We all know that the alcohol industry is one of the most lucrative markets throughout the world. But, in some country, it’s more lucrative than others. In China, it’s the case. Chinese people love alcohol and especially imported alcohol. It’s both a gift and a wealth sign and openminded. But breaking into the alcohol market in China can be difficult. But not impossible if you know how to do it.
WHAT YOU FIRST NEED TO KNOW?
China is the first beer producer in the world, with around 25% of world production. The production is mainly for the local demand with some beers as Tsingtao, Snow or Harbin.
Liquors are also really appreciated by Chinese consumers. Liquors are usually drunk of medical reasons as a treatment, but also very popular in business (especially during business dinner as a negotiation medium). The most popular of them is the traditional Baijiu.
THE CHINESE CONSUMER CHANGE
If at the beginning Chinese consumers only drink Chinese and local alcohols, today, they want to discover new alcohols.
Beer, hard cider, and flavored alcoholic beverages are dominating the Chinese alcoholic beverage sector. And in terms of spirits, baijiu, brandy, whiskey, and vodka have the highest sales volumes.
Due to the increase of the middle class, Chinese consumers have more money and they want to buy new and better beverages. That’s why foreign brands are more and more appreciated. Chinese consumers travel a lot and want to bring some specialties of the country they visited. But when the bottle is finished, how can you do? E-Commerce became the key for consumers and also for alcohol brands.
55% of Chinese alcohol consumers have started to order liquor online and young consumers plan to buy more alcohol products via the Internet. Because it’s so easy, cross border e-commerce platforms offer you a wide range of alcohol varieties. And that’s Chinese consumers are looking for.
CROSS BORDER E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS THE KEY TO SELL YOUR FOREIGN ALCOHOLS IN CHINA
Selling alcohol online has seen great results, and attracts consumers faster. With over 700 million internet Chinese users, 413 million of them have already bought at least one product online, indicating e-Commerce’s effectiveness in China.
Foreign brands are loved by consumers, it’s your competitive advantage. Use it! If you want to start the e-commerce adventure in China, three solutions are available for you :
The E-commerce Giant Platforms
I am pretty sure you already heard about Tmall, Taobao or JD? And I am also sure that you want to be on these e-commerce platforms? These e-commerce platforms are the giants of online commerce in China. Of course, it’s not easy to sell on these platforms. Most of them only accept brands who have already a significant presence and realized high sales in China. That’s why most of the alcohol brands failed to sell on the giants’ platforms, Tmall, Taobao or JD.
If you are a luxury beer or liquor brand or a premium beer or liquor brand, you can try to sell on Tmall and JD because the 2 platforms want to keep a high ranking and only offer to their consumers’ famous brands and quality products. That’s why they are so selective.
If you are not very famous yet, Wechat store is also good because it’s a bit more accessible for beginners on the beers and liquors market.
The 3rd Party E-commerce
The 3rd party e-commerce platforms are platforms as Weidian, Weixin Xiaodian (微信小店), Youzan 有赞 or Weimao (微猫) for examples.
These shops are really easy to open, to use and to manage. Perfect for beginners or small shops.
Build Your Own Website
You can, of course, create your Own E-commerce Website. If you want to accept the challenge, some marketing agency can help you.
But you need to know that it’s not easy to create your own e-commerce website and it can be very long. However, you are free and it’s affordable.
Now, you know that e-commerce cross border platforms are the key to develop your sales for your beers or liquors brand.
I will give you some keys you need to use to market your beer or liquor brand in China.
TOOLS YOU NEED TO USE TO MARKET YOUR ALCOHOL BRAND IN CHINA
The Chinese market is a very specific market. It doesn’t work as your domestic market. If you want to succeed in this very competitive market, follow our pieces of advice!
Chinese consumers are the population the most connected to the world. They spend an average of 3h each day surfing on their smartphone. They like to follow brands they like. It’s also the case for beers and liquors brands which are more and more consumers and appreciated by Chinese consumers in general (young and old consumers).
Liquor brands and retailers should increase their digital marketing in China, including placing online ads and engaging with consumers on the social media platforms they used, as 80% of Chinese consumers ages 20-39 go online every day.
Create a Chinese Website for Visibility
Yes, it’s necessary to have a Chinese Website. it’s both a website hosted in China (.cn) but also in Mandarin. I know that this first tool will discourage you but be brave, it’s easier than it looks. You can buy the services of a professional translator. Trust me, never use the online translator if you don’t want to create a scandal in China because of a misunderstanding.
You can also work with a native speaker in your team. It’s better because they really understand the desires and needs of their peers.
Your website needs to be hosted in China for SEO reasons. If you want to have a good ranking on Baidu, the Chinese search engine, you need to have a Mandarin website. If your consumers want more information about your beer or liquors brand, they will search in mandarin on Baidu. The keywords are obviously in mandarin that’s why you need to adapt your approach.
In addition, your website must follow Chinese standards and Chinese trends. The Chinese aesthetic norms are not really the same as usual. If Western consumers prefer a clean aesthetic, Chinese consumers want pages with a lot of information, written in small characters and many pictures and animations.
This is very important as Chinese consumers research information on products before they buy anything, to avoid problems such as fake products or poor quality. Chinese consumers want to have precision about your beer or liquor, the price, the production details, especially if it’s a foreign beer or liquor.
If you don’t provide all these details, they will buy another beer or liquor brand who understand better their expectations.
Social Media Platforms
As I said before, Chinese consumers are really connected and they love social media apps. They are used to share moments of their day to their relatives. It’s something really including in Chinese lifestyle. They also share their online purchase, to show to their friends what they like and how they are so cool especially if they buy foreign products.
Wechat and Weibo are the two most popular social media apps in China.
Wechat is a mix of Whatsapp and Facebook. On Wechat, consumers can do all they want: share moments, contents, pictures, book a cab, order food, do online shopping and pay. I don’t give you all the details of this amazing app, but if you want to know more about Wechat, you can read this article.
Wechat is a good tool for beer and liquor brands. Wechat allows you to communicate with your consumers and create a relationship. It’s one of the most important criteria in China. Chinese consumers want to speak with the brand they like. Be close to your consumers, give special offer reserved for your followers, do amazing advertising and they will love you.
On Wechat, you can create your online shop, you only need to create your official account. After that, you will need to develop a digital marketing strategy to generate traffic on your page. Wechat has also a good system to do advertising. It’s effective to touch your specific target.
Weibo, is a bit like Twitter but it’s better. Weibo allows users to publish big content that you can customize. It’s really effective for your beer or liquor brands, you can share quality contents about your products and customize your post to keep your brand image.
On Weibo, users are free, they can talk about any subjects. They are really present on the platform because it’s the first place where they can express themselves. That’s why Weibo is so popular.
If you want to gain visibility, social media app are the key for your beer or liquor brand. In China, image and awareness are important, don’t forget that.
IF WE SUMMARIZE
Imported beers and liquors are popular in China, you will not really need to convince your Chinese consumers to buy your alcohols because they already love you.
But, if you don’t respect their process you will fail. The Chinese market looks very easy for a lot of brands, but most of them failed because they don’t understand Chinese consumers. Without consumers, your brand can’t exist.
Highlight your foreign origin is your competitive advantage, but, you have to adapt your approach to succeed on the beers and liquors market.
Work with specialists of the Chinese market can help you to save time and money.
We are a specialist e-commerce agency based in Shanghai, the economic heart of China’s modern miracle. We understand e-commerce and the real methods for success in this lucrative market.
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