How to take advantage of the latest E Commerce revolution? U-Commerce trend
Nowadays, we all are very well aware of the importance of Ecommerce on current business.
E-Commerce has been a great revolution for companies and customers, helping the exchange of goods and services without geographical barriers via Internet.
With most of famous brands selling via e-Commerce and the development of B2B, B2C and C2C markets, the last revolution has come to stay: the Mobile Commerce or better known, M-Commerce.
But, What do we mean when we talk about M-Commerce?
The increase of the usage of smartphones and tablets and the growth of its capabilities, lead to a higher percentage of the population using technological devices to purchase their goods or services. According to the increase of the demand and in order to take advantage of this new trend, Companies have already identified the need to adapt their ways of selling to the portable devices.
China, the biggest consumer via E-Commerce country and a technologically advanced market, is a good example to put into consideration: the Retail and C2C ecommerce sales have grown from the 9% to the 55.5% since 2013.
This information show us that nowadays, most of the C2C Chinese customers prefer to use the mobile device than their PCs or laptops.
Omnichannel Marketing, What´s its purpose?
At the same time, to E-Commerce has joined a new feature: the existence of the multichannel approach to sales, or “Omnichannel”.
This channel is looking for the continuous shopping experience of each customer. The aim of the Omnichannel Marketing is offering a continuous experience to the user, independent from the device or channel chosen.
In practice, this leads to a complete integration between phones, tablets and computers and it requires the combination of an anthropological and technological strategy in approaching the users in a smarter way.
From the combination of all this, arises the U-Commerce concept.
What is U-Commerce or Ubiquitous Commerce?
If we simplify, we would say that we are talking about U-Commerce when E-Commerce is based in the customer experience.
The user must be in the center of all Companies’ strategies. Those Companies using U-Commerce must be able to provide personalized service to their clients from the information they get from mobile devices and PC-s.
The keys are: customizing and navigation experience created in cooperation with the User.
How is this possible?
It is obvious that the technological development is responsible for this change and makes necessary to pay attention to the internal customer databases.
Companies must try to find out common interests between potential clients who visit their EShops, considering each potential customer as unique and with their own preferences and priorities.
Efforts should be directed to avoid high rates of leads who finally give up navigating in the last purchasing phase, and reach around 60-70%.
This is the crucial reason for companies to invest their efforts and resources in understanding the customers and their behavior: to boost sales.
A lack of privacy: How companies use data?
U-Commerce uses personal information in order to provide a personalized service. A big number of customers feel disrespectful that a company can get their personal information and manage it as they want. Therefore, we must emphasize the benefits that the data can bring to the user and treat delicately the data we are able to collect.
Times are changing and the number of E-Commerce consumers is increasing exponentially and also the M-Commerce is growing very fast.
It’s important to face it and consider user’s needs, their preferences and desires. So companies must rechange strategies and adapt to the new eCommerce “revolution”.
Are you thinking about improving the user experience and exploit the advantages that the use of Online Marketing gives us?
Come to us, We are expecting you!
This article has been edited by Paula Vicuña, from 2 OPEN.
10 things you need to know to Build a Chinese Website (Part 1)
When planning to enter the Chinese market, one of the main points in every marketing plan should be the creation of a website that focuses on the Chinese consumer.
Naturally, there are some questions that come to mind…
- What are the differences between a western and an eastern website?
- What are the aspects that I have to keep in mind in order to trying to attract Chinese consumers?
- Would it be a good idea to just duplicate and translate my current content?
All of the above can be summarised in one question; what do I need to do in order to create a great website that will have the potential to reach the 675 million China internet users?
In this series of posts, we will try to give you some tips that will help you create a website for the Chinese market that will appeal to Chinese consumers and also match the style, tech and literary attributes of eastern consumers.
1 – Chinese Web Design – What the …???
When we look at a Chinese website, the first feeling we get is confusion… Language, structure, content … We can´t find anything similar to Western websites based (lately) on cleanliness and simplicity. Our China web design must be adapted not to our tastes, it must match Chinese consumer design taste.
If you have not navigated through Chinese websites maybe you don´t completrly understand what I mean. You´ll see easily the difference with these two examples. Taobao and Ebay, two B2C marketplaces (or C2C) from east and west.
