Selling Imported Beer online in China have been working great for the last couple of years. It is an excellent way to attract customers faster than with traditional media. 413 million of 700 million internet Chinese users, already bought at least one product online, indicating e-Commerce’s effectiveness in China. We all know that the Beer industry is one of the most lucrative markets in the world and in some countries, it’s more lucrative than in others, especially when talking about China. Chinese people love alcohol and have a huge appetite for imported Beers. Imported beer serves both as a gift and symbol of wealth and an open mind. The competition however is fierce but with a smart digital marketing strategy, you’ll be able to tackle this obstacle.
What do you need to know about the Beer market in China?
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China is the first beer producer in the world, with around 25% of world production. The production is mainly for the local demand with some beers as Tsingtao, Snow or Harbin.
Liquors are also really appreciated by Chinese consumers. Peoples would usually drink liquors as a treatment to solve medical issue, but are also very popular in the business area (especially during business dinner as a negotiation medium). The most popular of them is the traditional Baijiu.
The rise of premium beer in China boosts small brewers
If at the beginning Chinese consumers only drink imported and local alcohols, today, they want to discover new alcohols. Beer, apple cider, and flavored alcoholic beverages are dominating the Chinese alcoholic beverage sector. Looking at the sale volume we see that baijiu, brandy, whiskey, and vodka are leading the market.
The popularity of foreign alcoholic beverages is increasing at the same time as the buying power and education level of Chinese consumers. Peoples are more open-minded, more educated, more willing to try new things, travel more, etc…
The good thing, foreign beverages are lucky enough to have a good reputation. Wine is associated with culture, beer is cool and trendy, whiskey is refined etc. Surfing on the trend more and more foreigners started to import their spirits to China and naturally turned to e-commerce.
Internet is the perfect place to do storytelling and reinforce the positive values that are already associated to foreign alcohol but is also a wonderful tool to gain visibility fast and efficiently.
In Chinese consumer eyes, the internet & e-commerce are great. It allows them to do researches about your brand/alcohol and ordering your products without having to leave their house and with much better prices than physical stores and more choices.
55% of Chinese alcohol consumers have started to order liquor online and young consumers plan to buy more alcohol products via the Internet. Because it’s so easy, cross border e-commerce platforms offer a wide range of choice, and that’s Chinese consumers are looking for.
Crossborder E-commerce Platforms: The keys to selling your Imported Spirits in China
The Chinese market is a very specific market. It doesn’t work as your domestic market. If you want to succeed in this very competitive market, follow our advice!
China has the particularity to have the most connected population in the world. Chinese peoples spend an average of 3h each day surfing on their smartphones. They like to follow brands they have an interest in. It’s also the case for beers and liquors brands which are more and more consumers and appreciated by Chinese consumers in general (young and old consumers). Liquor brands and retailers should increase their digital marketing in China, including placing online ads and engaging with consumers on the social media platforms they used. Keep this in mind: 80% of Chinese consumers age 20-39 go online every day.
Foreign brands are loved by consumers, it’s your competitive advantage. Use it! If you want to get started in the e-commerce adventure in China, three solutions are available for you :
The E-commerce Giant Platforms in China
I am pretty sure you already heard about Tmall, Taobao or JD? And I am also sure that you want to be on these e-commerce platforms? These e-commerce platforms are the giants of online commerce in China. Of course, it’s not easy to sell on these platforms. Most of them only accept brands that have already a significant presence and realized high sales in China. That’s why most of the alcohol brands failed to sell on the giants’ platforms, Tmall, Taobao or JD.
If you are a luxury beer or liquor brand or a premium beer or liquor brand, you can try to sell on Tmall and JD because the 2 platforms want to keep a high ranking and only offer to their consumer’s famous brands and quality products. That’s why they are so selective. If you are not very famous yet, the Wechat store is also good because it’s a bit more accessible for beginners on the beers and liquors market.
- The 3rd Party E-commerce
The 3rd party e-commerce platforms are platforms as Weidian, Weixin Xiaodian, Youzan or Weimao for examples. These shops are really easy to open, to use and to manage. Perfect for beginners or small shops. You can create your Own E-commerce Website. If you want to accept the challenge, our marketing agency can help you.
