Why Do Chinese Consumers Refuse to Buy Directly on Your Website?

You have a shop in China but… nobody buys… Your competitors get orders but you don’t? Well, this article will tell you why. On the back of solid development in households in terms of wealth and income in China, retail spending has been one of the sparkling lights for the Chinese economy generally.

The pace of development, regardless of what strategy was used to estimate it, has been marvelous since the turn of the century. A general classification of purchase action where buyers request and pay for items and services carefully is developing in China.

This is putting more weight on retailers as they attempt to adjust to shoppers’ undeniably mobile-focused purchase practices, spending habits, and higher desires.

Chinese eCommerce Market Overview

The e-shop industry in China has experienced rapid growth and development in recent years. With a population of over 1.4 billion people and a rapidly expanding middle class, China has become the world’s largest e-commerce market. The rise of e-shops, also known as online shopping platforms, has revolutionized Chinese consumer spending patterns and interactions with brands.

Chinese consumers, particularly those between the ages of 20 and 35, are generally well-educated and tend to prioritize quality over low prices. They save less and spend more on leisure activities compared to wealthier consumers and their parents.

Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in the Chinese consumer market, and major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen are the main areas of high consumption due to their high per capita income and purchasing power.

Also, the one-child generation’s elite with rising incomes has high aspirations for a comfortable life and is not hesitant to spend on various things such as education, luxury items, travel, leisure activities, and consumer goods. This trend is particularly prominent in big cities.

Most Popular eCommerce Platforms in China

One of the key players in the Chinese e-shop industry is Alibaba Group, which operates the popular platforms Taobao and Tmall.

Taobao is a Chinese consumer-to-consumer marketplace where individuals can buy and sell a wide range of products, while Tmall is a business-to-consumer platform that hosts official brand stores. These platforms offer a vast array of products, from clothing and electronics to cosmetics and home appliances.

Another major player in the Chinese e-shop industry is JD.com, which is known for its focus on electronics and home appliances. JD.com operates its own logistics network, ensuring fast and reliable delivery to customers across the country. The company has also invested heavily in technology, including the use of drones and autonomous delivery vehicles.

In addition to these giants, there are numerous smaller e-commerce platforms catering to specific niches or targeting specific demographics or Chinese consumption patterns. These platforms offer a more specialized shopping experience and often focus on unique or niche products.

What is driving the demand on Chinese eCommerce platforms?

The growth of the e-shop industry in China has been fueled by several factors. Firstly, the widespread adoption of smartphones and internet connectivity has made online shopping more accessible to a larger population.

Secondly, the convenience and competitive pricing offered by e-shops have attracted young consumers looking for a hassle-free shopping experience. Lastly, the rise of social media and influencer marketing has played a significant role in driving Chinese consumer engagement and brand awareness in the e-shop industry.

Overall, the e-shop industry in China continues to thrive and evolve, offering consumers a wide range of products and services at their fingertips. With continuous innovations and advancements in technology, the future of the e-shop industry in China looks promising, with even more convenient and personalized shopping experiences on the horizon.

Number of online shoppers in China from 2012 to 2022 (in millions)

The graph shows the cumulative number of online shoppers in China from 2012 to 2022. As of December 2022, about 845 million people in China had purchased goods online.

How to adapt to the needs of the Chinese Consumer market?

Mobile-friendly website is a must in China

One range where the move toward action is changing buyers’ action is their utilization of cell phones when shopping in physical stores. The proportion of mobile payments in China reached 86%, and the penetration rate ranked first in the world.

More Chinese consumers like to use their cell phones to read about items and service information, compare prices, and check reviews. The rising usage of smartphones pushes retailers in China to confront clients with less tolerance for mistakes.

Branding is everything

In China, if many Chinese consumers don’t know your brand, they will never buy your products. Maybe you have already heard of those scandals that happened in China. It is because of them that Chinese people are very suspicious of unknown brands.

If you want to sell your products, then work on your branding. There are many ways to promote your brand awareness, such as social media. But pay attention to the fact that those famous social networks overseas are all blocked in China.

So if you want to use social networking strategies, you have to use WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, etc.

KOL marketing for perfume in China

KOL marketing is also very popular and very efficient in branding. Choosing a good KOL that represents well and suits the brand’s value and concept is primordial for your branding.

Online shopping needs to be convenient

Buying products from the comfort of your own front room unquestionably is more helpful than really heading to a store while presenting a practically unlimited order of choices and the capability to compare costs. Especially during the COVID-19 epidemic, online shopping became more popular than ever in China.

Online security technology has progressed significantly, and the logistics systems in China are well-developed, in the majority of cities, command online can be delivered in only 3 days.

35.3% of China’s retail sales occur online and mainland China represents around more than half of the world’s e-commerce. E-commerce is extremely popular in China for its big convenience.

Laneige flag shop on Taobao, China’s largest commerce platform

When shopping on Website, there is no safety net

Quality, the right item, and delivery accuracy are some of the fundamental issues in shopping on the web. After getting the delivery of the item you may come to realize that you have obtained the wrong item.

The size which you chose is not according to your necessity or you may have picked the wrong size. Likewise, the color of the item bought may be different from the genuine item and you dislike it.

At times the nature of the item may likewise not be according to the standard or according to the cost insightful. At any rate, you can replace the item and can request cash back yet again you need to pay the shipping cost.

So Chinese digital customers are afraid to face these problems, so they use their cell phones to compare prices and read reviews about
product quality and services.

Missing item information is harmful to your business

Buyers hate managing returns as much as retailers or brand producers do. They decline to purchase an item on the web if they can’t catch it mentally or can’t envision how it will look once it’s unpacked.

No detailed item data that address the customer’s inquiries regarding an item is a critical mistake. It lessens your reliability and triggers your guests to leave your store in a hot second.

