Are you a wine producer looking to start selling your wine online in China? If so, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we will share with you 8 tips that will help you successfully start and grow your wine business in China’s e-commerce market. Keep reading for more information!
Wine in China, a prolific market?
China’s wine market has been booming these last years: in fact, there was a 142,1% growth between 2007 and 2011. And this growth is expected to continue at 40% by 2016.
The country has already become the 5th world wine consumer and the 1st spirits consumer!
The market in China used to be dominated by beer and Baijiu (rice alcohol), but for several reasons, the market and the taste of Chinese consumers changed.
In fact, in the 80s Chinese consumers started to discover the international wine market, and their tastes changed. Moreover, the government wanted at a certain time to keep the cereals for the food, so they promoted grape wine.
Chinese consumers are also more and more caring about their health, so they prefer more and more to drink grape wine than spirits.
Wine and spirits are especially consumed during the festivals in China: Spring festival, Valentine’s Day, National day, 1st of May… They are also bought as gifts. And the gift tradition is very important in China.
So this market is becoming more and more important, especially online! They are a lot of opportunities for a wine brand in China. Especially for foreign brands, because of all the food scandals, there were in China.
But how to sell wine in China?
Selling wine online is a good way to have a lot of customers. In fact, with 591 million internet users, and 242 million people who bought at least one product online, e-business works a lot in China. In fact, you can now buy anything on Chinese e-business platforms.
So here are some tips to sell your wine online in China.
- Adapted website
You need first to have a website in Chinese, and hosted in China, for SEO reasons: Baidu, the leading search engine in China, doesn’t rank high in websites hosted in other countries or websites in other languages.
Your website has to respect also Chinese standards and Chinese taste: usually, there is a lot of information on the homepage, with small characters.
This is very important because Chinese consumers are used to searching for information on the internet before buying a product, because of the problems of fake products and food scandals. Word of mouth and internet information is then very important.
Moreover, for an e-business website, Chinese customers are used to having precise information immediately with the price, the product, and the details, without wasting time. Chinese consumers don’t like to waste time searching for information or during the payment process for example.
Foreign red wines have also a luxury image in China, so it is important to have a beautiful website with a luxury side.
Here is an example of a well-designed website
2. Search Engine Marketing
Then, when you have a good website you need to promote it on the Chinese internet. For that, you have to know that Baidu is the leading search engine in China with almost 70% market share. So you can advertise on Baidu with search engine marketing, or Pay Per Click, which means that you have a link on Baidu, on some keywords, on top of the page, and you pay when the users click on it.
SEM is especially efficient for short-term strategy. The problem is that sometimes it can be quite expensive. You can also do SEO, which is good for long-term strategy, and efficient when all your competitors do SEM.
3. Search Engine Optimization
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way to promote your website on the internet on some keywords without paying. Baidu SEO is special, and it is different than Google SEO.
First, you have to know that Baidu has its own websites and redirects 27% of its traffic to these websites: Baidu Zhidao (Q&A), Baidu Baike (Wikipedia), Baidu Tieba (forum)… It means if you want to promote your website on the Chinese internet, you have to be also present on these websites.
How to do SEO on Baidu?
SEO promotion consists of two main parts: on-site optimization and off-site optimization.
- On-site optimization: 20% of the score of search keywords related to the selected site.
- Off-site optimization: It reflects the popularity of the Website on Baidu which represents 70% of the score.
This is a long-term and methodical job that requires writing articles as well as increasing presence on the web to increase the credibility of the site for search engines.
- Keywords: the keywords need to be carefully picked. For controlling the budget and maximum coverage of the potential targets, a pilot SEM campaign is also useful.
- Title: The titles of the main pages are already optimized. However, the titles of new and some existing internal pages will be further optimized for new keywords.
- Image ALT Tag: The site contains a lot of pictures but most images do not contain appropriate ALT TAG, simple and positioned on a specific keyword. The tag is the small narrative of the photo when the user moves the mouse over the image or when it downloads the image.
- Forums: It is very interesting to talk on forums to increase the popularity of your website.
- Comments: Regular comments pointing to the URL of the site can help to increase the popularity of the articles published on the site.
- Interventions on other websites: It is recommended to regularly publish articles on other sites, blogs, and magazines … and include links to your site. This improves the TrustRank of the site on Baidu which is very low now.
- Partnerships: Try to establish partnerships with websites about the field in question. Contact these bloggers, and offer them interventions, link exchanges, or mutual presence blog roll always effective on Baidu.
more information on SEO China
4. Key Opnion Leaders
The KOL are people who have a big influence on the internet and on the population in general. They have a lot of fans, sometimes millions of them, and have sometimes expertise on a subject.
You can make your website and your brand well known through the promotion by KOL, which enables you to have a buzz effect with their followers. The aim is to make a positive influence on the brand.
You can offer these KOL interviews and articles, which they can publish on their accounts, giving positive information about the brand.
KOL is especially influent on social networks. You have to know that 95% of first, second, and third-tier city inhabitants have at least one account on a social network.
There exist in China several social networks, but the most used ones are Weibo and WeChat.
Wechat is an application very popular in China for instant messages services, developed by Tencent, the founder of QQ Messages services? It has already 236 million users in China and 400 users in the world. It is a very useful tool to share quick information about events or news of a company or brand.
Having an account on WeChat enables you to promote your brand via mobile.
You have to know that the advantage of Wechat is that it is geo-localized, so you can do localized marketing, and when there is a promotion in a special city, you can advertise only in this city.
Sina Weibo is the most important SNS in China, with around 88% penetration rate. It had more than 500 million users in 2012, and more than 50 million users active every day. It also attracted 130 000 companies. In fact, it is very important for a brand to have a Weibo account because all the brands are present, and Chinese users like to get information about the brand on this network. In fact, more than 56% of Weibo users follow at least one brand on Weibo.
Weibo is often compared to Twitter, but it is in fact different, and much richer: you can write more, and you have more functions.
To do marketing on Weibo you need to:
- Open an account with the official documents in order to have the “v” of “verified”
- Publish often some fresh content and updates. In fact, Chinese users like to have always new content and regular updates. The contents must be interesting for the users.
- Manage the community and interact with the users
- Do buzz marketing
- Evaluate the results
Here is an example of a good Weibo account: here
7. Press and Public relations
PR is useful to help generate content online on external websites. You can do partnerships with other blogs concerning wine, with journalists… Then these people talk about your brand in a positive way and publish an article about it. The purpose is to make your brand more famous and popular in China and to have a positive image in the country.
Here are some examples of blogs about wine in China: Zhongguo wine here
8. Buzz, video
In China, buzz marketing is used a lot because it enables you to touch a big part of the population. In fact, with 591 million internet users the information goes fast and spread rapidly.
It means that you need to find original content, which you will diffuse on the right platforms in order to surprise the internet users.
To do buzz marketing, you need to:
- Define the objectives
- Define the strategy and find the idea
- Create the buzz with the right tool: video, photo…
- Diffuse the buzz
- Measure the effects
A beautiful video is a good way to create buzz for example.
Fancy Cellar is a company that sells wine online and created a buzz with a video shared by Key Opinion Leaders. Here is the video:
The results were very positive: the video was viewed more than 30 000 times in one week, shared more than 6000 times, and there were more than 500 comments and 380 new fans.
These tips will help you to sell wine in general in China, and you can have more information in this article on How to Make Your First Million in the Wine Industry in China.