Japanese Companies Use live Streaming to Increase sales in China

In this era of social distance and lockdowns due to the Covid-19, Japanese companies are increasingly using live streams to sell products to Chinese consumers who have become more and more used to this new shopping experience.

What are the benefits of “Live e-commerce” for Japanese brands?

In the last years, e-commerce live streaming, a combination of streaming video and e-commerce, has become increasingly popular in China. During Covid-19, live streaming proved to be a valuable tool for Japanese brands and retailers, who used platforms to engage consumers and showcase their products.

E-commerce live streaming is becoming the most effective marketing tool for several reasons:

  • It allows to show the products in a realistic and detailed way and increases the reliability of the brand and product among consumers. You should know that Chinese people tend not to trust brands and products they don’t know. They seek information and advice online or from people who have already purchased the product. Therefore, the latter is the best protagonist for your live streaming.
  • Live e-commerce offers you the opportunity to improve the relationship with the users, increase the loyalty of your customers and create new ones.
  • Through e-commerce live streaming you have the possibility to sell your products directly on the app. Customers have the opportunity to buy your products on the app by clicking on the icon on the live stream, which will direct them to the websites of the brands, or to Chinese e-commerce platforms.
  • Production times are short and costs are reduced. With a view to continuous improvement, this allows brands to diversify more quickly the video content to be launched on media platforms, attracting a greater number of users.

China live-streaming Guide

Live e-commerce New standards will lead to a better consumer experience

A report on consumer satisfaction on live streaming e-commerce released by the China Consumer Association on March 31, 2020, showed that 37.3% of consumers surveyed had encountered problems in live streaming e-commerce. The main concerns for refusing live streaming e-commerce are “product quality is not guaranteed ” and “poor after-sales service.”

Since this issue, in June the China General Chamber of Commerce issued a notice on the development of national standards for e-commerce live streaming. These new standards and regulations will have a positive impact on live streaming e-commerce because these rules can increase the perception of safety and quality by consumers, and therefore lead to better sales for companies.

How can Japanese brands use live e-commerce to increase sales?

Choose the most suitable e-commerce live streaming platform

Before launching live streaming marketing campaigns it is necessary to understand which Chinese platform is the most suitable for your company by evaluating the different options in the market. The Chinese social media market is full of competitors, but GMA can help you to choose the best platform for your brand.

Creative content

Remember that users love and appreciate creative content. Content quality is the key for a successful campaign.

KOL & KOC collaboration

Celebrities, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders: Read our KOLs Guide for China), and KOC (Key Opinion Consumers) produce the most popular content. Live streaming with these influencers as guests can bring better results. They increase brand awareness and, consequently, the sales of products and services, leveraging their social status and the trust that their follower base places in them.

The Chinese digital consumer follows the opinion of these figures very much and puts a lot of trust in them. Consumer confidence is what every brand needs in order to see its sales growth in the Chinese market. In a digital world like the Chinese one where users are constantly bombarded with often false or low-quality advertisements and offers, influencers are a key figure.

Japanese brands are adopting live e-commerce to reach Chinese consumers

With travel bans still in place in many parts of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, companies are trying to reach Chinese consumers at big expense through new routes.

Japanese brands from all kinds of industries are entering this new era dominated by live streaming. From the tourism industry to the beauty industry, all brands are making effort to reach more and more digitized Chinese consumers.

The Japanese are displaying all kinds of products, including cosmetics, clothing, automobile equipment, and household items during their broadcast. Viewers in China can purchase these items by clicking on the shopping cart icon in the app, which will direct them to the websites of the companies that sell these products or to e-commerce platforms such as JD, Taobao, Pinduoduo.

Japanese brands live e-commerce case-study

Japanese brands in the cosmetics industry are using Live e-commerce- Shiseido case-study

To combat the decline in sales in the retail sector due to covid-19, Shiseido has conducted live streaming sales programs promoting its products in the Chinese market, this is why the company’s e-commerce sales remained strong during the pandemic.

Shiseido has used and is using this marketing strategy in China as a post-pandemic growth model.

The reforms that Shiseido has implemented in China are:

  • training beauty consultants to use live streaming and social media,
  • work more closely with retailers on the technology-enabled shopping experience,
  • invest in new online marketing content.

