In the image of its neighbors Japan and Korea, appearance has become a primordial aspect of success in China. Wearing well designed or/and luxury clothes can help one gain a significant amount of face with its pairs. In addition, it is important to understand that the Chinese market changes quickly, not only because the Chinese are becoming more sophisticated, but also because of a stronger appreciation of international brands.
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Some of you might ask if they can really export clothes to China. My answer is: Yes!
Chinese consumers are very easy to serve in terms of needs. They get very excited about foreign brands because of the large selection of designer labels plus new and famous brands.
The younger generation of Chinese is not that different from the younger generation of western. They might be using different social media platforms, but they follow a similar pattern when making purchases.
For example, Chinese people born after the ’90s, mainly purchase their clothes online because. However, that is something the previous 80’s generation would not do. The latter trust physical shops more than online shops. They prefer to try clothes and not just see them on models.
More Chinese prefer cost-effective clothes.
Not that long ago, Chinese consumers were going to local stores, or even fake markets to buy pieces of clothing, as these were the choices they had. Slowly, bigger brands like H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo set up physical stores in China and have become increasingly popular. They are relatively inexpensive, use the local eCommerce tools well, and are easy to access physically. Those brands have won the trust of Chinese consumers.
Nowadays (2020), you will barely find any Chinese going to the local stores or ‘fake markets’, buying clothes, as many foreign brands, like H&M and Uniqlo, cost equally much.
Even if wealthy Chinese appreciate more high-end brands like Gucci, LV, and Hugo Boss, many people can’t afford these clothes and look for cheaper brands. They prefer cost-effective products.
Second-hand clothing stores in China
There are than 50% of the world’s clothing manufacturers in China, with serious environmental impacts such as wastewater.
While some people think that large manufacturers should do more, a growing number of people in China are attempting to reduce the impact of consumption by buying less or reusing what they already have.
The market for second-hand clothing is expanding on a bricks-and-mortar retail level. Clothing swaps are gaining in popularity and visibility in China especially in major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, some organizations between friends and others hosted by charitable organizations, and shared through social media.
How to sell Clothes in China in 2020?
Branding is everything for Fashion Brand in China
Branding is very important in China, in the coming years, we’ll see more and more Chinese buying small or medium-sized brands. Selling clothes in China can be a challenge if you don’t know where to begin. Today, digital is driving the world, selling clothes online can be a fruitful business endeavor. But you have to know how to do it.
Listen to your target audience
Foreign brands need to speak to their Chinese consumers. Often successful foreign brands modified their marketing strategies in terms of messaging, slogan, and even corporate visuals. You can speak with your Chinese consumers through some digital tools such as Social media, website, forums,…..etc.
Another way might be to engage with the local Chinese community through Daigou (Chinese buying agents) who are also a great proxy to understand where they see value and positioning as they are actively buying international products and reselling back in China.
Establish a strong and trustworthy Reputation Online & Offline
In China, international businesses are known for their friendliness and informality. These qualities are generally attractive to Chinese consumers and this is a longer-term commitment that most Chinese businesses are looking for. International companies are often focused on establishing their business quickly and trying to build profits, then they forget to build and a good reputation around their brand.
It is very important to understand that Chinese people will only do business with you if you have established a reliable and trustworthy relationship.
Where do Chinese consumers buy their clothes?
China is becoming more and more digitized than in other countries. In fact, when you live in China, you rarely used cash or cards, Mobile phone is the substitute for your card (paying through my WeChat wallet or Alipay).
So, if you plan to sell clothes to China, you should prepare yourself to go digital, and online platforms are the places to be nowadays.
The process for building an eCommerce store:
- Pick a domain name,
- Choose a store builder,
- Decorate your digital shop,
- Add the necessary functionality (payment, shipping, etc),
- Get people in your door.
The question is: which online platforms are the most popular in China? The two biggest online platforms are:
- Tmall Global (Tianmao)
- JD.Com (Jingdong)
How International fashion brands can Sell clothes on Tmall Global?
Tmall makes up over 50% of the market shares in China and frequently talked about among foreign online retailers. If you plan to export to China, you should definitely have a look at this site.
JD.com is more focused on kitchen appliances and other electronic products (Tmall is probably the best choice for you).
The important thing to keep in mind about both JD and Tmall is that you don’t need to have a local company in China to start selling your products.
If you plan to sell on Tmall Global, you need to understand how to set up a store and the costs involved, you need to fulfill different requirements depending on which store type you choose.
Types of stores you can choose and the requirements:
- You’re the owner of the brand or have been granted permission from the brand owner to sell his or her clothes on Tmall Global
- Your store sells and represents a single brand
- Your store sells and represents several brands (need separate approval from Tmall)
- Your store sells and represents a multi-brand marketplace (need separate approval from Tmall)
Businesses should be registered outside of China with trademarks in China. The company must be qualified for retail overseas and have good operating conditions. They must also be able to certify that their stock is located outside of China.
