China is a very digitalized society where brands and companies need often to collaborate with a third-party app to boost their activities. The catering industry also fell into the digital age, collaborating with food delivery apps. Since apps such as Meituan or Eleme have appeared in China, restaurants have to upgrade their online presence in order to remain competitive on the market.

This article will give you information about one of the most utilized app by restaurants in China, which is also spreading abroad.

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Meet the chinese leading O2O platform: Dianping

People often use the American company Yelp to present Dianping but actually, Dianping was created before Yelp. It was founded in April 2003, as the fist website providing independent consumer reviews on local services in the world. Dianping is headquartered in Shanghai, China, with established branch operations in 250 cities nationwide. Today, it is China’s leading O2O (online to offline) platform for urban and lifestyle services.

A review app …

Chinese consumers rely on Dianping app for restaurants searching. The app provides merchant information and a lot of consumer reviews. Dianping has more than 260 million active users per month. Over 100 million user-generated reviews.

Food and beverage are not lacking at all in China. Walking across china’s street, you will see restaurants and snack stands anywhere. Also, there is a huge competition on this market. Cities’ landscape is changing fast, with new stores opening and taking the place other shops.

but not only

Dianping also offers group-buying, online restaurant reservation, take-out delivery, e-coupon promotions, and other O2O services, covering local businesses in industries including dining, movies, lodging, entertainment, beauty, wedding, mom & kids, home renovations, etc. With its growing number of users, Dianping is becoming the most powerful online partner for local businesses.

In addition, abroad restaurants are also entering in this platform in order to attract more Chinese consumers.

Dianping is seeking to create a community

Dianping updated the version for its app for the sixth time within 3 months. People said that its main weakness is that users only go to Dianping to check information about a place to eat and then they exit the application while there is so many other features to use on its platform. This is also because customers are accustomed with other mobile apps for food and beverage delivering.

To catch the attention of users and help its app to become more valuable, Dianping is developing itself.

Learning from Xiaohongshu and Douyin

Xiaohongshu or Little Red Book and Douyin are two very popular apps in China. The first one is a app for sharing things of life. It includes feedback on products, small tips and it is a daily used app by a lot of Chinese consumers (an article will be writed later about Little red Book). You can find it on the photo, on the right Little red book’s platform and on the left the Dianping’s latest updated interface for sharing.

Chinese consumers spend a lot of time on social media app. Douyin is the hottest one in China. It is an app for mini-videos (like the American app Vines), to watch but also to create. Dianping is trying to add video sharing on its platform to engage its users and keep them longer in Dianping App.

“Fake restaurants” on Dianping

On December last year, Dianping faced some troubles by letting license-free restaurants settled in its platform. Actually, the restaurant used another one’s license to apply for a presence on Dianping. It was discovered by the real owner of the licence, who said “if there is troubles later, we will be the one to be pursued by the legislation”

This kind of case happened also before. Why are license-free restaurants allowed to enter in Dianping ? The main reason is that the online ordering platform does not strictly check the catering service providers. After the problem, it has removed the store from its platform.

How to attract Chinese customers in your restaurant?

As we said it, the competition is very important in the Chinese catering industry. Those who succeed, have to make sure three points:

Product Quality

This is an essential characteristic to ensure for food and beverage companies, especially in China. This is because of scandals happened in the past in the country, which have caused health issues for a lot of persons. It also generated fear among consumers and now they care much more about what they are eating.  The second reason is because Chinese are seeking for greater quality products and way of life. Bad quality or non-nutritious foods will be replaced over time by the most high-end ones. This is a trend in China which will keep going along with the country’s growth.

Brand reputation

Chinese people are very connected between them. They do not trust a lot in Brands but more in other consumers. This is also why companies are trying to create communities and go on branding strategies. Chinese social network helps them to achieve that, providing many ways to advertise and interact with their target consumers. But at the same time, the information spreads fast over the Chinese network in and Brands have to be careful of that.

GMA can help you to increase your visibility and manage your communities on Chinese social networks. Contact us to learn more.

Online presence

Actually, online presence is not only needed for the catering industry but for almost all activities in China. Dianping, has become an indispensable smartphone application for Chinese-speaking consumers. Whatever you are doing business in China or in another country, Dianping is the main app to consider in order to reach Chinese consumers.

You can make the difference with your competitors. As Chinese are accustomed with this kind of app, be present on it will naturally attract more clients. In addition, it offers them a better experience and it is benefit for your promotion in Chinese

GMA is up-to-date with the latest marketing tools in China and we can also provide help on your business development in China. Our agency offers a complete range of service for e-commerce marketers from e-commerce consulting to digital marketing operations, including services about Dianping and Meituan.

Feel free to contact us for more information.

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