If you’re not a regular a WeChat user (like most non-Chinese people) then you’re probably wondering what all this WeChat stuff is all about. I gave a talk in the UK last month to a group of developers in Bristol, UK who were baffled that a shop existed inside a chat app. Surprising?
How do you feel about quick and easy sales? If someone had a map for us to go and find a place full of keen online buyers, a mere glimpse would be selling for a great price. But, hang on – we know a place…
Let’s be honest, China is going crazy for e-commerce right now in 2016 – and we’ve got some great news about those impulse buyers. But more about them later, let’s get into the big picture first…
Online Sales Rising As A Percentage In China
China has finally crossed the line into fully embracing e-commerce. The infrastructure, logistics, and business systems are now all fully in place to deliver goods much faster and cheaper than in America or Europe in 2016. It may surprise you to hear that Burger King pulled out of it’s original China entry, largely due to infrastructure problems. If you’re looking for a crash course in China for business then the book “KFC In China” is an easy read and a great place to start, charting the rise of the fast food chain beyond anyone’s expectations.
That was over 10 years ago. A lot has changed since, although the book can still teach you a lot. China’s road, rail and air logistical networks are now as good as anywhere in the world, so delivery headaches are a thing of the past. The figures speak for themselves…
In 2015, 13% of consumer sales were made online. That’s a huge amount of money in a country with a population of over 1.3billion people. In Q1 of 2016, data from Tencent showed a massive 27.8% rise on 2015. You don’t need to know much about business or economics to understand this massive figure is impressive.
Impulse Buyer Statistics Are High
As we all know, shoppers fall into different categories. What you’ll be pleased to hear is that 64.8% are “regular” buyers, but that leaves a whopping 30.4% who have identified themselves as impulse buyers. These are people who state clearly that they have no intention to buy, or know what they want to buy before hopping online and ending up making an e-commerce purchase.
How Can I Benefit?
Well, simply what this means is that if you open up a China facing e-commerce store, that you’re going to be looking at some impressive figures for what comes under the “easy sales” category.
If you were so much as considering setting up a China facing e-commerce business, then now is truly the moment you’ve been waiting for.
Why The Improvement in China?
5 years ago this was unheard of in mainland China. The consumers were still heavily preferring face-to-face purchases with a heavy mistrust of internet fraud and smaller operators.
Now that’s all changed. After a few years of proof that online shopping has improved, and is now quicker, cheaper, and more reliable than going to the shops (many online retailers now offer same day delivery), the Chinese consumer has seen a massive paradigm shift.
The Power Of Mobile For Impulse Buys
It’s not hard to understand that more impulse buys come from mobile users. Tencent’s figures show that around half of those purchases are made by consumers who are simply surfing online while out and about, with no pre-conceived idea to buy.
Which Way To Go For Growth?
I was asked recently about where this is all going, and how we should best prepare to maximise on this shift in buying trends in China. In my opinion the China buying behaviour is dominated by 2 things. The first, China responds much better to recommendations in social media in favour of traditional advertising, so this should be at the core of the action for smaller brands.
The second- WeChat – the ability to pay inside the most highly used and versatile form of communication in China is something that should not be underestimated. I’m now a part-time resident of China, and because I’m a WeChat user, people are asking to pay me professionally through the platform. Clearly an indicator of how things are moving in the PRC.
The growth of WeChat is largely unstoppable, and so looking into a WeChat store and learning how to market it is a smart first move.
What’s My Next Step?
If you don’t know where to start, the best thing would be to familiarise yourself with a few of our explainer posts on WeChat to get a better feel for how the app works and is used. From there, it’s worth looking into how you can fit your brand into the China e-commerce story. There is a lot to learn about how to navigate Chinese e-commerce either technically or legally, so if something doesn’t quite add up, drop us a message and we’ll clear it up for you.