Can you appreciate the difference in style, design, structure? I bet you do…
We can see a lot of information on Chinese site in contrast to the cleanliness and simplicity of the western site.
Our experience creating websites for the Chinese market has shown us some key points to understand and get advantage:
- Chinese websites use many more elements and are much more colorful than Western.
- Chinese language is different. It seems obvious… but there are things we have to consider about Chinese language such as:
- There is not a capital letter in Chinese
- There are no spaces between characters
- Chinese characters are far more dense than our letters
- Chinese sites use a lot of animation, flashing texts and banners. This is clearly the opposite to our western websites where movement is disappearing. The reason can be it’s much harder to grab attention using fonts in Chinese than it is with western languages.
2 – User experience… Do they have any good one?
We have just seen as websites in China seem much more complex than we are used to. We might think that the user experience will be a nightmare, but Chinese user is so accustomed to information under this structure as we are to the western structure.
Chinese user is concerned about usability and user experience, but is used to webpages so busy usually does not care how the site looks. However the trend is towards simplicity and clarity on web pages. In a more European style.
Some of the highlights on Chinese websites regarding to navigation are:
- Chinese websites have a big number of links, however Chinese users do not like this system. This can be given by the low load speed internet in China.
- All this links use to open in other new windows. Why? Again it’s mainly an issue of speed. Internet access in China is generally slow, users have gotten used to opening new links while waiting for a page to load.
- Keyword search box as a navigate tool. Link system is not comfortable for users because they can be lost due to the big amount of links. For this reason, on Chinese websites keyword searches have to be really efficient, and the search bar must be top accessible.
3 – Hosting & ICP. DIstance matterS
The one who said that, in internet there is no distance, did not know about China. If you are not (legal and/or physical) in Mainland China, easy staff like finding the right hosting can became a little bit more complicated.
Let´s start from the beginning, one of the most common questions when we are going to create a China site is should we host our website within or outside China? Is there is a big difference? The answer is very clear, as far as possible we should try host the web in Chinese Mainland, and we will try to explain why.
China network structure is not the best, which makes the websites loading speed not the most appropriate. By hosting our web outside China this problem becomes much more serious.
Okay, so we are clear, we should host our website in China, now what? We must apply for a number of ICP (Internet Content Provider) to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China. This is the ICP license that will allow our site to stay in Mainland China. Only companies with a physical presence in China can apply for this license (which usually see in the footer of the sites, as in our case).
For companies that do not have a legal entity in China, we do recommend looking for hosting solutions in Hong Kong, which can limit the problem of loading speed and make our site more accessible for the Chinese user.
Now that we talk about speed, even though the main problem affecting the same be the hosting (inside or outside) there are also other factors that can make our web go slower (and we have seen that it is a key point in China) as can be:
• Website images are not size optimized
• Poorly code in our website
• Low hosting quality (even inside Mainland China)
• Our site is using services blocked in China (Google Fonts, Google Maps, Twitter, Facebook, etc…) which prevents the page from loading
4 – Did you say… services blocked? … the Chinese Great Firewall
China not only has a huge physical walls to defend themselves (in the past). China also has a large digital wall, the Great Firewall. Originally known “Golden Shield Project” but ironically nicknamed Great Firewall, it is a censorship and surveillance project initiated by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security in 2003.
This project acts as a digital censor and block all websites that do not meet the content requirements that marks the Chinese government.
Here you can see some more information about how the censorship works.
Among other things, Chinese Internet censorship censored webpages that have content that include; news sources cover topics considered that are defamatory against China: such as police brutality, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, freedom of speech, Taiwan Government, Dalai Lama or the Tibet Independence Movement International …
These sites are banned or are indexed to a lesser degree, if at all, by some Chinese search engines and have significant impact on search results.
As a result of this control in China they are blocked pages as usual for us as Google, Twitter or Facebook (it does no matter how much Mark go jogging in Tiananmen). Although great firewall control is easy to jump (using a VPN, for example) the difficulty of accessing these pages has made their use and popularity is low.
This means we need to be very careful with our website content, try to be sure to avoid Great Firewall content restrictions and not to use third party banned platforms like Google (Google Maps, Google Fonts), Facebook or Twitter.