Create your Chinese Website
Creating your own website is a better way to establish a brand while selling your products. This is a great benefit for those looking to establish and sell clothing online long-term because it builds brand awareness. Chinese Website is the first portal where your Chinese customers can find you. Many businesses turn to search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing to attract a crowd, but paid advertising is an option as well.
Introduction to Baidu SEO
While Google is the dominant search engine in most countries, it never had a very strong position, only 2.3% of all searches in China happen on the Western search giant. This may be due in part to it being blocked by the Great Firewall in China.
To be truly successful in Baidu SEO, you’ll need a deep understanding of how to optimize for the search giant. However, optimizing for Baidu using the same approach used for Google is unlikely to find your site ranking near the top of page 1. Baidu SEO comes with its own unique and challenging environment, cultural differences, user behavior, censorship, and technical considerations.
The goal of on-page optimization is to make it easier for search engines to understand what each page on the site is about, which will help rank the page for relevant content.
To get the best SEO results on Baidu, you’ll have to host your website within Mainland China (Hong Kong or Macau). There are two primary reasons for this approach. The first is that hosting in Mainland China is a strong signal that the site is targeting the local Chinese market. The second is due to the Great Firewall, in fact, many sites outside of Mainland China, load much more slowly than domestic sites, and may not always be reachable.
Unfortunately, because of the multiple local laws, hosting a website in China is much complicated than in other countries.
Promote your brand on Chinese Social media
Remember there is no Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube in China. International brands have to understand that Chinese Social networks are completely different from those of many Western markets. More than 30% of millennials saying they engage with a brand on the social network. Brands must be fully invested in their social media marketing strategies and focus on engagement. Otherwise, They’ll lose out on real customers, which means serious effects on their bottom line.
Some common social media goals to consider:
- Increase brand awareness: In order to create authentic brand awareness, avoid a slew of promotional messages, and focus on meaningful content and a strong brand personality through your social channels.
- Higher quality of sales: Digging through your social channels is nearly impossible without monitoring or listening to specific keywords, phrases, or hashtags. Through more efficient social media targeting, you reach your core audience much faster.
- Improve your ROI: There’s not a brand on social media that doesn’t want to increase its return on investment. It’s important to performing a thorough audit of your channels and ensuring the cost of labor, advertisements, and design stay on track.
- Create a loyal fan base: Does your brand promote user-generated content? Getting to this point takes time and effort with creating a positive brand persona on social.
Through social media, the main goal is to attract and convert potential customers. With the development of big data systems, social media platforms promote their paid ads to help you target clients. many new social media platforms have been launched for the Chinese market. These platforms want to compete with the established social media giants in China: WeChat and Weibo.
WeChat has three types of advertising:
- Moments ads
- Official account ads
- Mini Program ads
Weibo is the second most popular Chinese Social media, it helps business target users according to detailed parameters. The difference between WeChat and Weibo is that WeChat is a private social network, while Weibo is a public source of information.
In general, Chinese consumers rely on recommendations from friends, family, and influencers within their social network when purchasing. Therefore, influencer marketing is big on Weibo.
Market with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
The power to influence consumer purchasing habits has been shifting from traditional public media to individual brand ambassadors. These ambassadors are defined as key opinion leaders (KOLs) or influencers. They have a huge influence on Chinese purchase demands and can be recruited on behalf of a brand for promotional purposes.
72% of brands in China indicated that they would continue to focus on social media marketing, while 63% revealed that they would enhance their collaboration with influencers in terms of product or brand promotion because they believe in the ROI from influencer marketing.
Weibo developed a KOL-specific marketing platform: Weirenwu (微任务). Brands can access Weirenwu to look for relevant KOLs to post their content. You can choose different KOLs with according to your target, budget, and strategy.
GMA Fashion Case Study Vita Wei
Vita WEI is a Chinese high-end, ready-to-wear clothing design brand. They mainly focus on quality leisure, everyday wear. “Vita” is a Spanish female name referring to ‘lifting the sky’ and the Chinese term ‘Wei’ means; “a vital force” or “life”. Vita WEI is the leading leisurewear designer brand in China.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency
GMA helps builds brands from nothing in China and build long-term partnerships, we are your international team on the ground and only start making money when our clients get an ROI(Return On their Investment) and forge to long-term growth in China. This is more rewarding.
We helped them to lift their awareness and reputation in the high-end market. They decided to opt for digital marketing solutions to raise their profile. GMA can help you to set up an online platform in China for selling your clothes. We are a professional in the Fashion industry. We helped multiple foreign brands to enter the Chinese market.