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Main Points

By using Weixin mini programs as its own private domain sales channels and utilizing Weixin official accounts, Search, Weixin channels, and other public and private domain resources, Nippon Paint has been able to fully digitalize the entire range of its operations and break down marketing barriers. Nippon provides its sales professionals with powerful tools that link together online and offline resources, help them to accumulate customer traffic, and drive the company’s continuous growth. The brand has also established a three-way strategy for accumulating traffic and attracting new customers and utilizes live streaming to direct more customers to its mini program stores to make new and repeated purchases, consistently generating compound growth within Nippon's own private domain.

Company Introduction

Nippon China, a subsidiary of Singapore's Nippon Group, has been operating in China since 1992. With the corporate mission of “refreshing a better living space”, the company has since become the market leader in China's paint industry. In 2020, Nippon began focusing on its self-owned sales domain and introduced Weixin mini programs to support dealers. To date, the mini programs have empowered over 1600 stores and 3600 sales guides, providing a digital layer to Nippon’s retail stores.


The paint industry is a typical experience-driven industry with relatively infrequent consumption and high order value, making it heavily reliant on physical stores. However, the constantly changing digital age has presented new challenges to the paint industry, such as meeting the needs of younger consumers and adapting to changes that stem from more prevalent online shopping. These challenges have led some traditional marketing models to struggle to engage consumers as shopping habits continue to evolve. In addition, the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising raw material and labor costs have brought even more uncertainty to the industry.

Nippon’s aim has been to shift customer engagement from offline to online. It does this with an ecosystem of Weixin mini programs, official accounts, and live streaming through Weixin channels. With these, Nippon can use its online public domain traffic to discover trends and drive sales in its physical stores and ultimately achieve healthy GMV growth within its own private domain. Nippon has also launched an online customer resource management system to enable user traceability and improve the brand's marketing effectiveness.

Best practices

Nippon has integrated digital resources in its stores, its marketing efforts, and its live streaming strategies. With more consistent traffic, more abundant resources, and synergy between its offline and online sales channels, Nippon has created a closed-loop private domain, which has led to greater customer reach and better business performance.

  • Digitalizing Stores and Traffic: Store Cloudification and Online/Offline Service Integration

With many years in the Chinese market, Nippon has a vast network of physical stores across the country. However, in 2020, the impacts of the pandemic dealt a blow to the building materials market and presented the company with significant challenges. To accelerate recovery and establish healthy and sustainable growth, Nippon focused on developing a cloud-based strategy for its stores.

The company carefully selected 1,000 of its leading stores and formulated comprehensive incentive policies to encourage online business, improve marketing efficiency, and drive the digital transformation of its stores. Nippon collaborated with Tencent to build a matrix of Weixin mini programs, including Nippon Color Inspiration Set, Nippon Refresh Service, and the on Official Smart Mall. The Smart Mall mini program is updated quarterly to continuously optimize the user experience.

Nippon uses its mini program store as its own private domain sales channel. It also utilizes Weixin's social ecosystem, including Weixin official accounts, Weixin Search, and Weixin Channels, to create a network of public/private domain touch points and a digital membership system that bridges online and offline experience. This closed-loop private domain ecosystem enables Nippon to be more efficient and engage with customers more directly. In the first half of 2021, the brand’s online presence and its Smart Mall brought in over 6,000 transactions.

  • Digital Service Guides and Customer Service: Driving Continuous Brand Growth with Omnichannel Resources

Nippon’s in-store sales professionals play an important role in driving Nippon traffic online. The company has a well-established management system for sales guides and provides them with essential digital tools. Within this system, guides can access marketing content in real time, and each guide has their own name card, as well as their own QR codes to share with customers and help manage orders. The system also includes a complete incentive program to help motivate all sales guides at Nippon stores.

When a customer enters the store, a Nippon sales guide immediately begins communicating with them to find out more about their renovation project and what kind of paint they need. During this process, guides also add customers on Weixin and bring them into Nippon’s private traffic pool. Guides also share the company's Smart Mall mini program with shoppers where they can view the company's full range of products and shop at their leisure without needing to install any apps. The mini program gives customers insights into the advantages of different products, as well as inspiration for new styles and colors for their own projects. At each step of the way, sales professionals are available to guide customers in finding the products they need.

Sales guides also remind customers to follow the Nippon official Weixin account to access the electronic warranty for their purchase. Through the official account, professionals can follow up with customers, communicate with them one-on-one, and post content to Weixin communities and through Weixin Moments. This enables them to maintain long-term relationships with customers and build more brand loyalty among them.

To help sales guides better utilize the brand’s private domain operations, Nippon also provides live-stream training courses that professionals can watch at their own pace to learn more about home decoration and improve their professional knowledge. Nippon also provides a dedicated digital "workbench" for the teams, integrating various brand and product materials, frequently used tools, and even training and learning courses. These resources help the guides increase their efficiency and provide better follow-up interactions with customers.

Within this network of interaction between sales guides and customers, Nippon's Weixin mini program store connects everyone to the brand’s online and offline resources. This forward-thinking strategy shows that online channels aren't just a means to supplement traffic; rather, they go hand in hand with the development of offline resources. The Weixin ecosystem enables Nippon to utilize effective marketing and drive public traffic to its own channels, creating a private traffic ecosystem and laying the foundation for continuous growth.

  • Marketing and Service Digitization: Multi-Channel Traffic Accumulation and Higher Conversion with Live Streaming

Based on its well-established private domain infrastructure, Nippon established a three-way strategy for attracting new customers. The first part is leveraging its stores to bring existing offline customers online. Second is using advertising to bring users to the Weixin official account or WeCom and increase sales through continuous engagement. And third is maintaining a network of decoration and painting professionals from decorating companies and community groups to drive more end users.

Once customers are directed online, Nippon can take advantage of the influence of its content and its community to refine operations throughout the entire marketing chain. To engage users in the low-frequency home furnishings industry, Nippon has innovated by forming flash communities, promoting new real estate properties, and directing customers to cross-industry partners. Within these communities, Nippon engages with users through social media, live streaming, and limited-time discounts to drive more sales and higher revenue.

Users from various channels are ultimately directed to Nippon’s mini program store where they can make new and repeated purchases. This strategy generates compound growth within the brand's private domain. Throughout the process, live streaming has been a powerful means to accelerate transformation.

Nippon has established a live streaming system based on mini programs in which live stream content is broadcast from both the brand headquarters and from regional stores. Before a live broadcast, Nippon organizes its sales guides to promote the broadcast throughout social media, personal accounts, communities, and stores. During the live stream, Nippon invites designers and top-rated professionals to provide members with exclusive live content designed for regional home decorators and customers. Each live stream includes product introductions and giveaways, as well as flash sales and 50% off deals. The products are selected according to the specific preferences of its online customers which increases sales throughout the live stream. Nippon also leverages annual sales trends and e-commerce data to create live streaming shopping events, using post-analysis data to continuously optimize and replicate successful experiences.

With comprehensive efforts, the annual live GMV of Nippon's official online store has reached tens of millions.


Nippon Paint has put continuous focus on its private domain sales channel strategy. Since its addition to the company in 2020, the brand has established its own retail team coordinated between its headquarters and regional branches, achieving digital transformation throughout the organization. It now has more than 1600 stores nationwide and provides digital tools and training to over 3600 sales professionals. Frontline professionals showcase products through live streaming, creating more potential for growth in the brand's private domain. In 2021, the GMV from Nippon’s mini programs reached a scale of 100 million, with private domain coverage of over 1.7 million people.

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