Brands should also not overlook the development of brand-owned direct-to-consumer sales in China, even if active on big e-commerce platforms such as Tmall or JD.com.
As you know in China, WeChat is your Website, therefore DTC e-commerce should be implemented on WeChat. Chinese consumers are not using website for e-commerce.
WeChat is the leading platform in China with more than 1,2 billion monthly active users.
The main features are:
Official accounts which push feeds to subscribers, interact with subscribers and provide them with contents
Mini-programs are really apps within an app. It is possible to do business through a mini-program while users can enjoy other functions
Channels, the new feature of WeChat launched this year, where people can enjoy short videos shared by their network and other business owners
“A WeChat DTC business offers brands multiple touchpoints to engage with consumers proactively and repeatedly, maximising the lifetime value of a single brand,” says George Xie, Planning Head of CPG Industry at Tencent Marketing Solution.
WeChat has touchpoints spanning the entire consumer journey from awareness to loyalty, then brands have a greater opportunity to engage with and reactivate client profiles once they are part of the brand’s WeChat database.
DTC or traditional e-commerce platforms have both advantages and disadvantages, depending on business profile, brand milestones, range of audience….
Brands should not rely only on DTC or only on traditional e-commerce platforms, but develop a mix of both.
However at the time of China market entry, we advise to start with DTC only if you address the consumer market. It is cost effective way to test the market and start the sales.
With the development of cross-border e-commerce, WeChat shops are also a good solution to connect Chinese consumers with foreign brands.
Activating WeChat Stores
There are 2 ways to activate WeChat store, as explained below:
It is important for brands to create scarcity through campaigns and marketing initiatives to generate sense of urgency for consumers to shop on WeChat. They must give a reason to visit and shop directly on WeChat.
Brands also need to ensure that the quality of content on their WeChat Stores is proper to excite consumers. Besides making sure that the store is constantly updated with the latest campaign products, brands should leverage visually trending formats such as videos or animations on this channel as well.
It is also possible to launch new or exclusive products only on WeChat store to differentiate from other marketplaces. This is usually the strategy of some luxurious fashion brands.
Brands are also starting to explore other entertaining methods of shopping within the WeChat ecosystem, such organising raffles to give consumers a chance to purchase limited edition products.
Driving Traffic to WeChat Stores
One of the most effective ways a brand can drive traffic to its WeChat Store is through content published on its Official Account. A brand can push content directly to its followers’ WeChat inboxes up to four times a month, and these content pushes should be fully leveraged with relevant product links and calls-to-actions embedded within articles to drive consumers to the WeChat Store
Brands can also drive traffic to their WeChat Stores by designing specific user journeys.
And it is also possible to use advertising or other social media platforms to generate traffic.
For more information about the Chinese market, do not hesitate to contact us.
How to promote a brand and sell in China market is different from the approach in the western countries. You cannot copy what you do in western countries.
Branding is everything in China
Many consumers have been cheated with counterfeit products, fake reputable brands and domestic brands that are expensive but of poor quality; accordingly, they become cautious towards unbranded products.
Additionally, Chinese people buy brands not only for the functions they have but also to reflect their social status and improve how other people perceive about them.
Chinese consumers are willing to pay more if the brand can bring them prestige and respect among their social circle. Brand positioning should be first focus for a new brand in China.
In your branding, you need also adapt to Chinese culture and Chinese consumers behaviors. The localisation of the brand is an important step to succeed in China.
You need to buil-up your e-reputation to promote a brand
China social media users are far more active than in other countries and Chinese people are doing everything in their life with their mobile,
Also social media has a larger impact on the buying decisions of Chinese consumers than on those of any other country. If a Chinese consumer sees a product being discussed positively on a social media site, especially by a friend or acquaintance, they are far more likely to actually purchase the product than his or her counterpart in other countries. Peer recommendations have huge influence in Chinese culture, as formal institutions are less likely to be trusted.
Digital marketing and social media should be first step
Weibo and WeChat are two largest social networking platforms in China. They both have significant influence and play an indispensable role in life.
Wechat is the most powerful APP in China. It is the personal messaging app, social media platform, online payment tool, online shopping place and more; all included in just ONE app. For brands, It is a must to be active on WeChat to sell in China, Check How to open a WeChat official account?
Meanwhile, Weibo, similar to Twitter in western world, is a more open social media platform where users come to socialize with friends and new people, entertain themselves with funny, viral videos as well as discover trendy topics or hot social information.
How to promote a brand and sell in China market?
No matter which platform you choose to do your branding on Chinese social media, high-quality content that users repost or share is the most important element
Weibo is an open platform where even non-followers can view your Weibo posts and the posting default setting is public. In addition, everyone can also see the reposts, comments or likes
Therefore, Weibo is very suitable for viral campaigns or viral contents, which aim to boost brand awareness extensively. Unlike Weibo, WeChat is a closer community.
Normally, WeChat users can only see posts pushed by social accounts to which they subscribe. So your followers on Wechat tend to be more condense and targeted.
Besides, in WeChat, our contact lists are usually the people that we already know such as relatives, friends and colleagues; so we tend to be a bit extra concerned regarding what we share. Therefore, contents on Wechat may not reach a massive audience but can create powerful word of mouth effect.
Besides Weibo and WeChat, there are many other social media which can be also used depending on products and targets.
You need create engagement within a community
Engagement will be created thanks to WeChat interactions with engaging contents. Groups will be set up in order to make emerged KOC ( key opinion consumers) with time to generate more engagement from groups members. Interactive campaigns with games and giveaways are also quite effective in China to generate engagement The use of KOLs could also influence a lot the audience and purchasing decisions but it has become quite expensive. Livestreaming with KOL has become quite powerful in China
Then you can develop E-commerce to sell in China
Social commerce is gaining traction in China. This is understandable when social media is already a place for Chinese consumers to discover new brands, read reviews/ opinions/ experiences of other people with products and services before making purchases. The online shopping function of social media such as WeChat just makes the whole buying process faster, more convenient and thus the conversion rate of social commerce is very high.
The WeChat store is an e-commerce platform that exists within the WeChat app. Thanks to mobile payment, the WeChat offers on-click payment which gives smooth consumer experience.
WeChat has its own online payment tool – Wechat Pay that is very powerful in driving sales on the platform. Brands can open Wechat shops, which are linked to their social accounts to sell their products or services. These shops are very well-integrated with Wechat by using its interface, online payment, chat function for customer service, log-in and sharing functions …
Then you can enter the e-commerce platforms such as Tmall, JD.com, TaoBao if you are visible in China. It takes 1 to 2 years presence on social media to get enough visibility.
Tmall holds the biggest marketshare in the e commerce market in China at 57%, It mainly focuses on premium brands, but it also the most expensive marketplace. However it is the right way to sell your products after your brand has become visible, while keeping also social selling active to keep strong relationship with your communities
Do you need a website to promote a brand and sell in China?
Keep in mind that it is useless to use Google, Facebook, western website….in China due to firewall.
For SEO, you must use Baidu and you must have a Chinese marketing strategy.
WeChat official account will be your Website in China. It is no need on most of cases to build a chinese Website.
Do you want to know more how to promote a brand and sell in China?
Emotion Digital can support your strategy to enter into China market, help you to set up your WeChat marketing solutions and WeChat stores.
Benefit from our integrated Chinese social media approach with expertise on WeChat marketing to increase your brand awareness, boost and nurture your leads and sales.
Contact us if you have more questions how to promote a brand and sell in China, if you want to know more about WeChat marketing, how to enter China market.