China is ranked first in the global e-commerce market. With over 649 million Internet users, we are entitled to say that e-commerce is an extremely attractive activity in China. But even if the results are impressive, this market remains difficult to penetrate and represents numerous strategic issues for many brands!

The different steps of a mastered e-commerce strategy.

Here you are, your e-commerce site is finally online after months of hard work, you will be able to launch it on the Chinese market. But keep in mind that by creating your website, you have only realized 10% of your task. Because if you thought that creating a Facebook page, a service on Twitter and a Instagram account to post nice visual products and having a ‘Western communication’ was an end in itself, you are totally wrong.

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Your first step, and finally the most important will be to analyse your core target because with more than 649 million Internet users in China it is really necessary to target: the digital habits of your target, means of payment, their careers and their buying process on an e-commerce website, hobbies …

Once you know your customer well you can finally go to the heart of the subject.

 

SEO

In the midst of Chinese e-commerce sites, it is important for your website to be visible and to appears prominently in the search engine. Think Baidu if you want to hit your Chinese target, which holds more than 80% of the market. On this browser, to avoid penalties, know that the ‘Hosted in China’ is favored, so host your website and buy a domain name “.cn” written in pinyin.

Choose your keywords wisely taking into account the censorship setting up in China, also bet on a mastered Backlink technique called ‘natural strategy’: make the promotion of your site to get quality backlinks (and then have a greater SEO power) on other websites, blogs, social networks.

And finally, bet on your KPIs, as these are considered by Baidu. A good SEO is the guarantor of an enjoyable navigation experience on your website: create an attractive homepage and easy page navigation to make users want to visit your site and reduce your bounce rate, work on your site responsiveness (as 80% of Chinese people navigate via their mobile phones, if the target does not have a website designed for mobile that navigation, the consumer won’t retry the experience).

Social Media

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In addition to having an impact on your website’ SEO, a good social media strategy is a real challenge for the online reputation of an e-commerce website. Be aware that a Chinese user follows on average between 8 and 10 brands accounts on social networks, it is clear that consumers pays a lot of interest in the development of a brand on social networks. It may be because the promotion of a brand via social Medias will bring real added value to the brand. To build an effective social media strategy you need to : have the ability to create quality content with product photos, videos media content, consumer testimonials about the quality of products… On the other hand the consumer need to speak directly with the brand and thus create a bond between the brand and him.

 

The goal for an e-commerce website will be to reassure its clientele with the quality, the delivery mode of its products and to create a qualitative brand image, which is very important for a brand that sells via internet because consumers cannot test the products.

Regarding the use of social networks, it will be important to build on the Chinese social model and obviously on non-Western media: so forget about Facebook, Twitter, G +, Instagram that are censored in China.

You will have to get used to Weibo (defined as the “Chinese” Twitter), WeChat (THE mobile network “par excellence”) an instant messaging app with many various features such as payment account, geolocation, bottle into the sea, photo sharing…. And Qzone for more visual content (photos, videos, etc.)

Media Buying and PR

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Media buying can be interesting in the development of the online reputation of an e-commerce site where SEO is not enough. So you can purchase banners or keywords on Baidu to increase your visibility and traffic, but also if you want to communicate more qualitatively about your products implement pre-rolls videos on Youku.

The setting up of a KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) strategy may also be appropriate. Using Chinese opinion leaders on Weibo for example will allow your e-commerce website to gain visibility and traffic by targeting its core target and by the way gaining more and more credibility.


Offline to Online

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With the widespread use of WeChat and its QR code reader function, the offline to online is an interesting strategy to put in place for e-commerce websites. This may involve various forms: a simple promotional QR code on an advert to an experiential marketing by creating a real pop up store where products are organized on shelves in a digital tablet form, on which the consumer may move the product at 360 ° and scan the QR code to purchase the product on the website. The offline to Online presents a zillion of creative possibilities!

You now have all the necessary keys to a successful e-commerce website in China.

 

Further readings

More marketing in China news here 

More about social media here

The SEO war