5 – New Players & New Rules
So, no Facebook or twitter, how am I going to promote my website? China has a digital ecosystem different of everything we are use to. Surely you’re wondering how you survive without some of the usual promotional tools. Natural positioning in Google, PPC Adwords campaigns, promotion of content on social networks like Facebook or Twitter …
In China you will find new players who have occupied these gaps and in some cases, created new niches. These new players have taken advantage of the absence of foreign competition (Facebook, Google …), its adaptation to Chinese culture and peculiarity and in some cases even a strong government support.
These actors we found some “copycat“, certified copies of known systems, such as:
- Baidu, the Chinese search engine par excellence (suspiciously similar to Google)
- Weibo, the microblogging service (suspiiiiciouuusssslyyy similar to Twitter)
- Youku, video service (guess who it is similar?)
We also have WeChat, the jewel of the crown and the mobile app (almost an OS) that includes messaging, payments, calls, moments … and which we discussed in detail in another post.
For our website to be inside China digital life it must be adapted to the rules of these actors, common in the dailylife of the Chinese consumer.
So, who are the big guys that you need to be friend of?
As soldiers in a war, most of these tools fall into three large “armies”. These three groups are known as the BAT and are in constant battle to dominate the Chinese digital ecosystem.
In short, Baidu holds commanding market share over search. Alibaba holds to the same power over e-commerce. Tencent is the dominant player in social media. But they are constantly trying to invade their territory, in a very interesting war for any fan marketing.
One of the commonalities of the BAT is a full support of the government, together with its dominant position in the market, makes this status quo is difficult to change.
What does it means for our website? We need to adapt our communication to this new players, generating our social media activity through Wechat, optimizing our SEO for Baidu or 360, uploading our videos in Youku, adding sharing actions in our content with Chinese social platforms… anything we use to do in our occidental site does not help us here and can be even negative for our goals. As we have seen, if we keep on using tools like Facebook (post sharing options for example) we can be blocked by the Great Firewall.
Do you want to know more? Sure? CHECK THE SECOND PART OF THIS POST HERE
All you need for your Chinese Landing Page
Landing pages have become more and more relevant over the past few years. With an increase in brand awareness and persuading power, they play a huge roll when it comes to online marketing and ecommerce. This article will focus on the basic structure of a successful landing page as the improvements that can be made to achieve better results.
What is a landing page?
Landing pages are often called guide pages, in general terms, a landing page is the first page that appears when a user enters a website, this could be either the homepage, product page, about us page etc. The channels through which the user enters the website are in most cases clicks on advertisements or results or search engines. There are a few things a landing page has to achieve and although it depends on its business scope, their aims can be simplified in the following way:
-Invite users to keep visiting
-Lead users to make a purchase
-Get users’ personal information
-Invite users to share or to comment
-Other activities, which can bring interactions, etc.
What does a landing page consist of?
Usually a landing page consists on 4 main parts:
- USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
- Core media
- Detail explanation
- CTA (Call-To-Action)
- USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
This is what we call “selling point”. In China, a lot of companies consider this as their core competence. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from other competitors; this is where a company presents its most attractive features about the products or the services it provides. It should basically answer the question: Why should consumers hire my services or purchase my products instead of the others in the market?The main headline of the landing page is also of great importance. It should be a sentence that explains your USP and it should attract the users’ attention. It is basically the first thing users read when they arrive in your landing page so therefore it must be concise and catchy.
- Core media
Media has been used to enrich a landing page, making a page more attractive through the use of pictures and videos or animations.When people are watching a webpage, an interesting picture or video can leave a better impression than a sentence.
- Detail explanation
This is a main part of your landing page. Here you need to put more detailed information to support your USP. It could be points that further explain in a more detailed way the main value proposition of your service or product. It could also include advantages of what your are providing the customer as well as useful real life examples that will continue to support your USP.
- CTA (Call-To-Action)
This is the deal-sealing part of your landing page. It should not be difficult for a customer to complete the purchase of the service or product at any given moment whilst he/she is viewing your landing page. It does not matter if it is a button, a link, or a form; you just have to make sure that it is obvious and eye-catching. Users must know exactly what they are doing on your webpage and all the relevant information that comes with it, both monetarily and logistically.
