From Western Wonder to Fine China: How to make your brand suitable for the Chinese digital market
8 August 2018
Author: Jasmine Waters
Within the past year alone, total ecommerce sales in China have exceeded $1 trillion. By 2020, the transaction volume of imported goods purchased online will hit $245 billion, making the market unquestionably a place brands want to (and should) be. With a large population and limited access, how can brands open a new avenue into the world of online fashion, Chinese style?
Help your customers making the right choice
When it comes to putting your best foot forward on the net, considering how you plan to sell your products tops the list of priorities. Aside from going it alone, there are a few key players in cross-border platforms, such as JD Worldwide and Tmall Global. Both are similar, B2C models that allow for detailed expansion of product pages, catering to Chinese consumer comparison needs that go beyond that of Western ecommerce standards. If a product is not familiar to the market audience, it will need to be over-sold, explaining beyond its functionality and geared more towards look and use.
Weibo and WeChat are the most popular local platforms
Marketing also has the same differences, with content needing to be focused on local campaigns that are tailored to both specific market needs and customer impact. The likes of Western social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are outweighed by access to a more domestic environment, meaning building digital brand awareness in China can be quite the challenge. Sina Weibo is one of China’s most successful and widely used platforms with over 411 million monthly users, and is the go-to spot for consumers to find information on new companies and brands. The platform is also an important tool when working with influencers and celebrities, allowing brands to build local followings and increase consumer appreciation. For more established brands, WeChat offers all-in-one services from social media to mobile payments. Despite having over 1 billion users, the platform maintains a closed network environment, making it not as suitable for smaller brands without an existing following.
Our top tips for succeeding on Chinese social media
1) Working closely with Chinese-speaking professionals or colleagues will ensure your accounts can be routinely managed and updated (remember: no posts are in English so beware of miscommunication!)
2) If you working with Weibo, make sure to register – this process can take up to five working days once providing a business license and trademark certificate. Verification fees can differ for non-Chinese businesses, so make sure to be aware of them.
3) You can also register through a local agency, meaning the third party can verify the account as a Chinese business. Additional documents may need to be provided.
4) In terms of content, making sure it is always localized is the key to its success – avoid making your page look obviously foreign! Facebook is a great reference point for how content can be modeled and promoted.
5) Both online and offline marketing events can help to boost your brand recognition on WeChat.
As intricate and detailed as the brand building process may seem, the opportunity to test products in this extremely lucrative market is guaranteed. Despite more brands continuing to jump on the Chinese band-wagon, making sure your brand is always providing visual and transparent product information and targeting your audience will help to secure your online success on the other side of the world…