But you need to know that it’s not easy to create your own e-commerce website and it can be very long. However, you are free and it’s affordable. Now, you know that e-commerce crossborder platforms are the key to develop your sales for your beers or liquors brand.
I will give you some keys you need to use to market your beer or liquor brand in China.
Create a Chinese Website for Visibility
Yes, it’s necessary to have a Chinese Website. it’s both a website hosted in China (.cn) but also in Mandarin. I know that this first tool will discourage you but be brave, it’s easier than it looks. You can buy the services of a professional translator. Trust me, never use the online translator if you don’t want to create a scandal in China because of a misunderstanding.
You can also work with a native speaker in your team. It’s better because they really understand the desires and needs of their peers.
Your website needs to be hosted in China for SEO reasons. If you want to have a good ranking on Baidu, the Chinese search engine, you need to have a Mandarin website. If your consumers want more information about your beer or liquors brand, they will search in mandarin on Baidu. The keywords are obviously in mandarin that’s why you need to adapt your approach.
In addition, your website must follow Chinese standards and Chinese trends. The Chinese aesthetic norms are not really the same as usual. If Western consumers prefer a clean aesthetic, Chinese consumers want pages with a lot of information, written in small characters and many pictures and animations.
This is very important as Chinese consumers research information on products before they buy anything, to avoid problems such as fake products or poor quality. Chinese consumers want to have precision about your beer or liquor, the price, the production details, especially if it’s a foreign beer or liquor.
If you don’t provide all these details, they will buy another beer or liquor brand who understand better their expectations.
Social Media Platforms
As I said before, Chinese consumers are really connected and they love social media apps. They are used to share moments of their day to their relatives. It’s something really including in Chinese lifestyle. They also share their online purchase, to show to their friends what they like and how they are so cool especially if they buy foreign products.
- Wechat and Weibo are the two most popular social media apps in China
Wechat is a mix of Whatsapp and Facebook. On Wechat, consumers can do all they want: share moments, contents, pictures, book a cab, order food, do online shopping and pay. I don’t give you all the details of this amazing app, but if you want to know more about Wechat, you can read this article.
Wechat is a good tool for beer and liquor brands. Wechat allows you to communicate with your consumers and create a relationship. It’s one of the most important criteria in China. Chinese consumers want to speak with the brand they like. Be close to your consumers, give special offer reserved for your followers, do amazing advertising and they will love you.
On Wechat, you can create your online shop, you only need to create your official account. After that, you will need to develop a digital marketing strategy to generate traffic on your page. Wechat has also a good system to do advertising. It’s effective to touch your specific target.
Weibo is a bit like Twitter but it’s better. Weibo allows users to publish big content that you can customize. It’s really effective for your beer or liquor brands, you can share quality contents about your products and customize your post to keep your brand image.
On Weibo, users are free, they can talk about any subjects. They are really present on the platform because it’s the first place where they can express themselves. That’s why Weibo is so popular.
If you want to gain visibility, social media app are the key for your beer or liquor brand. In China, image and awareness are important, don’t forget that.
The Brasserie produces a non-filtrated beer, destined for the region’s luxurious hotels and restaurants. The beers from the “Brasserie de Monaco” are presented in a premium bottle and reflects Monaco’s luxurious and decadent spirit. GMA helped “Brasserie de Monaco” to build a strong e-reputation in order to facilitate their distribution in China.
- Social Media with the use of online KOL’s (Key Opinion Leaders).
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Improve Ranking on Baidu.
- Press Relations.
Imported beers and liquors are popular in China, you will not really need to convince your Chinese consumers to buy your alcohols because they already love you. But, if you don’t respect the process you will fail. The Chinese market looks very easy for a lot of brands, but most of them failed because they don’t understand Chinese consumers. Without consumers, your brand can’t exist.
Highlight your foreign origin is your competitive advantage, but, you have to adapt your approach to succeed on the beers and liquors market. Work with specialists in the Chinese market can help you to save time and money.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency
We are a specialist e-commerce agency based in Shanghai, the economic heart of China’s modern miracle. We understand e-commerce and the real methods for success in this lucrative market.
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- You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China