To sum up
We might take for granted the elements of landing pages, consumers do not really notice all of the work that has been put into a webpage, but as long as you would like to have a successful one, you should pay better attention to these details and think on creative ways to improve them. Nobody starts from the top, so why not give it a try and see how a good landing page can benefit your business?
If you have any questions or require any information about our services, please do not hesitate in contacting us, our group of specialists will happily assist you.
This article was edited by Andres Arroyo Olson from 2Open.
Online to Offline (O2O) in China
E-commerce has grown internationally over the past few years; China is one of the countries with the fastest e-commerce growing market, Alibaba has become the largest business-to-business (B2B) platform in the world. Tmall is the largest business-to-customer (B2C) website in Asia, with more than 90 billion RMB in revenue recorded on Nov 11, 2015(China’s “Singles Day”). Despite their success, return rates have also grown accordingly. Compared with offline physical shops purchases, online shops experience a higher rate of refunds and exchanges. The lack of the buyer experience is perhaps the biggest weakness of e-commerce, that is the main reason why the online to offline (O2O) business strategy was created.
O2O is a business model where companies attract potential buyers to their physical stores through online marketing strategies. These strategies often consist in in-store pick up of items purchased online as well as offering the option of buying or experiencing the items directly at the store.
Fast moving consumer goods do not really have to offer the buyer experience since they are expected to sell quickly and for a low price, this is the main reason why O2O does not really suit this field. Durable consumer goods, like clothing, seem to have a huge potential, they are probably the best candidates for the implementation of O2. Let us say, for instance, that you would like to buy a new camera, you compare all the features of several models online, experience them in physical shops and then after you finally decided the model, you would simply place order online for a reasonable price. Everything fits perfectly. There has been an ongoing talk about this for years, Manufacturers know this, they would like to see this, but unfortunately results are not ideal.
Why is it so difficult for O2O commerce to evolve? Who has the advantages to start implementing an O2O business model? Should large Manufacturers, like those who own multiple shops, implement it? Should offline chain shops do it? Logistics companies? Online platforms? These are questions that have to be discussed. Let us talk about these one by one.
Most Manufacturers with lots of physical shops operate offline, they usually carry out the traditional business scheme; they manage shops and focus resources on shops rather than the end users. Very few manufacturers have their own Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for consumers, and even when they do, what happens to the employees at the shops? Sales volumes usually measure commissions and performance for employees, however with an O2O business model it makes it harder for manufacturers to keep track of their physical shops and employees performance. No companies have solutions for this, so employees in physical shops resist O2O, so for manufactures O2O is harder to be executed.
In the case of offline chain shops, employees manage products rather than sell them directly, and they have CRM systems for most of the consumers. The real problems these companies face is related to online traffic, do their offline consumers also have the habit of buying online? Even if they do, do they know the chain shops started an online business? Despite the attractiveness of implementing a fully online business, they are still more likely to succeed with a O2O business model. Suning is a real life example of this, with thousands of offline physical shops of household appliances, also expanding its categories one store at a time, and being the third in the Chinese E-commerce field. Their market share is a little more than 3%, far behind the first two companies, O2O is the trend but there is still a long way to go.
What about Logistics companies? Logistics means warehouses and more detailed consumer data; this is the main advantage here. SF-express started Hi-ke in 2014; the goal was to steal market shares from online platforms like Tmall and JD with SF-express’ logistics. This resulted in a lack of experience for consumers and complex order placing procedures.
Online platforms should also implement O2O for one reason, to keep the current e-commerce market share. Tmall and JD just started this; we will have to wait to see how it works out. Their weakness is still the lack of physical shop operation experiences.
O2O needs someone who can successfully implement the business model, in China currently there has been no one who had manage to do this, it seems that what the market needs is a pioneer in this field, future is bright, and the market gap is there, let us wait and see who will rise up.
This article was edited by Andres Arroyo Olson from 2Open.
The Great Firewall: a barrier for foreigners who live in China
China is a very attractive country, rich in culture and full of traditions that appeal to most foreigners, it is also a place that offers considerable rewards for those who are seeking business opportunities. Despite its attractiveness there are some cultural barriers every foreigner has to overcome if they are planning to live in China, and these could sometimes turn out to be quite exasperating. In order to get a regular life in China, a “lǎowài” (老外term used by Chinese to refer to foreigners) has a few things to keep in mind, visas, language food and the business cultural differences, etc.
