The Chinese market is one of the biggest in the world with an average GDP increase of 7 percent per year and over 350 million middle-class consumers. However, it can be difficult for new businesses to break in if you are not aware of the competition and how the market operates.
You can invest a little time and effort into understanding what works for branding your business in China and open up to the huge potential for profits and rewards. In this post, we try to learn how you can use online discounts to market your business to Chinese consumers.
The Chinese Market
China is a highly competitive market consisting of a large number of vendors who already know about the shopping habits of people in the country. Online Chinese platforms like Tmall are popular among shoppers so it is necessary to understand how these networks work.
There are over 900 million people in China with an online presence. With the growing popularity of networks like WeChat and Baidu, the Chinese have become highly dependent on constant internet access for everyday life. Thus, building an online presence is crucial to introducing your brand in the region.
However, when a new company enters the Chinese market, it often struggles with gaining online visibility because China uses a powerful firewall. This makes the branding process entirely different from that in the West. China has no access to Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., so there is no way consumers can find new brands on these platforms or verify their authenticity.
Chinese Shopper Behavior
There’s a popular belief that the Chinese only buy discounted products. Promotions, deals, and freebies have become quite common for most websites. If you aren’t implementing a discount strategy, you run the risk of losing customers to your competitors.
According to a survey, 70 percent of Chinese e-shoppers buy discounted products. Consumer behavior patterns are changing and people are considering the value and quality of the product along with the price. A majority of Chinese shoppers buy products on discounts but they also demand a combination of uniqueness, quality, and value for money.
How Discounts Spice Up the Consumer Market
The country has introduced some policies to boost consumption in the market to improve the condition and make up for the losses acquired during the pandemic. Public and private sector enterprises in China are coming together to devise and experiment with new methods to fuel domestic consumption and make the economy stronger.
The most popular and effective of these methods are cash coupons and discounts. Governments in various provinces have announced to offer millions of coupons and vouchers to boost consumption in sectors like cinemas, hotels, scenic spots as well as products like cars and other luxuries. Giant retailers are leveraging live streaming to market their services.
Big stores have started introducing virtual shops through WeChat and offering discounts on a wide array of products across categories including fresh produce, clothing, and jewelry. Such a package of online to offline stimuli aims to keep the consumers informed when they are not able to visit the store.
Discounted prices are likely to help premium businesses whose expensive products and services were not easily attainable by those on a budget. However, public-private partnerships can bring long-term success. Government agencies have been advocating online shopping through live streaming sessions while retailers had out shopping coupons for the purchase of different items.
Marketing Your Business in China with Discounts
To offer discounts that work, you need to cover all your bases first. For starters, your English website will need to be optimized for Chinese consumers. Here are some of the most crucial steps to market your business to Chinese shoppers.
1. Optimize your website for the new audience
First and foremost, your website should be optimized for Chinese visitors.
- Translate your pages to mandarin either with the help of an agency or online tools
- Add meta tags and descriptions for search engines
- Optimize your pages for popular queries in China
- Add sign-up forms with lead generation software to inform users of upcoming promotions
- Offer live chat support to assist in buying decisions
2. Increase your Visibility on Baidu
Out of the 900 million internet users, a majority spend an average of 1.5 hours per day browsing Baidu. It is the ‘Google of China’ and enjoys a 70 percent share of the total searches from China. This is why it is important for a business to rank in the search results on Baidu with SEO.
You should come up with high-quality content, build backlinks, and optimize the website for keyword searches used by the Chinese. Baidu also gives you opportunities like banner ads and paid links, some of the most effective ways to expand your reach to a wider audience.
3. Use Online Discounts
Chinese consumers love discounts and tend to compare prices before shopping online. When you sell online, you can gain a competitive advantage by offering big discounts and pushing them to buy.
If you don’t offer discounts on your products, it can become difficult to be successful in the Chinese e-commerce front. For a business, discounts can often decrease the margin and destroy the brand. The solution is to sell multiple items with discounts instead of single products. This way, customers will find it difficult to compare the products.
Here are some of the ways you can use online discounts to promote your brand in the Chinese market.
Bundling is a great promotional strategy because it increases the number of items you sell. This will, in turn, increase your average order value. If your store has products across price ranges, you can use this offer to highlight product value customers get by buying things together. You might have products that don’t sell but they can complement others. Create bundles that include both types of products.
A popular discount type in the apparel industry, volume discounts are great for businesses who want to sell more of the specific products and clear their inventories. Bulk buying seems like a great way of saving money for most consumers. Bank on this!
Choose a special day or weekend when you offer the steepest discounts in the year. Christmas holidays, for example, are the times when you get a lot of opportunities as people look for products every year at this time. You can also consider offering a one-day annual flash sale with exciting discounts.
A hot topic at the time, free shipping is preferred over faster delivery times. You can do some research to find out if your customers would spend $100 to avail of free shipping. Such tests will help you implement this offer in a way that adds to your promotional strategy.
First-time Shopping Offers
A welcome offer is a great thing to have on your website. People always look for such deals and prefer to indulge with the brand even when they have never before done.
Buy One Get One Free
This is a great promotional strategy that lets you boost cross-sell opportunities. You can implement this with products that go well with each other or products of the same category.
Literally red Envelop. Buyers can use it to decrease the price of their purchase. Super popular.
4. Build Your Social Media Presence
WeChat is the number one social media app in China for businesses. It has over 860 million active monthly users and is the most active social media network in the country. WeChat grows constantly and users rely on it not just for messaging but for booking, payments, online shopping, and more. The possibilities are endless on WeChat.
To be able to successfully market your brand in China, you should know about the workings of WeChat. It is a closed platform and your business account cannot be viewed unless people know how to search for it. This means it can take some time and knowledge to create a presence on this platform.
One of the best ways is to display your QR code on the website. This way, you can link both to help increase the traffic. Another great way to build your following on WeChat is to share content. You should know where you should share the content to be able to reach a wider audience. You can also consider creating and entering WeChat groups related to your products and services and starting conversation threads around the brand to enhance communication. You should aim at getting people to share your content on their WeChat which would link back to your website and account.
Another popular social media network is Weibo which essentially is the ‘Twitter of China’. It is an open network so it can be a great way to market your brand by sharing updates on the latest offers, discounts, and promotions. Your followers can further spread the content to build your brand reputation.
Conclusion on using discount marketing in China
The Chinese market is much different from the West and requires special attention. Capitalizing on the love for discounts is a good way to gain popularity in China as their buying decisions are mostly motivated by price.
Optimize your website for Chinese visitors, increase your visibility on Baidu, use tried and tested discount strategies like BOGO, volume discounts, and flash sales, and maintain a consistent presence on popular social media channels in China. By implementing these strategies, you’ll be all set to grab your share of the Chinese market!