China has been well known to be the first manufacture of the world. And it’s also true for the toy market. Actually, 70% of toys were produced in China. And if you have kids, it won’t be a surprise if your children are currently playing with Toys owning the famous mention: “Made In China”.
How to blame Toy producers? China offers a very competitive landscape and is also the biggest consumption market in the world. Facts are there. If you’re dealing with toys, you have to come to China.
Chinese Toy market in sum up:
- The second-largest toy market in the world
- Worth over $12 Billion USD and constantly growing
- Count over 240 million kids from 0-14 years old
Why should you consider China as a premium market?
- New kid policy: Two children plan
- Kids are kings in China
- Mentalities are evolving: from now on, it’s Quality first
In this article, we’ll go into more detail on how brands can optimize their sales on Tmall. That’s the hot topic here. But before doing so, let’s take a minute to analyze your target and the Chinese customer mindset.
CHINESE CONSUMER MINDSET
When dealing with toys, we need to consider two key elements.
1. Kids are the one deciding of the products
2. Parents will be the one paying for the products
Chinese Kids are the decision-maker
In China, like in other countries, parents love their kids. But that love can reach a totally different level. It’s a common fact that kids are kings in China. When spending time with their parents or grandparents, kids just have to show any sign of determination to get something (asking, insisting, screaming, crying…), and it works! Most of the time at least. What a better way to deal with your beloved annoying one? Despite there are young, there are also strategic thinkers. And it gives us the first principle here: Toys represent an impulsive decision.
Also, as for any kids around the world, they want what other kids like and what they see all around them. There are very suggestible, and it gives us here a second important principle: The brand is everything for kids.
Why is branding key in the Toy industry?
This article is not about branding, but as we have seen a couple of companies promoting their toys the same way a pharmaceutical company would promote its vitamins, I feel like we have to give a short notice. Yes, you’ll need to be present on the main Chinese platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, you’ll also need a website and be present on Baidu… But more than anything, you’ll need to understand that if you plan to target Kids, video is king. Especially true for 1 to 10 years old. They watch cartoons, tv shows, animated movies, educational programs, and that’s where you’ll pick their interest.
So, you may consider Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili, QiBubble, YouKu, etc. That many platforms you can advertise on or post some videos of your products, which will bring a way bigger outcome than random ads.
Chinese Parents are the Toy Buyer, Integrate them in your strategy
Whatever your lovely one may say, it appears that the one in control (hope so) is you! The parent. In China, it’s the same. Although they have to deal with all these tears and headaches coming out from their little angels, parents are the ones taking up the last decision: buying or not. And if children are impulsive, Parents represent a different case here.
Be sure that they’ll double-check the quality of your products and what other people may think about it. Cause ok, you may praise your products as much as you want, be sure that there is no company in the world attacking a market by: “Buy my low-quality products, you’ll love it”.
Despite being honest, companies are companies and business matters. In China, they know that. They don’t trust corporate communication but will trust your online reputation and what other buyers may say about you.
From these elements, let’s take notes of the following principles:
– Your online reputation matters
– Parents will proceed to a real investigation on your brand (especially if you’re new or not famous in china)
THE CHINESE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
If in our western countries shopping could seem boring and resumed as: I see something, I compare price, check where I can buy, boom bought it.
In China, Shopping is something fun and shoppers will go through a very methodological process based on online exploration.
Kids will see your products or your ads somewhere, then go to harass their parents to get it for them. After this first step, parents will check about your company on Baidu (the Chinese Google), they’ll look for some articles talking about your brand, then they’ll try to check for pictures or video on social media, see what KOL may think about it, spend times looking for online reviews of buyers describing their purchase and user experience… and then, only after being sure their kids won’t be hurt in any way, or that they won’t waste their money in something that will get broken in two days, they’ll be ready to buy your product.
To resume all this, please keep in mind:
- The brand is everything for kids
- Toy represents an impulsive decision
- Your reputation is everything in China
- Parents will investigate your brand
- Shopping is fun
BOOST YOUR SALES ON TMALL
You’ve developed quality products, made your proof of concept on your local market, and entered the Chinese one. Like many companies, you choose the famous e-Commerce platform, Tmall, to sell your toys and games on the world’s biggest market.
But here’s the thing. You spent a lot of money to enter a great platform and probably got in partnership with some TP that promised you amazing sales. You trusted them, and after a couple of months maybe even a year, you don’t see the expected return on your investment.
You may have thought, “ok, if I get only 1% of the market it’s done. We’ll be rich”. But still, you’re stuck with a few sales on some products and are still waiting after the Chinese dream. Why is Lego or Hasbro so successful and you’re still struggling to get back on your ROI?
Need to know one thing, TPs will try to drive some sales for you. But you know what? IT’S NOT ENOUGH.
