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Have you ever considered doing business in China? If you have, then you’re not alone.
Over the last 20 years, international businesses have seen the Chinese middle class expand along with a growing economy. Now the demand for imported goods and services is stronger than it’s ever been.
However, the idea of selling in China is normally short-lived because most companies simply don’t have a clue about where to begin. The obvious challenges involve problems around language, culture, and business practices. In addition, there are a thousand questions about local tastes, legal issues, and barriers to entry.
As someone considering entering China, you might have business-specific concerns and you’d be right to ask questions and complete your own due diligence. As a company that has been based in China for a decade, we’ve become know as the go-to for advice on Chinese e-commerce and digital marketing. We’re happy to share some of our insights into selling in China.
So how can you connect your products with Chinese buyers?
Why Is E-Commerce Such A Big Deal?
E-Commerce is a global enterprise that has seen steady growth as more people buy and sell good and services online. According to Emarketer trend data, E-Commerce is expected to gross $4.058 trillion by 2020. This total includes purchases that occur domestically and internationally.
A Nielsen Connected Commerce report states, “Shoppers are increasingly looking outside their country’s borders, as 57% of online respondents in the study who made an online purchase in the past six months say they bought from an overseas retailer.”
This means that buyers are no longer stuck with local solutions that may not be an ideal fit or even worse, don’t even exist. Consumers are discovering their individual tastes and geography is becoming less of a barrier to getting what they want.
Below is a map showing the countries whose products are held in high regard by Chinese consumers.
Top Country Imports Preferred By Chinese Buyers
Goods from Canada, U.S.A, U.K, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand are assumed to be of high quality and attaining them reflect on the status of the owner.
If your country isn’t highlighted but is known for a specific industry, then your target market may need to be informed to properly position the product. A premium product can justify its price by taking on this additional effort.
For Chinese buyers, one of the most important selling points is an assurance that they are purchasing Certified Products.
Most Important Selling Points For Chinese Online Customers
As shown in the graph above, buying the “real thing” is significantly more important than delivery times, ratings, and packaging.
The world is well aware of the sheer amount of product “knockoffs” produced in China, so reducing this uncertainty removes a significant objection to the sale.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to offer proof and build a credible reputation as a trusted business.
Why Do Buyers Participate In E-Commerce?
A buyer can access an online store from anywhere within the world. An internet connection and an electronic device are all that is needed to complete a transaction, so a purchase can be made from the comfort of home or during a short work break. This level of convenience is being readily embraced by the consumers.
Informed Purchasing Decisions
Customers can have all the information needed to make a purchase decision. As business owners, we can set-up our marketing systems to educate and “sell” the customers on what makes our product the best option.
Price and Product Comparisons
Within minutes prices and products can be compared before buying. There’s no longer a need to walk into stores all over town to shop around – a simple price check on any product can be done online in minutes.
A business can overcome the buyer’s resistance by promptly handling customer inquiries related to an offer – the speed of digital communication can resolve issues and increase sales like never before.
Quicker and easier transactions
A check-out process can be setup to complete a purchase with one click, efficiently completing transaction within seconds.
Improved delivery process
Customers can request delivery to their preferred location without waiting in a queue with customer service. All important details can be provided within the seconds and confirmed on the final checkout page.
As you can imagine, buyers get a fantastic deal within the E-Commerce arrangement and will buy more if they continue having positive experiences.
In addition, needing to be home all day to receive a package is a thing of the past. Now, there is a global network of places you can collect deliveries from lockers or retail outlets by walking in with either ID or a pick-up code.
Why Do Sellers Participate In E-Commerce?
Lower Overhead Costs
Businesses can reduce their physical presence and run a more lean operation. Orders can be handled online, inventory reduced, marketing costs slashed and hiring only essential employees.
Sell Goods Around-the-Clock
Websites and online sales channels don’t have business hours. They are always on. Never in the history of the world has someone been able to wake up in the middle of the night and buy your products. Now they can…A well-designed website combined with dependable hosting are essentially all you need to make a start in the high growth driven market off online sales.
Communicate With Customers Anywhere
Any business on the planet can maintain a language-specific website tailored a foreign audience or rely on free language translation tools that aid in getting the message across. Access to your products and information about your business is now visible all over the world and communicating with customers from different regions is now the norm, not the exception.
Attract Customers Searching For Your Solution
Most online sessions begin from a search engine like Google, Bing, or Baidu (China’s biggest search engine). And if your website content is written to target search keywords used by your ideal clients, then your offer will be displayed to people interested in your offer.
These type of visitors are valuable because they actively searching for what you have to offer. At this point, it up to you to craft a relevant offer which appeals to the visitor. Do this better than your competition and you’ll convert the visitor into a paying customer.
More Control Of Your Selling Process
Successful companies take a systematic approach to building marketing funnels that take your prospects on a journey – educating about products before encouraging a sale. They present marketing that grabs the prospect’s attention and builds interest in the offer. The next phase of marketing then develops the offer and presents it in an enticing way to a qualified audience.
Common requests are to make a purchase, complete a feedback survey, or submit contact information for follow-up (leads).
Designing the systems require deliberate thought but once everything is set up it only needs to be optimized based on how visitors comply with your requests.
Key Trends Paving The Way For Your Product In China
China is constantly revealing new native services that perform as their version of popular global services like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. One major application of note is WeChat, it began as simple messenger application like WhatsApp, which is now integrated service combining messenger, social media, payment transfers, and now an e-commerce explosion which is happening as a daily activity on most mobile phones in every city in China.
There are studies reporting that it takes 4 times longer to text in Chinese compared to romanised languages ( that means ones which use the same alphabet as English) which only have a few unique alphabet characters in comparison.
Tencent, the creators of WeChat, has invested heavily in improving voice recognition technology. Chinese users operate their phone like a walkie-talkie to communicate an initiate search queries more efficiently. This is a big move for the future of e-commerce in China…
Customer Learning Software
The leading e-commerce platforms are using algorithms that match users with offers that align with their preferences or to bundle related add-ons to increase the total transaction amount. The online experience mimics an in-store salesman cross-selling relevant products.
For an example, a prospect walks into a store and asks for a specific camera model. The salesman confirms the camera’s availability, and before accepting a payment the salesman asks the customer if they would like to safeguard their purchase by getting an extended warranty.
Then the salesman gently reminds the customer they have in-stock a branded leather camera bag, lens cleaning kit, sturdy tripod, high capacity memory card, and a spare battery to capture every moment from the family vacation.
The customer willingly fills their virtual sales cart with everything they need to fully experience their new camera. The seller benefits by maximizing the sales amount of each transaction.
How Could This Benefit You?
E-Commerce is here to stay and more buyer and sellers are expected to participate because of the ease of conducting business. We recommend evaluating how this trend affects your business locally and abroad. You just might get lucky and find there is a profitable market abroad waiting to be served.
Are you looking to set up an online presence to target specific buyers or test the demand for your product or service?
Eggplant Digital specialises in designing WordPress Websites and WeChat Profiles for businesses ready to claim their part of the online market.