encourage people to post pictures with all the colorful items they have bought from Miniso. It asked people to introspect their personality and showcase it through color. Beautiful, isn’t it? Miniso inculcated methods of brand personality into its very own consumer personas.

It also utilized the pandemic situation to get its users on board with their social media handles and used hashtags like #WeWillGetThroughThisTogether to lift the spirits with their cutesy collection. 

The Road Ahead:

Talking about plans, Miniso has a special focus on strengthening its marketing strategy with its phygital presence. Phygital is the concept of using technology to bridge the digital world with the physical world with the purpose of providing unique interactive experiences for the user The company’s physical presence stands at 4749 as of June 30, 2021, with a quarterly net addition of 162 stores. 

Alongside, the announcement of “Art Toy” as their strategic product offering of 2021 came in earlier this year. Miniso has already launched their sub-brand in the category with the name Top toy with 33 specialized stores are operating as of now. For those who aren’t familiar, Art Toys are Vinyl figurines with three inches to two feet in size.

Tapping onto the huge demand from 90’s kids for such collectible toys and bobbleheads is an intelligent maneuver indeed. For now, let us sit back and observe how Miniso fares and if its future is as bright as its collection, or will they fall victim to the Marketing Myopia sooner or later?


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Pritika Arora
Author

Count me in if it’s anything about Marketing, Coffee, or Philosophy. The right side of my brain loves traveling and writing. The left half is busy completing assignments while pursuing an MBA from IIFT.

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