Therefore, try as much as possible to provide your customers with details about your products. Only in this way, you can remove their doubt when they’re viewing your products so that you can get a high conversion rate.

Absence of Customer Support & Live Chat

Chinese consumers prefer online shops equipped with immediate customer service. They like to ask questions and get quick responses. So pay attention to your customer service and customer support.

Still, numerous sites don’t give appropriate client support after sales or while doing web-based shopping. While shopping clients may be stuck in the middle of or may get confounded about the size of the item and might need to talk about however there is no snappy support given by the sites.

At least they should give a phone number that the client can contact instantly or an online visit should be accessible. Online stores give email addresses yet it is not sufficient as you may not get the answer quickly or may not get the answer at all. Moreover, Chinese people don’t like using email.

Security is essential for online shopping

There are some website-based shopping, that may not be secure, and they may offer the items effortlessly yet may gather your card payment and personal information. So Chinese abstain from going shopping on sites that are not licensed.

Firstly, you can get a license in China for your website so as to convince the audience that you are reliable. Then provide them with mobile payment solutions that they are familiar with.

Have a website, but not only

In order to be more trustworthy, you need your own website. Even though younger generation will not buy your products directly on your website – they prefer to shop on those popular e-commerce platforms, such as Tmall, JD-  your website can serve as a portal between you and your audience.

You can launch new products, provide products information, educate your viewers, etc on your website. Having a website authentic can make you more reliable and promote your brand awareness via Baidu SEO, China’s largest search engine.

Chinese website for Decathlon

However, keep in mind that your website should be in Chinese Mandarin if the China mainland is your targeted market.

Moreover, it is important that your website design and content cater to Chinese consumers, and the server that hosts your website should be in China or nearby so that users can have fluent access to your website.

Baidu SEO to boost your website visibility and reliability on the Chinese internet

If you have ever done Google SEO, it’s for sure that you know how powerful it is SEO & SEM campaigns.  Just like Google, China has its own search engine, because Google is blocked in China by the Chinese Great Firewall.

SEO strategies can help you to boost your brand awareness and brand credibility. It is known that China’s consumers like to search for information before making purchasing decisions. If you can be ranked in a good place in those search engines where they go for finding answers, you are catching their eyes.

Baidu, with around 70% of the total search engine market share, is no doubt the leading role in China. There are also many other search engines in China, such as Sogou or Shenma.

The Influence of KOLs

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) have a significant influence on the e-shop industry in China. With the rise of social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat, KOLs have become trusted voices in the online community.

Their expertise and credibility in specific niches make them valuable assets for e-commerce brands. KOLs can greatly impact consumer behavior by promoting products, sharing reviews, and providing recommendations. Their ability to connect with their followers on a personal level helps build trust and drives sales.

Many e-shops in China collaborate with KOLs to leverage their reach and influence, resulting in increased brand awareness and customer engagement. The influence of KOLs in the e-shop industry in China is undeniable, and their role is expected to continue growing in the future.

For example, Li Jiaqi, also known as “Austin Li” or “Lipstick King” gained popularity through his live streaming sessions on various e-commerce platforms, where he would showcase and promote beauty products, particularly lipsticks. Li Jiaqi’s entertaining and informative live streams attracted millions of viewers, and his recommendations led to a surge in sales for the products he endorsed.

His influence and expertise in the beauty industry have made him a trusted figure among Chinese consumers, and many local brands and foreign brands seek his endorsement to boost their sales in the e-commerce market.

Case Study

Taobao is an online marketplace owned by Alibaba Group and is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in China. It was launched in 2003 and quickly gained popularity due to its wide range of products, competitive prices, and user-friendly interface.

One of the key factors contributing to Taobao’s success is its unique business model. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Taobao allows individuals and small Chinese companies to set up their own virtual stores and sell products directly to consumers.

How to sell on Taobao - statistics

This has created a vast and diverse product selection, attracting millions of buyers and sellers.

Another factor that has helped Taobao succeed is its focus on customer engagement and trust in the Chinese market. Taobao implemented a rating and review system that allows buyers to rate and provide feedback on sellers and products. This helps to show consumer preferences, to build trust among users and ensures a high level of customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, Taobao has continuously improved its platform by introducing innovative features. For example, it integrated social media elements, allowing users to share their favorite products with friends and followers.

Korean Cosmetics Taobao

It also introduced live streaming and interactive features, enabling sellers to showcase their products in real-time and engage with potential buyers.

Taobao’s success can also be attributed to its effective marketing strategies. It has collaborated with popular influencers and celebrities to promote its platform and products, leveraging their large followings to reach a wider audience.

Additionally, Taobao offers various promotions and discounts during major shopping events like “Singles’ Day,” which further boosts its sales and attracts more customers.

We are your local partner in China! Contact us!

The e-shop industry in China has experienced significant growth and success in recent years. With a large population and increasing internet penetration, Chinese consumers have embraced online shopping as a convenient and efficient way to purchase a wide range of products.

E-commerce giants like Alibaba and JD.com have established themselves as dominant players in the market, offering a diverse selection of goods and services.

The industry has also been fueled by advancements in mobile technology and payment systems, making it easier for consumers to shop on-the-go. Overall, the e-shop industry in China is thriving and continues to evolve, offering exciting opportunities for both businesses and consumers.

In the Gentlemen Marketing Agency (GMA), we are 70+ digital experts passionate about social media in China. We love to build impactful strategies and content to reach the Chinese on WeChat, Little Red Book, Douyin, Weibo, and many more.

If you have a specific project in China, you should include social media wisely. You should start with branding before moving to e-commerce.

You can contact us to find the most suitable option for your project in China! Let’s start today!

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