According to Alibaba:
“5% of online store traffic comes from people who actually know the brand. The 95% rest is just random visitors. And this same 5% represents over 50% of the store’s sales…”
Moral of the story: Your reputation matter.
And by reputation, we don’t mean ads. You can open your online store and spend millions on ads and KOL, but if you get no reputation, you’ll just end up wasting both your time and money. We need to make the difference here between driving traffic and getting a high conversion rate.
So, to start from scratch here’s what you should do.
STEP 1. DEVELOP YOUR BRAND AWARENESS
A great communication tool and much more. Number 1 social media in China with close to 1 billion monthly average users, that’s a must-do. You can’t operate in China without having an official company account. Perfect to interact with your followers and potential partners/distributors, but useless for ads. Let’s save your budget for the useful stuff and optimize your results.
You may consider:
- Post articles and deliver useful content
- Develop a professional HTML5 e-Brochure
- Develop mini-games or mini-program
Chinese twitter. A great platform to get huge exposure in China. On this one, you want to do ads and KOL promotion. It will boost your visibility and drive traffic to your platforms.
You may consider:
- Posting articles and useful content
- Promotional activity through paid ads, coupons, discount, online events
Douyin (More know as TikTok)
The video King in China. And if you remember well what we just mentioned above, you’ll seriously consider posting videos on Douyin. Perfect to showcase your products and put forward quality customer experience.
You may consider:
- Posting videos
Other video platforms to explore for advertisement and quality targeted content:
- Tencent Video
Get to know more about Video Streaming in China
Perfect to enhance your Brand Awareness and guide customer traffic. You’ll need to find the right influencer according to your industry, and products. Following what, you’ll be able to focus on different platforms. An adequate platform and a powerful influencer are essential to building a reputable brand image.
A quality PPC campaign on TMALL will be essential to drive traffic to your store. And don’t forget, there is a difference between doing the job and doing the job right.
Need to boost your traffic? Consider the following:
– Search Results Ads
– Banner Ads
– Brand zone Ads
Get to know more about Pinduoduo, the new rising platform
STEP 2: MIND YOUR REPUTATION
This should be your top priority if willing to build trust with Chinese customers and improve your conversion rate.
In order to improve your credibility, it’s recommended to be visible on high ranked and high average daily traffic media, news websites, and specialized press. A couple of articles every month is a minimum. If you want to appear like a successful brand enjoyed by kids all around China, act like one.
Forums & blogs:
As mentioned above, what Chinese consumers care more than anything is another’s opinion. Before making any online purchase decision they’ll search for information and reviews on your brand and products. It will be very important here to create positive brand content on specific platforms.
Here are some Forums and Q&A suggestion for you:
- Other specific forums related to the industry
TMALL STORE OPTIMIZATION:
Sometimes, small details can make a difference. Pages and designs can be optimized to improve your customer purchase experience. You don’t get the expected results yet? Do not hesitate to process an audit and optimize your store if needed. Invest on yourself, your customers will thank you later.
PRODUCT MARKET FIT:
You may have a top-selling product working very well on your local market but not fit to the Chinese one… But don’t worry. To any problem a solution. All is a question of flexibility. Can improve your packaging, modify your offer, price policy, overall strategy if needed and in the end, you’ll make it happen. The outcome will overcome your pain.
As an example, preparing a campaign for the famous shopping event “11/11”, we rebranded the product of one of our client and redesign its packaging. This adds to the previous steps mentioned above, we manage to achieve 20 million RMB sales in a month, +200,000 new customers, and an ROI of +966%. Everything’s possible in China.
Get to know more about: Co-branding, a strategy that pays off
To Conclude on How to Optimize your Tmall Toy Store.
For newcomers on the Chinese Toys Market:
If you’re serious and ambitious about China & ready to build a successful brand, keep in mind the following steps:
- Develop your Brand Awareness
- Work on your e-Reputation
- Targeted content and ads on kids’ favorite platforms
- Promotion through KOL and influencers
You’re already in China and face issue to reach your KPI:
Here’s how to get the expected results you were promised.
- If low traffic: need to work on Social Media, use KOL, live streaming & develop quality PPC Campaign on Tmall
- If low conversion rate: boost your e-reputation, optimize your store and proceed to an audit of your brand/product
TPs are not your friends. They’ll try to bring you sales, but their scope of services is limited and not enough. Counting on TPs to do all the job is like going to see a General Practitioner for brain surgery. It won’t work. Understand the difference between traffic/conversion rate, and that China got a completely different ecosystem compared to what you may have experienced before.
Spend your budget wisely, follow the right methodology, and see the results coming.
In China, everything’s possible but nothing’s easy.
We are GMA.
- Expert on the Toy & Gaming industry
- Over 7 years’ experience in the Chinese Market
- Digital Marketing Specialist
- Pragmatic approach
- We know your target and problems you may face in China