China is among the largest countries in terms of size but also in terms of e-commerce sales! The country has far exceeded Europe or America by recording impressive figures: In 2016, for example, the turnover of online shopping has reached an amount of 20 trillion yuan (2896 billion dollars). It is estimated that by 2020, the market sales are expected to soar to $5792 billion. There is no wonder that with a logistics network as developed as that of China we are not far from suspecting that China is able to record such a huge turnover.
Numerous brands, including foreign ones, are ambitious and eager to sell their products online in the Chinese market. Especially with the development of a cross-border marketplace, international companies don’t need to tackle problems in bureaucracy.
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Indeed, there is a great opportunity for foreign brands in China. However, a lack of knowledge about the Chinese market and its powerful e-commerce will lead to failure. China’s market is different from those in other countries.
The Chinese are very skeptical about the purchase of products, whether online or shop. They doubt the quality or the credibility of the components of the products.
Therefore, they prefer to rely on the opinions of their families and friends on the social networks (ex: WeChat) or even the opinion of the influencers (KOL’s) they trust because they have already subscribed to their channels and are naturally interested in the content they publish or the products they suggest! Or they are attracted by the big brands that guarantee quality and good customer service!
How should brands behave with Chinese consumers?
- Gain their trust
You have to know that the majority of consumers in China have already been victims of fraud, or even reception of inferior products whether in stores or even online … in short, all are elements that have contributed to the current mistrust of the Chinese.
The e-commerce sites have a good understanding of what kind of consumers they are dealing with. So they thought about security, especially the trustworthy customer experience (like the picture shows) with checks at e-commerce marketplaces offer a more worthy customer experience of confidence without forgetting the payment on the delivery offered with Alipay.
These e-commerce platforms will roll up the sleeves and present more personalized and relevant advertisements to the users in order to demonstrate to the consumer that your product is THE PRODUCT they need.
Websites that have been able to meet the needs of their client by offering maximum security, better traceability, and virtual space dedicated to exchanging comments and advice.
- CSR (Corporate social responsibility) – tool for good company reputation
Corporate social responsibility – or CSR will be your strong point! Participating in social work (cause-related marketing strategy) or environmental (greenwash) are all marketing strategies to join the consumer in your zone of confidence, everything else will be simpler and more feasible in the long term. Start by funding local schools or donate generously to organizations.
- Cooperation with Chinese KOL
KOL, in other words, Key Opinion Leader. In Chinese, it is also called “Wang Hong”. They are people who have an influence on Chinese social media.
Those “Wang Hong” can introduce your brand to his community, that it will be in confidence, and will not hesitate to buy your product!
However, take care to choose your KOL, and keep in mind that the one with the most subscribers is not necessarily the one that suits you since it must have the same spirit as your business to be able to target a population very precise, which will make you generate more leads.
- Adopt Chinese Social networks
Social networks were synonymous with sales in China … WeChat, Weibo, XiaoHongShu … contribute to brand awareness and customer acquisition in the Chinese market.
Social media like WeChat are essential for customer loyalty and bring them back to the point of sale (your store) and why not increase your sales and make a turnover!
If you want to know more about Chinese customer acquisition, Contact GMA, a digital marketing agency, specialized in the Chinese digital market.
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