China is the largest e-commerce market in the world, responsible for an astonishing 50 percent of total global sales. Companies, both domestic and international, are looking for ways to sell more of their products in China, but how?
In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into some of the dos and don’t for selling in China. Once you’ve read this post, you should have a much better understanding of how to target and sell to the Chinese consumer and gain a foothold in one of the fastest-growing economies on Earth.
Do Sell Western Brands
Chinese consumers love Western brands, and with good reason: the local competition does not have the same exotic allure. But there’s a problem: much of the market for goods in China is tainted by cheap imitations that don’t match the quality of the real thing according to justsomething.co. When an affluent Chinese person orders a Rolex online, they don’t want something made cheaply at a fraction of the price in a factor just down the road.
This is an enormous opportunity for sellers looking to offer products to the growing luxury Chinese market. Chinese consumers want retailers that they can trust to deliver the genuine article, time and time again, without having to worry about whether their products are forged. Companies that can prove the provenance of their products will be able to stand head and shoulders above the competition.
Don’t Ship On An Individual Basis
Shipping to China can be expensive. And with domestic rivals like JD and Alibaba pushing the price of shipping down to the bare minimum, it can be challenging to work out how to compete.
Sites like Secureship.ca talk about how Western brands can make in-roads into the Chinese market without pricing out consumers. They suggest sharing shipping arrangements with other sellers from different industries, cutting the cost of sending goods vast distances. Companies find that when they use these shipping methods, they can sell their products at far more competitive prices.
Do Set Up In Smaller Cities
Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Tianjin may be the Chinese cities that western businesses know about, but that doesn’t mean that they are the best place to put down roots and set up shop.
The vast majority of urbanized Chinese people live in mid-sized cities. And many of those mid-sized cities don’t yet offer the designer or branded shops that the local affluent people want.
This is an opportunity for e-commerce businesses and even brick-and-mortar stores to provide a service where one is currently lacking. Draw up a target list of mid-size cities where consumers currently don’t have access to the products that you sell (if applicable) and then target them with trade links to your product. People in these cities are a captive audience because they have money but do not yet have access to competitors.
Don’t Neglect Social Media
Social media is a big hit in China, so western companies need to make sure that they have a China-specific social media presence. Chinese people tend to do their shopping in the evening, so you need to be on your social media account answering questions at 7 to 8 in the morning.