I have been dealt with some western brand owners, which they are all very interested in Chinese e-commerce market. Huge sales. Huge population, the number one market in the world, bigger then combine USA and Europe together. How could they not?
But sadly most them facing failure for some reason, I can make a list of this (ASOA, COACH, Burberry), it is hard to hear any of them succeed in China.
Independent store, Tmall, JD, can’t save you for this.
This article is not to explain why, but just share some fun facts about Chinese online shoppers.. Maybe you can figure out yourself.
1 They are more sensitive to your Web Design;
My company also help Chinese company doing e-commerce in western Market. Most of them doing well actually ;>
So I found a very interest thing is an ugly store still selling well in the western market. You can change the design make it better if you want, but it’s doesn’t affect their sales so much.
But I have never seen an ugly Chinese store selling well. Every successful store has a very professional design and photograph. In most of the Chinese e-commerce company there is a job called “美工”, this is a very important position, it’s kind of like “designer” but not really the same, most of the people consider “designer” is about usability design and looking, but in China, it only means “looking”, because most of the Chinese seller selling in Taobao, Tmall.. Usability is controlled by platform. but their boss still pay 7K~20K month to keep this position. so you can see how important it is. Usually, the “美工” is skilled Photoshoper and they organize all the descriptions, makeup them with some icons or images.
I think the reason is Chinese’s language is a square character make Chinese like read well-displayed content…
2 They are more care about the relationship with the seller.
At the beginning of my business, I was very surprised are we helping Chinese company made a store selling to western. Western just buy it online without any communication with the shop owner. The western customer just trusts it….
Well in China, it doesn’t work this way, if the shopper first time knows you, and they like what you selling. Before they made the purchase, they will send you a message on “wangwang”. (It’s an IM made by Alibaba, similar with QQ,).
The funniest thing is, they usually asking some very simple questions even silly questions… like:
“How long does it take to delivery to my home”, “do you have the size XL”, “is that item available”,
Or even weird questions:
“It’s really made by real “cow leather…”
Well, you definitely put all the details on your well-designed descriptions. But they still to ask you! And waiting for you to confirm on Aliwangwang,
Usually, the online customer service girls well send the message back like” “yes darling, it’s really made by real cow leather…I swear!” Yea they do call the customers “darling”… so they made the sell.
They are millions of conversions like this happening every day in Taobao, such a waste of time. You always saw a bunch of online customer service sitting there until the middle of the night in the e-commerce companies. I can’t believe it, just a booking process takes so many human hours to handle. It should be automatic without any real human….
But now I changed my mind, China is a developing county, the people need more trust from each other, they talk to you it not because something they lack awareness, they just want to build a relationship with you. Because in deep inside of Chinese, they think they don’t cheat each other’s on their face or cheat a people who talked to you
Chinese society is a typical Friendship Society, Chinese people are very kind to their relatives and friends, or to those who are familiar with them, but not the people they don’t know. Chinese more care about their private morality, not public morality.
3 They are hard to accept new things (brand)
I’m not talking about the people who live in big cities. I’m talking about the Majority, they afraid to try new things, they don’t even want to know what it is. How can they buy your products?
So when you do the marketing, you have to make your brand connected with something which they already knew. So it’s no surprise in those years, all the successful new brands in China pay for some celebrities to present their products. Celebrity endorsements are happening everywhere. But in China is the most powerful weapon.
You can find Yao Ming endorsements a fish-oil brand, (when the Yao Ming becomes an oil expert? I thought he is basketball player.. ) its sounds ridicules, but it works! So the people starting to pay attention to your things…. then they decide to believe what you’re saying about your products or not.
The funny part is it’s not that hard to gain Chinese customer’s trust since them staring pay attention to you (much Easier then Western). They don’t want to spend too much brain, you just need to keep saying what you say, repeat again and again, and they start to believe.
They don’t do too much logic thinking…. I guess this is another part of culture things. If you want to be a bad seller, you can win in China (but I don’t suggest you do that.)
but you could say I don’t have so much money to get Yao Ming. well, you are lucky, now they are influencers actively promote products for business. They have a certain group of Subscribers for all the industry. Go find them is easy and cheap, so even you don’t speak a single word of Chinese, you still can doing well in China. The new marketing channels in China only happening those years. When the WeChat and MoMo, Weibo, Douyin, Kuaishou, app widely use before this, if you want to do business in China, you gonna need hire Chinese employees and set up a Chinese company in Shanghai or somewhere.
4 We shopping products overpriced for us to increase our influence.
Now we are on a serious topic.
All the luxury brands benefit for this for so many years…which they don’t want to admit.
It’s not even worth a saying, shame to me as well, you can find so many strange things in China.
3K RMB monthly paid staff spent 6K to get a new iPhone, and they spent 500RMB rent a shitty room for living. Spent 20 RMB one day for food…
5K monthly paid lady spent 30K on the luxury bag, which is his saving for years…
A county farmer spent 20K get a nice car, spent half-life saving… even they live in a small town and only drive once a year.
We do have so many national brands like Xiaomi, Chery, and we have thousands of bag manufacturers (come on this is CHINA factory of the world). You can get a nice phone for 1k, a quality bag for 200, a kickass car for 50K… But why are they so stupid I read news about a guy sold her kidney to buy an iPhone.
Don’t think too much, you are facing a nation who has grouped desire expansion people. The similar things happened in Japan and Korea in the 1970s as well.
So you may brand your product to delivery more Superficial advantage value to the customer a long history, a special lifestyle, a high-level group, limited Qty. A path to the higher class of sociality.
added on 2018/12
Things are changing so fast, the Chinese getting more rationalization in those years.