Selling in China: 9 things you need to surf the Chinese eCommerce wave

 by anthony on  |
No Comment
Breaking into the Chinese eCommerce space isn’t easy. But with over 700 million internet users in China, the potential rewards are enormous. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, once said that “In the US, eCommerce is just online shopping. In China, eCommerce is a lifestyle”. So yes, there’s a lot of honey in the pot and if you’ve got the right knowledge, you can get your hands on it.

1. Localize your website
Speak their language, and speak it well by investing in a professional website translation. This will ensure your brand message is clear, understood and retains its original meaning. Also bear in mind that Chinese websites are louder, brasher and more colorful than your own. You’ll need to customize the look and feel by changing things like fonts, 
pictures and color schemes. You should also add a local payment gateway to make the purchasing process more familiar. AliPay is the most popular payment gateway in China, with over 400 million registered users and a 70% share of the market.

2. Make it mobile
Make sure the localized version of your website is mobile optimized. Why? 69% of smartphone users in China have made a purchase on their devices and mobile commerce in China is expected to hit $450bn by the end of 2016. All good content management systems will offer a mobile compatible option, so this should be one of the easiest wins you’ll have along the way.

3. Adjust your strategy
Like most countries, you can’t apply a single strategy and expect it to work everywhere. But this is even more apparent in China, where income and social differences are vast. For example, in 2012 a Shanghai family had an average income that was twice that of a family in the Gansu Province. So it's safe to assume customers in Shanghai will be willing and able to spend more. Adjust your strategy to target the region that suits your product best.

4. Offer discounts
Despite many cultural differences, one thing Chinese consumers have in common is their love for a discount. Forbes indicates that they will fight hard to get the best value for their money and spend a lot of time comparing prices and products. Offering only premium priced goods will put off potential customers and stop you getting a foothold in the market.

5. Provide information
Chinese consumers are voracious in their quest for information online. Use this to your advantage and put out as much relevant brand content as possible. This will allow potential customers to find you, review you and make the right purchasing decisions (read: buy your product). Your homepage needs to be tweaked to include as much information as possible straight off the bat. So include things like your main products, discount 
details and customer reviews.

6. Select the right social channels
Putting content on your own site won’t be enough to attract customers, you also need to leverage other channels. There is a huge opportunity to broadcast your brand across social media as Chinese consumers spend an average of three hours per day. But as with everything else, social media in China is just different. Most popular social channels that we recognize are banned, so your entire social strategy will likely need to be restructured.

Facebook and Twitter are replaced by Weibo and QZone, while Youku and Tudou fill the gap left by YouTube. Having a good e-reputation is also a massive plus in China and engaging with your customers across social media will help to enhance it.

7. Modify your SEO
Along with standard social channels, Google is also largely unavailable in China. The majority of searches come through a search platform called Baidu, which also requires its own SEO efforts. Keywords should be used both on and off your website for maximum effect. If you need a helping hand, Baidu also provides a keyword research tool to make things a little bit easier.

8. Host locally
If possible, host your website in China as it will load up faster and run much smoother for visitors. Chinese consumers aren’t the most patient and won’t stick around if your web page doesn’t load up instantly. A locally hosted site will also be looked upon more favorably by Baidu and you’ll stand a better chance of appearing in search results.

9. Deliver fast
Something that isn’t widely known, but is crucial, is the difference in delivery times. Same day delivery is common in China if customers live in one of the bigger cities, so finding ways to make sure you can meet these short lead times is key. As with discounts, your competitors will offer super fast delivery and customers will go with the quickest one available.

Final word
The Chinese eCommerce space is demanding, advanced and rewarding in equal measure, and the services you provide have to match it. This starts with your website, marketing and sales channels, all the way down to delivery. It’s also set to continue growing, with Chinese eCommerce value expected to hit $1.1bn by 2020. But before you jump in, familiarize yourself with the needs of the market to have the best chance of succeeding.

Not using Localizer yet? Start a 7 day free trial or book a demo now!


Leave a comment

* Please enter your name.
Email address will not be published
Please enter a valid email address.
* Please enter your comment.
Image Verification
'Please enter security code.