A new type of female consumer 3.0
We notice a change in the Chinese consumption. A new type of consumer has emerged: the social consumer or also called 3.0. If there are a minority in the Western countries, there are very present in China. Internet becomes a necessary and indispensable tool if you want to learn about a brand or a product.
So before purchasing a product or a service, social consumer will seek information on the Internet. He will use social media, reviews and comments from previous clients, check on forums the company’s reputation and even ask to its virtual network by posting questions on his profile.
If you are a foreign company wishing to set up in China, you need to know what influences Chinese consumers when making purchases and what are the channels they use the most. Therefore, you will be able to control information, the image of your brand and know the best ways to sell your products online.
The most influential channels
The social consumer will initially use the results of search engines such as Baidu (80% market share). This is why having a good ranking on Baidu is paramount. If you appear in the first few pages thanks to a series of keywords that match your products and services without being too popular, you’re more likely to have buyers than if users come across your site after a advertising and have no intension to buy in the first place.
Thanks to a SEO or SEM campaign, you will have the opportunity to gain visibility and therefore target your customers. But be aware, SEO on Baidu is not the same as it is on Google. It is more complex and requires more competencies. The site must be hosted in China, adapt Baidu standard and algorithms. Many companies based there can help you launch your company in the sector though.
Thereafter, the brand websites are searched. Consumers who know exactly the brand they wish don’t lose their time and go directly to the source. The press articles, as well as Press Relations are also a channel through which consumers go for information. Online ads and commercials are also particularly used but nevertheless, those customers are not necessarily interested in your product, they stay often only a little bit on the page if they did not seek for it in the first place.
Finally, the comparative websites are very successful in China. Chinese consumers are extremely influenced by the price. It is the reason why buying online is highly developed in the country. They prefer to compare with this tool. E-commerce platforms has emerged the past ten years in China and have now become very powerful. Some of them are part of the richest companies in China.
The power of e-commerce platforms and their community
Some websites must be known if you want to settle down your company in China. Not as rivals but as helpful tools. These sites do not sell, they host brands and allow them to sell directly to Chinese consumers. A bargain is not it? They also have a huge community that is already confident with the products and brands on its pages.
These sites, such as Jumei, which is the reference in the cosmetics industry, also allow consumers to express their views on brands or products they bought. Thus, it gives consumers an idea of what they want to buy in the first place. These forums influence a lot in the purchase decision.
Control your image, opinions and comments that are being told on your brand or product is essential. Whether it is on forums, in articles but also through SNS blogs, you must, at all costs, have an excellent online reputation. When a SNS blogger, who has more than a hundred thousand followers posts a picture of her and says she loves the new Chanel lipstick, you can be sure that the brand will make sales that day.
Ereputation ; a lack of trust towards brand
Because of counterfeiting, which is very present in the country, and countless scandal about fake quality product, people no longer have confidence in brands. Chinese are turning to each other to learn more. Whether through word of mouth or IWOM, you just need to have a clear positioning and if possible a community manager to help you to protect and control your image and e-reputation.
In a society increasingly governed by electronics and waves, companies and brands need to adapt to consumer’s trends and habits that keep changing. To encourage users to continue to shop in real store and interact with the living world, the Online-to-Offline marketing strategy (O2O) is starting to become popular.
Very good content! Going global with a 360° digital marketing strategy seems to work here. China is a difficult market for foreigners but it is possible.
Nice article, my CHinese girlfriend spend really 30min online before buying any cream and specially user reviews.
Large depends on the business and the segment you are in, however my rough “over the thumb” rule is, if you are selling it in China, you need to be here for that portion. If you export 90% of your goods, this means that by now you are probably in the wrong place. 🙂