21 December, 2015

6 mistakes to avoid in E-Commerce in China

The E-commerce industry in China will be worth over 700 billion dollars by the end of 2015 with a staggering 243 million e-shoppers purchasing online. E-commerce is rapidly increasing in China with online customers not only seeking interesting deals, but also an excellent checkout process and a high quality service. With increasing competition from a number of different online platforms one mistake in the process can lead to consumers abandoning their online purchases.

It is thus very important to improve your website to provide a top quality shopping experience and market yourself effectively.


Not utilizing the power of social media


93% of online searches in China are done on search engines like Baidu and 68% of customers look for companies on social media before buying.

SEO is important to maximize your exposure on Baidu whilst a comprehensive marketing strategy on social media platforms is very important to increase the size of one’s customer base, encourage loyalty and generate brand awareness. Companies’ posts that are popular and trending on social media have a strong influence on consumers’ decisions with individuals wanting to keep abreast of the latest consumer trends. The Chinese increasingly turn to their social network online for recommendations and advice, your posts being shared amongst user’s networks can directly lead to more sales, especially if you seek to engage and communicate with customers. Customers also want answers on social media and use it for feedback quickly. Many e-commerce companies now have an option on their WeChat to submit a query, users can then receive a reply directly from an agent seeking to resolve an issue.

It goes without saying that a high level of Chinese is necessary for social networking here, Mandarin specialists ‘Tailor Made Chinese’ have emphasized the need to learn and understand the local nuances of the language and ensure you have local expertise on hand.

Not engaging in SEO for E-Commerce websites.

It’s very important to optimize websites for Chinese search engines like Baidu to increase its sales. If your website isn’t showing up when people search on a search engine, nobody will buy your products, it’s important to optimize your website on key search engines.
It’s important to make sure that the structure of your website is well done, and that the content is relevant. Key words are very important, you want to focus on increasing your profile when a certain series of keywords are entered on Baidu, generating a buzz about an e-commerce website with other articles referencing you is an effective way to increase your ranking.

Not adapting a website for mobile
Mcommerce is increasing rapidly in China with large numbers of consumers using the plethora of apps and mobile functions to buy online via their Smartphone’s. Mobile e-commerce represents 15 billion dollars globally and by 2017, this figure is estimated to more than double, to 31 billion dollars.

The websites aesthetic design and functionality is important and a necessity. You have to optimize your website for a smaller screen size and for a better user experience on the Smartphone. Statistics suggest that 78% of Chinese users think that the websites aesthetic image on a mobile has a huge impact on their buying decision. E-Commerce websites who are not optimized for mobile will surely lose potential clients.

Not retargeting your visitors

In China, e-commerce customers often don’t buy on their first visit. Companies have to improve by personalizing the offer for the consumer, make the offers as attractive as possible and emphasize the limited time scope products and prices are available for. It is also important to re-target visitors who have purchased before, the Chinese will re-use websites they trust and feel they have a relationship with. Send out regular newsletters, members offers and have a strong presence on social media to encourage repeat purchases.


Not leveraging the power of visuals

Visuals are very important for Ecommerce websites. The Chinese customer cannot physically experience the product online, thus providing high quality pictures and videos to give this sense of interacting with the product has become essential. A comScore study revealed that when a product has a presentation video, 64% of the visitors are more likely to buy, they also stay on the website for an average of two more minutes longer, thus increasing the likelihood of browsing other products.
 For most of e-commerce sites in China, providing a video for each product is impossible, but there are other solutions like a 360 degree view of the product that prove popular amongst consumers.

Product page design
The product page is a vital aspect it plays an important role in terms of the consumer’s buying decision. Well designed pages will improve the customers visit, and will give them important information, it’s key to explain why it’s better to buy your product and not competitors. Avoid simply copying and pasting the product’s description without including detailed information, customers appreciate sites to go the extra mile in terms of the description and the page must be clear and accessible.

Explore different online business models in China
There are a whole host of different approaches to e-commerce in China. The subscription model is gaining popularity currently. Websites such as the ‘French Cellar’ are delivering (in this case premium wines) on a monthly basis to customers who subscribe, the consumer subscribes and has the wine selected by Nicholas Rebut, a reputable French sommelier. This business model could be adapted for many other types of western product; it is exciting and spontaneous for the Chinese consumer who trusts a specialist to select products they are less familiar with.

Benji specializes in digital marketing, e-commerce and social networking in China. He has lived in Shanghai for 5 years and is passionate about finding digital solutions for western firms looking to enter the Chinese market. For more information see his website and blog here: http://seoagencychina.com/


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