If you look at China e-commerce success as a puzzle, most brands (and individuals) come to me and they’re confused.
They don’t know what to focus on, so they have all of these different things they consider really important. Some people are focused on inventory and logistics and merchandising. Others are focused on ERP, some are on marketing, some on design. You know they’re missing the biggest piece, the most vital component…activation.
The missing link is your activation level. It’s the delta between people knowing about you and people buying from you; your brand strength. I’d like to leave you with a quote. One of my favorite quotes from Jack Ma: “When confronted with new opportunities, people tend to lose out in four ways: they don’t see it coming, they turn their nose up at it, they don’t understand it, or they’re too late to adapt.” Well, I can keep it really simple for you because I’ve seen it hundreds and hundreds of times. Focus on activation, focus on resonance, focus on strength, and you can’t go wrong.
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#China #Tmall #Taobao #Alibaba #eCommerce #Success #Activation
Customers maintain high expectations on delivery speed all year long…but there’s one exception to that: Spring Festival aka #ChineseNewYear.
This is the only time everyone MUST go back home even if it’s 2000km away. It’s considered a disgrace not to visit your parents during this time.
This causes a shutdown of #ecommerce because the majority of the couriers are migrant workers. They all go home so there’s nobody left to deliver parcels.
#SpringFestival makes #Taobao feel like a ghost town. Stores post notices saying they’re gone for the holidays and orders will only start shipping after the break when couriers return.
While brands can’t change the spring shut down, they can actively focus on Nian Huo Jie, the event just before Chinese New Year. #Alibaba initially created this shopping festival to help farmers get their products into cities before the end of the lunar year.
Therefore this event gives food categories the main spotlight on Alibaba, but it’s not exclusive to them. Nian Huo Jie would best translate to Christmas shopping, when people buy #gifts for family and friends. Even though it’s mostly focused on food products, with a bit of creativity non-food brands could create opportunities for themselves at this time as well.
#China #Tmall #CreateOpportunity
When I talk to foreign brands about the speed at which the Chinese marketplace moves, they often find it inconceivable. Companies that haven’t done business here have no idea the level of INSTANT customer service that Chinese consumers take for granted.
Let me give you an example…not too long ago my wife ordered a TV. We were living in Shanghai and it was Saturday morning. All of a sudden there’s a knock at the door. We weren’t expecting anyone, so I was curious. I opened the door and there stood an installation crew with a TV. I’m told them,” Oh, you guys must have the wrong address.” They were insistent, “No, no, no. You ordered this, you ordered.”
I was baffled, I hadn’t ordered anything, so I asked my wife if she had ordered a TV. She said “Yes, but I JUST ordered it. I literally JUST ordered it.”
They come in the apartment, set up the TV, set up my modem, my cable, my internet, my Apple TV, my VPN and Netflix. I was watching my favorite show on Netflix, streaming it through the VPN only two hours from when my wife completed the purchase. Two hours. Do you know what I paid for that? Zero. It was free. Only in China…
#China #Tmall #Taobao #ChineseConsumers #CustomerService #HighExpectations #InternationalBusiness #eCommerce #ConsumerExpectations
China E-Commerce: Your Category Can Make or Break You
I was recently talking with a friend of mine who had questions about the online market for beauty products in China. I shared with him a principle that applies to almost all types of consumer goods being sold online in China – your category often determines how hard you’ll have to work to succeed.
Let me give you an example. Through research, we noticed that home kitchen/appliances is absolute gold. It’s hugely underserved and is super-fast growing right now. We’re talking to a couple of cookware brands, and the nice thing about that category is that very few brands are selling these types of products in China. So you actually have way less competition, which makes achieving success so much quicker and easier. In the beauty category, the sheer number of brands coming into China & the level of competition makes it hard to win. If you were launching a new product in China, which category would you chose…the one where you’re up against five other brands or five million?
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#InternationalBusiness #China #eCommerce #Tmall #Taobao #Beauty #Category #Brands #Competition
A Little Known (Incredibly Successful) China Activation Strategy
I was recently asked the best strategy to ensure success for a new beauty brand with low awareness in #China. My team has spent a fair amount of time researching this, and we’ve found that people follow people who follow #brands. And Chinese #influencers (KOLs) who follow brands follow other people outside of China. So the biggest single source of #activation and influence for global brands are individuals.
One of the most successful strategies we’ve seen (and used with clients) is going after influencers OUTSIDE China that are followed by the most important KOLs INSIDE China. It seems like a very sideways approach, but I’ve seen it provide #results time & time again.
So you activate in your own country with influencers that matter to other influencers inside China. Then the Chinese KOLs begin following the new brands or the products that the Western influencer is using. This approach has the power to amplify word of mouth very quickly. Once Chinese #consumers see their favorite local #KOL using the product they want to try it and things begin moving fast. Need proof? A brand we used this #strategy with recently went from having zero sales in China, to 1/3 of its revenue coming from China within 2 years.
In China, there’s always opportunity…especially in times of chaos.
A clear example of this is the current situation in Hong Kong. It’s my home at the moment and I have several brand clients there as well. As tensions have mounted, the old paradigm of Hong Kong as a destination for consumption and tourism has shifted. The opportunity hasn’t disappeared, it has just moved inland. To survive, the brands have had to adapt. They’re shifting their efforts into northeast Asia and mainland China. Brands constantly have to look at these situations, which can seem untenable, but if you are willing to change you can find a way out, and often a way to be very successful.
One thing you can do is to develop “designer” relationships when it comes to China. Adjust your operation to compensate for constant change by avoiding putting yourself in inflexible scenarios, frameworks, and legal agreements that stick you in one place. Instead, focus on designing your business to allow you to move around and capitalize on change. This is huge, and doesn’t come naturally to most. We’re all afraid of change; we don’t want to deal with it. But in the end the ones that jump first always come out on top.
#China #HongKong #Opportunity #InternationalBusiness #Change #Success #Entrepreneur #Flexibility