You want to conquer the Chinese market and be considered as a super-rich quicky?
You recognize yourself in one of these statements:
- I just need 1% of this market…
- I’ll do the minimum and get the maximum!
- I just need the right distributor
- It works like this in other countries…
- It’s China, it’s going to be easy!
Well, you’re wrong.
NOTHING IS EASY IN CHINA.
Many tried and few succeed. China is a market that needs time and consistent efforts. It’s rarely easy…
I know you may think:
- Oliver, common! You’re pessimistic
- Oliver, you don’t trust in me
- Oliver, you’re a bad commercial. You should think about motivate your clients instead of discouraging them
[N.B.: I’m Oliver, founder of GMA and creator of “Marketing to China”.]
You know what? It’s true!
THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES IN China
China is not only the biggest country, it’s also the country with the most online sales in the world!
The country has from far exceeded Europe and will soon go ahead of USA, registering impressive figures:
- Online sales turnover: 20 billion yuan in 2016 (2.89 billion dollar)
- Forecast for 2020: Online sales turnover reaching over 5.8 billion dollar
No surprise that so many brands are willing to reach this market and get a piece of cake in term of online sales.
A DYNAMIC MARKET IN ALMOST ALL AREAS
- Cosmetic market: an average of 10% increase in sales per year, in the last 10 years
- Chinese luxury market is the one making the most sales for Luxury brands
- Sports market: a successful market for many brands
- Education market: The market in which Chinese parents invest the most
- Healthcare: When people get rich, they invest more in themselves
- Industrial market: China as the world manufacture
So, Oliver, what makes you think that Chinese market is not an easy market to enter?
If the Chinese market is the biggest and most dynamic one, you have to understand that its also the most competitive market in the world. You’ll find there ten, or even hundred times more competitors than in your home market.
About distribution: Strategic for any brands willing to develop themselves in this giant country, it’s also a very hard and complex system. A very diversified and secret system under the yoke of national protectionism.
Adaptability: either you’re rich and willing to invest MILLIONS to sensitize the market to your brand (such as Starbuck), either you’re willing to adapt yourself. Brands need to keep their DNA but in the same way to localize their approach toward communication and brand development.
In China, success needs time. Which could seem like a real paradox with its fast-growing economy… there are only a few lucky companies that manage to grow fast in China. You’ll have to do many trials, mistakes, and improvements to get into this market. But more than anything else, you’ll need to gain your clients’ trust.
To get their money, give them honey
Before doing any sales in China, you have to get their trust. Everything is going through the trust relationship.
If success should be resumed in one word in China, it would be “trust”.
What does that mean?
- Gain your client’s trust
- Gain your partner’s trust
- Gain your distributor’s trust
- Gain e-commerce platforms’ trust
- Gain your collaborator’s trust
In China, whoever you are, you won’t be trusted until you earn it.
How to be trusted by Chinese people?
Being in China since over 7 years, we worked out this question under any form possible. We did our homework so you won’t have to do so.
And everything starts by understanding the Chinese consumer.
A basic of marketing yeah. But let’s get into details together.
When searching for a new brand, what does the Chinese consumer do?
First, the consumer will search for information on:
Baidu, the Chinese google:
- Forums with customer reviews
- Press articles, comments
- Monthly sales?
- How many resellers?
- How many reviews?
Weibo, what can he find there?
- Official brand account
- Number of followers
- Brand interactivity
- Maybe you have an official account?
- If yes, what kind of content and followers do you have?
It doesn’t take time for Chinese to perform these researches. But following this, Chinese people will have a strong idea about:
- If they can buy products from you, or not (Customer).
- If they accept to resell your product, or not (distributor).
- If they would be willing to work for you, or not (employee).
So, what does the brand should start with?
A Chinese website ranked on Baidu:
- A nice website
- With a nice story
Example: Cocotea, simple but efficient.
A “baike” or Chinese Wikipedia
- Having a Wikipedia Baike would prove that you’re a real company
- People will trust your story
- Social media is a must-do
- Media that could talk about your story would be a big plus for your brand
- SEO on Baidu (get natural traffic)
Comments and positive reviews:
- Encourage buyers to leave a comment
- Use influencers to try out your product
- Answer questions buyers may have
Use Key Opinion Leader (KOL) which are also called “Wang Hong”. They are influencers.
These influencers are people that may influence many segments of the Chinese population. So naturally, if one of these Wang Hong talk about your brand to its community, people will start trusting your brand and won’t hesitate to buy your product.
However, you’ll have to be careful about your KOL’s choice. Indeed, the most famous one is not necessarily the best one for your brand. Your KOL needs to have the same spirits as your brand does, to target a particular segment which would generate new leads for your company.
Master Chinese social media.
Social media means popularity & credibility in China.
WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, etc. there are plenty of SM that could contribute to your brand notoriety but also to the acquisition and transformation of prospects into new clients.
SM such as WeChat are needed to build the customer loyalty you’ll need to bring them back to your point of sales or online store.
For more information, you can check our articles about social media in China.
What about the timing to get a good reputation?
To build a strong online reputation in China, you have to count around 6 to 12 months. Even double of it if you want an efficient one that would be spread offline. And without it, doing business will be complicated.
Once your reputation is established, and only then, your dreams of becoming millionaires can become true.
- If you develop an army of sellers, they’ll manage appointment with efficiency
- If you invest in your e-commerce platform, traffic will convert by itself
- If you prospect distributors, they’ll accept to distribute your products
- If your distributors buy your products, they’ll resell it and pass new orders
- If you launch notorious campaign, it will convert into sales
We are GMA, the Gentle Marketing Agency.
- A marketing Agency in China
- Result-oriented and performance based
- Smart agency, we establish the best strategy for your brand
- We help, lead and inform. Smile and coffee are on us