Western brands wanting to tap into China’s vast and profitable consumer base need to understand how this market works. Western principals do not apply, especially in terms of ROI.
With a population over 1.4b it’s easy to assume that China, and the Chinese market, will be simple to market to. However, that just isn’t the case. It’s more expensive, the ROI is lower and brands wanting to build a presence will need to work on awareness for anything up to 18 months. Consumers need to know who you are.
Chinese customers have become used to a level of responsiveness in retail that is unheard of anywhere else. They can easily purchase products from anywhere and they expect immediate customer service – if a customer asks a question at 2am they will expect a reply instantly.
With more than 60 social media platforms in China (many being quite niche) you will need to do your research. Find out which platforms are best for your brand and only use a maximum of 3 to 4. Influencers can play a major role in helping to get the word out about your brand which is great for awareness. In fact, Chinese consumers rely very heavily on recommendations. Chinese blogs are also able to help sell your products which are the only blogs in the world that can do that.
Newcomers to the market incorrectly assume that all Chinese consumers are the same. However, there are so many demographics all within the same country. Think of it this way – China has 33 markets, the European Union has 28 countries. You’re not going to market a product to someone in Germany the same way you would to someone in Portugal, just like the people in Shanghai have different expectations to those in Guangdong.
Consumers not only want foreign products, they want them tailored specifically for them. You will need to revise everything from strategy to products and packaging. For instance, if you sell beauty products include Asian models in your packaging and marketing, or even go as far as creating a line purely just for the Asian market such as whitening products.
As ‘New Retail’ draws near, consumers will experience drastic changes in the whole shopping experience. Imagine each consumer is surrounded by their own “cloud of data” with retailers having access to it. Your data (based on your purchase history) will drive the different types of information that retailers offer you, such as specials, promotions and deals while you stay anonymous. Your shopping will be personalised, right down to the price offered.
Right now, technology is integrating China in way that’s never been seen before which is set to redefine life beyond just shopping.
China Social Solutions is a Melbourne-based leading digital performance marketing agency. Specialising in Chinese social media, its team of experts have unrivalled experience in the AU-China market. Connect with us for enquiries, world-class Chinese marketing solutions and everything in between. www.chinasocialsolutions.com or 1300 469 667.