Apart from these issues, one of the greatest problems “lǎowài” face is Internet censorship. In this country there is a great firewall that blocks many foreign websites. In theory, this firewall was created with the objective of avoiding citizens’ protests against government and thereby they can filter all the content that is not suitable for the government’s interests, in a way they are trying to protect their citizens from unsuitable foreign media. Many of the websites with the highest traffic from the rest of the world cannot be accessed from the people’s republic of China. Webpages like: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram among many others are not accessible with a conventional connection.
Some of these webpages have their own Chinese versions and are used by the Chinese community. Even though they do not have exactly the same functionalities and characteristics, here are some of the most famous ones with their Chinese counterparts, of course there are many more examples, but could be considered the most important ones:
It is practically unthinkable for a “lǎowài” to have to leave all the social networks and other webpages that he/she has been using for years and start using the Chinese versions. Luckily, there is one option in order to access to all the forbidden pages, without having to travel outside of Mainland China. The solution is a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which allows you to connect virtually to another network, in other words, when you connect using a VPN you are basically borrowing a server from another country, which tricks your computer into thinking it is located in that other country. As you do not seem to be connected from inside Mainland China, there is no firewall that prevents you to connect to all the desired webpages.
It is worth noticing to which country you are connecting to due to own governmental regulations, some countries also have restrictions that vary from blocked webpages to available downloadable content. Nowadays there are many companies offering VPN services. Here is a comparison between the most used providers in the market:
|Price per year||
Mac Os / iOS / Windows / Android / Linux
The great firewall is updated regularly, so there might be unable webpages one day that were working perfectly on the previous day. This is a reason for the VPN providers to stay on alert to those changes from the Chinese government. These are not the only VPN out there, there are a lot more VPN providers on the web, in case you feel adventurous. Lastly we would also advice you to respect governmental laws and regulations and also try the Chinese versions of your favorite app, and/or websites, who knows, you might end up liking it better.
This Article was edited by Andres Arroyo Olson from 2Open.
7 Facts You Need to Know About The Chinese Online Market
1. The Chinese online ecosystem is shaped by the actions of the B.A.T.
The B.A.T. is a group consisting of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. They are the dominant players in the Chinese online ecosystem. The dynamics of their competition and cooperation defines the boundary and possibilities of digital marketing and ecommerce in China. Each member of the B.A.T. dominates important segments of the online ecosystem: Baidu dominates the search engine market; Tencent is strong in social media, and Alibaba fiercely rules ecommerce. The results of this competition can provide inconveniences for online marketers. Baidu, for instance, is reluctant to direct search traffic to Tmall stores and pages, where in some cases a company will need special permission from Baidu to promote Tmall stores using Baidu’s Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
2. Baidu’s dominance in the search market
Baidu’s dominance in the Chinese search market means that most search engine related marketing activities requires the cooperation of Baidu to work. Baidu’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is different from Google’s SEO. Baidu still requires Meta data for proper indexing and it prioritizes loading speed quite heavily. Setting up SEM accounts with Baidu can either be an easy task that lasts for several working days or an excruciatingly slow and cumbersome process, which might take months to complete. This depends on the involved company’s policy match with Baidu’s requirements. There is also a minimum investment requirement for setting up an account. These can range from as low as 6,000 RMB to as much as 500,000 RMB depending on the type of account that is being opened. One of the most important aspects of Baidu’s listing is the absence of brand protection. This means that brand keywords can be bought by any paying parties willing to buy them. This might lead to unfair price based competition between official suppliers and the unofficial ones, or even from someone that sells fake products through proper channels.
3. Wechat is not just a messaging app; it is a lifestyle app that defines online interaction in China
It is hard not to know about Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in 2016, yet many are not familiar with Wechat if they live outside of China. Many foreigners regard Wechat as a Chinese version of Whatsapp but it is far from just a messaging app. To be more precise, Wechat combines the function of many known social media sites and utility apps. Users can chat, post their photos, sell items, make online payments, book a ride, buy transportation tickets, invest their money, and more. In addition to being used as a private app, it’s becoming more and more popular in the work place, mainly used for communications. With so many diverse functions and over 600 million registered users, marketers naturally want to use Wechat as a channel to communicate to their target audience. Wechat offers the possibility of a one on one customer service; creating customized functions to improve the brand experience. However, with the Wechat craze comes the high costs of Wechat marketing. Posting merketing content on a big account with upwards of 100,000 followers can cost as much as 80,000 RMB.
