There are steps to do e-commerce in China. We can see the process like a funnel.
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Here are the necessary step when you want to do business in China
The first step is awareness, the step you can’t miss. It’s the one that will make your services and products known on the Chinese market. It is about introducing your e-commerce website. This is the step you have to do when you finish your e-commerce website. To let people find you, you have to work on the search engines like Baidu. There are two types of search engine strategies: SEO and SEM. SEO is search engine optimization. It’s a free strategy where you work on the keywords to appear on the first results of a search engine’s page. SEO can be done by a web marketing agency. SEM is search engine marketing. It’s a paying strategy. It will make you appear on the first results, but in a different way: SEM are sponsored links we can see at the top of a page or on the right of the results.
Social Media is another way to make awareness. Approximatively every internet users in Chinese is on the Social Media. They use Weibo, where can you write short articles, and WeChat, an application that allows you to send messages, photos and videos to your friends, and contains a news feed. To be famous, Social Media is a must. Everyone shares their findings on them, and it includes e-commerce companies.
To increase awareness you can be on forums. Forums are a good way to be known because you can comment, you can help people.
To put on the Social Media, on your website and on blogs you can do PR. PR is about writing articles on your company, publishing reviews and updates on different blogs and online newspapers. This will allow your potential Chinese customers to know more about you, your services and company.
To remind yourself to your customers, you can also do data marketing, it means sending messages, e-mail notifications to your new customers. It’s a personal way to contact someone.
E-reputation is the reputation on the Internet. It’s essential when doing e-commerce and in China especially. Consumers won’t go to your website and use your e-commerce proposal if you don’t have a good e-reputation. E-reputation will give you a good image and shows the future customers that you are reliable. On e-commerce business there is a lot of trust issues because someone sells an item to somebody he doesn’t know and this somebody gives him money without seeing the product in real. So people need to know if your site works well and if people enjoyed their experiences. To have a good e-reputation you can work first on the appearance of the website to make it attractive. You have to put users’ comments to show that other people used your website and that they liked it. You can use the KOL or key opinion leaders. The KOL are people on the Social Medias that give their ideas and opinions a lot about everything. You can work with them as they will promote you.
3. Create the need
To make more people use your services you have to create the need: create the need of using you and your services. To do that, a simple thing is to use ads, paper or videos. You can put slogans in them: slogans are a way to remind yourself of your customers. Testimonials are a good thing too: it will show people that customers that use your services can’t live without them and that they really enjoy your website. Positive comments will also show people that your e-commerce site is working well. Discounts to begin will push people to use your services, only because it’s cheaper than in regular times. It will create a need they didn’t have before.
4. Purchasing process
Now that you have your Chinese customers, you logically want more of them. A simple thing is to analyze the purchaser; where he comes from. If you know where your purchases come from, you will be able to target your purchases well. And you will be able to set up a custom campaign that will touch people like your purchasers. To do that, you can do analytics, social listening and buyer journey mapping. Buyer journey mapping will allow you to see what the behavior of your purchasers is.
Loyalty comes after you have a consequent number of Chinese customer. You have customers and you want to keep them, loyalty is the way to do it. To keep people loyal to you, you can send them a newsletter: it will keep them in touch with your novelties and make them not forget you. You also have to continue the activities you did during the awareness: the Social Media, the PR and the blogs. You have to give them the values of the company: indeed people like when they understand the company’s values, they make them closer to the company. VIP system can be good: in fact, everybody wants to be special, and being a VIP is a way to be different to the other. Providing benefits and special offers to see will make them want to be loyal to you.
The recommendation is the ultimate thing. Your customers will recommend you to their friends and will spread your existence and services to the people they know. This will bring you more customers.