10 Oct How to Promote Your Business Online
China’s e-commerce sales are now the largest in the world. Data experts, eMarketer, have forecast that sales in the region will reach a staggering USD$1.13 trillion by the end of 2017. By the year 2021, they estimate that e-commerce sales will account for approximately 40.8% of all retail sales in the Chinese marketplace.
The rise of social networks like WeChat, mobile payment solutions like Alipay, and a solid foundation of security and trust, has lead to a “mobile-first” culture among consumers with approximately 75% of all digital sales occurring via smartphones.
With apps and websites offering the possibility to reach millions across China, there’s never been a better time to enter the market. In order to succeed though, you’ll need to research the marketplace and have a campaign that can stand out in an incredibly competitive market. Let’s take a look at the 5 steps to consider when looking to promote your business online in China.
Step 1: Create Your Online Store
Before any marketing takes place, you should have a destination for potential customers to visit. Building a store with integrated payment options that can accept Chinese currency (Yuan) will be key. As mentioned in the intro, China is a mobile-first culture and many people opt to conduct transactions over their phone. You should plan for this in your store design and implement the ability to pay via services like WeChat and Alipay. This will provide potential customers with payment options that they are familiar with and more importantly, options that they trust.
Your store should also provide affordable and effective shipping solutions for your customers. We’d recommend building partnerships with companies like SF Express, JD Express, and YTO express, as they are among the most popular and can offer 24 hour delivery in most cases.
You should also ensure that your store has localized content (see below), and an easy to navigate layout. This will help to achieve higher conversion rates once customers have click through on your ads. Poorly designed layouts and unappealing graphics/text, could result in minimal conversions and a high bounce rate.
Step 2: Localize Your Content
Localizing your content will be key to ensuring people can identify with your product/service. You should be aware of cultural differences in tastes and values. Beyond text and imagery, tone and attitude should be considered too. Demographics are not a one to one comparison to Western audiences, so take the time to explore the landscape and adjust accordingly.
When dealing with sales and customers, you’ll need to be aware of the local buying habits & customs associated with transactions (sales, promotions and returns policies). You should take the time to localize your customer service section to address any concerns your new customers may have in regards to your products and your policies.
Google is not the dominant search engine in China. Baidu is their chosen search engine and much like google, you can advertise on this platform. You should take the necessary steps to ensure that your ad descriptions are well localized and that your site content has been optimized for improved search engine visibility.
Step 3: Get Creative With Your Branding
It cannot be stressed enough, your product/service needs to adapt to its surroundings. Your creative ad campaigns for Western audiences may fall flat when presented in the East. Do your research into the market and your demographic. What products are popular among your target age range? What appeals to them? What tone/attitude speaks to your consumers most? Knowing this will allow you to build out creative materials that speak more directly to the cultural values and preferences of your new target audience.
Don’t fall into the trap of replicating your competition. Create something different and provide variations on similar themes. Customers can tell a copycat from an original, so be bold and try something different!
Step 4: Generate Traffic
There are various ways to generate traffic in China and multiple platforms to help you do so. The key here is knowing which platforms will provide you with the best access to your target audience. Sites like Qzone, tend to have a younger demographic and social media applications like WeChat, have a wider and more diverse audience. Familiarizing yourself with the marketplace and the various platforms will enable you to construct more targeted marketing campaigns.
The best way to get traffic is to buy advertising space on these social platforms and networks. You marketing efforts should be exciting, creative, and engaging. Something that makes the consumer click through to your site. Beyond that, you should give them a reason to stay too! Interactive ads, creative banner ads, and engaging video ads, can all captivate your audience.
Step 5: Analyse Your Data
In an effort to build upon the traffic you’re receiving, you should be analyzing the user data and traffic on your site. Use it to pinpoint bounce rates and assess how long/often people engage with your content. If users get to the product page but rarely click through to the checkout, what’s stopping them?
It’s in monitoring this data that you can start to make changes to assess the effectiveness of each move you make, allowing you to iterate and improve with each step.
- Create a Store That’s Able to Conduct Sales in Yuan
- Localize Localize Localize
- Get Creative and Stand Out
- Know Your Audience
- Advertise on the Appropriate Platforms
- Use Your User Data to Improve