Shiseido live streaming on Bilibili for product launch

Avoiding more traditional options like Taobao Live or Douyin, Japanese beauty brand Shiseido became the latest company to debut a new product via Bilibili.

The campaign, called “Blooming Into White” (为 白 而 绽), promoted a new line of White Lucent products signed by the brand.

On April 27, Shiseido kicked off with a nearly two-hour live stream sensitive to the preferences of Bilibili’s viewers who have a lower tolerance for explicit commercial content on the platform. The company has in fact avoided the inclusion of commercial products during the life and has instead offered content more similar to a Chinese reality show, with interviews with ambassadors and influencers.

Livestreaming peaked at 1.34 million viewers, ranking # 1 among Bilibili’s live broadcasts to date, and saw high engagement with over 200,000 on-screen comments posted during the show.

Bilibili’s young demographic is key to a brand like Shiseido, which already has an established consumer base among the older groups.

Japanese brands in the tourism industry are using Live e-commerce

Japan is usually a popular destination for Chinese tourists who generally consider Japanese products to be of superior quality. But travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus have plunged the number of Chinese visitors to Japan.

Live e-commerce was already becoming popular in China about two years ago and has now taken root due to the pandemic. In fact, according to an estimate by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry last year, Japanese companies can expect to sell 2 trillion yen ($ 18.6 billion) worth of goods to China in 2020 through e- cross-border commerce.

  • The vice president of e-commerce operator Inagora, Tsuda, presents a show every Friday evening from the company’s head office in Tokyo.

Using the video feature of the Chinese messaging app WeChat, Tsuda and a Chinese interpreter showcase the wares and encourage viewers to visit the company’s website, Wandou Gongzhu. Tsuda’s presence in these broadcasts gives the authenticity of the product.

  • In May, Subaojiang Network Technology, a Shanghai-based company, marketed Japanese products and services to Chinese tourists through live e-commerce.

The company offers live streaming almost every day and has started building a cross-border eCommerce framework with Tokyo-based partner Cross C.

For Japanese retailers who are heavily reliant on tourism spending, live e-commerce may actually be the way forward.

Japanese brands in the automotive industry are using live e-commerce- Toyota case-study

Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational automaker headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. Toyota’s sales in China increased by 20.1%. The strong growth is due to the increase in sales achieved by two joint ventures, but also by live streams.

Indeed, to stimulate auto sales, Toyota has held over 2,400 cloud-enabled live streaming and auto show activities. Toyota announced that its retail sales in May increased 32.1% from the previous year to 68,518 units.

Japanese brands in the jewelry industry are using live e-commerce – Casio case-study

Casio Computer Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and commercial electronics manufacturing company headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Its products include calculators, cell phones, digital cameras, electronic musical instruments, and analog and digital watches. He was one of the first innovators of digital cameras, and during the 1980s and 1990s, the company developed numerous affordable home electronic keyboards for musicians along with the introduction of the world’s first mass-produced digital watches.

In China, Casio opened a “Smart” store in Hangzhou, Alibaba’s hometown, attracting exceptionally heavy online traffic. Casio partnered with Tmall by presenting huge screens to showcase new products to buyers. Alibaba’s Big Data tracked registered consumers who came to the store, to offer them bespoke merchandise.

Casio generated more than 100 million yuan ($ 15 million) in single-day sales last year.

Following the success of live e-commerce, Casio has also adopted this type of marketing strategy to increase sales, especially in this period.

As you can see in the previous image, the company is using live e-commerce and collaborates with influencers to promote its products and sell them on the Taobao platform.

Japanese brands in the fashion industry are using live e-commerce – Asics case-study

Asics is a Japanese multinational company that produces footwear and sports equipment designed for a wide range of sports. In recent years their running shoes have often been ranked among the high-performance footwear on the Chinese market.

Asics has an extensive network of stores in eastern China and to a lesser extent in the central and northeastern parts of the huge nation.

Its sales fell 2% in the United States, were flat in Europe, and increased 4% in Japan. In China, on the other hand, its sales increased by 40%. Its growth is due to its marketing strategies for the Chinese market and above all to its use of live e-commerce on Chinese platforms.

If you are a Japanese company and you want to know more about how to market your products by using live e-commerce, contact GMA.

We are a digital marketing agency that is expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China.

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