New Zealand is fast-becoming renowned as a hotspot for the formulation of premium wellness products that are a unique combination of native flora, cutting-edge science and good-old Kiwi innovation. Famous also for its majestic natural beauty, unspoiled landscapes and sweeping panoramas, it is not surprising this country’s unique offerings have become a major drawcard for the Chinese consumer who is increasingly seeking a healthier lifestyle bolstered with premium wellness products.
With the vast potential of this unique New Zealand dynamic remaining very much front and centre for David Gao of Alpha Group, armed with the commercial know-how to leverage a successful health supplement business boasting its own well-established distribution channels and an active database of almost one million customers, David has spent the last two years perfecting his latest brainchild, Kiwiso.
Recently launching in a high-end shopping mall in one of China’s fastest-growing cities, Xiamen, Kiwiso is a slick new immersive retail experience for Chinese consumers, offering a premium slice of more than 30 of the best Kiwi-formulated products on the wellness block – from natural foods and beverages, mum and baby products to personal care, skincare, intimate care, supplements and pet wellness products.
The 1,000-square-metre flagship concept store offers customers an immersive interactive experience, showcasing lush New Zealand imagery combined with virtual reality tech. “In China, New Zealand is recognised for its beauty and its clean green brand. The in-store interactive experience helps to further tell the country-of-origin story, giving consumers a flavour of where the products have come from,” says David.
The minimalist in-store interior showcases an interactive touch floor map of New Zealand referencing key locations, while life-sized statues of sheep and cows in a pasture setting are displayed in the company of virtual reality kiosks offering customers the experience of cycling through The Redwoods in Rotorua, whale-watching in Kaikoura or sky-diving amongst other iconic Kiwi experiences.
The Kiwiso retail experience aims, first and foremost, to give Chinese consumers an authentic New Zealand experience with a view to introducing one-of-a-kind products, which can in turn be shopped for via Kiwiso’s app. “The intention is not to stack it up like a supermarket, but to keep it sparse on the product front and give people a real experience of New Zealand,” says Kiwiso commercial lead, Mike Arand.
While e-commerce has remained the preferred mode of shopping for Chinese consumers, Arand notes there has also been a move towards shopping locally post-pandemic, making the physical presence of a store offering the opportunity to experience the heart of New Zealand, a no-brainer.
The launch of Kiwiso also heralds the opportunity for Kiwi businesses operating in the wellness sphere to introduce their premium products to the highly-competitive Chinese market under the wing of a well-established industry player – a space that is notoriously challenging to build brand awareness and trust. “Kiwiso enables New Zealand businesses to get their premium locally-made wellness products into the Chinese market, leveraging from Alpha Group’s extensive knowledge of the market and consumers and capitalising from our existing customer base,” says Arand. “New Zealand suppliers are able to sell their products to Kiwiso in New Zealand, we then take care of the logistics, customs clearance and marketing to the Chinese market.”
While the innovative wellness company has had a focus on affording Kiwi businesses a viable avenue to break into the Chinese market, Kiwiso is also directing some of its energies into the formulation of its very own science-driven New Zealand-centric skincare products from idea to product, which showcase that signature meld of select local ingredients, science and innovation. Furthermore, with plans to expand, it is very much a case of watch this space as David continues to evolve Alpha Group with a dynamic, entrepreneurial focus on discovering what’s new and possible.
Find out more about Kiwiso here.