4. The Chinese consumer has embraced ecommerce faster than most markets
The rise of ecommerce in China surprised many outside observers. Many consumers born in the 80’s and 90’s have fully embraced the concept of ecommerce as the main way to purchase items. Anything from daily necessities to premium products can be purchased. The Chinese consumer responds well to online promotions and acceptance of new brands, however, most of them are still price sensitive. Foreign brands selling in the Chinese market to the Chinese consumer are less likely to be successful offline due to the high cost of real estate. Platforms such as Tmall and Jing Dong and vertical e-store are the best way to sell to consumers in China. Ecommerce events such as 11.11 are already a cultural phenomenon in China where the total transactions can be above 11 billion USD in one day.
5. China has one of the most highly regulated online environments in the world
China is one of the fastest growing online markets yet it is one of the most regulated ones. Traffic data going in and out of the country is heavily censored and is significantly slower than domestic traffic. This means that local hosting might be necessary for optimum speed. To publish a website, a company is required to obtain the Internet Content Provider (ICP) license to publish any content online. China has a very strict advertising law. Multinationals are regularly hit with fines for violating the law and some fines can go up to 100 million RMB. It is critical to study the proper regulations and laws before entering the Chinese market to prevent future risks and losses.
6. Mobile is not the future; it’s already the dominant traffic in China
In recent years, PC traffic has been decreasing 15% every year, whereas mobile traffic has been increasing as much as 20% in the same time frame. Many online retailers are reporting that most buyers are using their mobile phones to buy items online. Conversion for mobile traffic is also higher than PC traffic in many cases. This is due to the high penetration rate of smartphones as well as user reliance on mobile devices for online payments. It is easier for users to pay online with mobile phones than it is with their PC. Traditionally, consumers would use their PC to do extensive research before buying online. However, with improved mobile connectivity and mobile optimized websites, many consumers are abandoning PC and in some cases only uses PC for work related activities. The pay-per-click for mobile traffic can create as much as 300% higher than PC traffic in some industries, mainly due to limited advertising space and high demand.
7. Local content through local perspective
The Chinese market is still flooded with marketing contents that are just a direct translation from their original language. Some branding videos of multinational companies do not have Chinese voice-overs, only Chinese subtitles. While these contents do not necessarily fail to communicate their intended message, most have drastically reduced their effectiveness and recall rate due to being less relevant. In order to communicate effectively, companies need to dig deep to find relevant messages and hire local content producers as a bridge to effectively communicate to their Chinese consumers. This is especially relevant when publishing materials online, where the Chinese consumer expects instant gratification, not a bad translation.
This article was edited by Andres Arroyo Olson from 2Open.
Top 5 Chinese payment gateway for your website
The market of e-commerce stand alone websites growing very fast in China. In order to have your own e-shop website you need to consider to get a good payment gateway to accept your payments online.
Everyone who is new to ecommerce will tell you that the most difficult task is not only to decide which platform is the best one but also the different factors that you need to take into consideration when deciding which gateway best fits your needs. Choosing a payment gateway can be difficult, there’s a lot of competition, a lot of confusion and a lot of data to figure out before you can work out which payment gateway to choose. So we’ve decided to describe five of the most popular options to help charities see if we can try and help narrow down which Chinese payment gateway is the best for you: (more…)
General situation of fake products in China
It is common knowledge that fake products are everywhere in China, from large cities like Shanghai to remote small towns in Western China and, not surprisingly, online markets are not the exception, even though there is a lack of acknowledgment from their part, it seems that fake products are a part of China whether we like it or not.
The online market giant Alibaba group was sued in the U.S. regarding fake products regulations. According to Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, his company spends over one hundred million RMB each year on actions against counterfeit goods. The situation has improved considerately over the past few years, some shops have even been closed down due to this sort of issues. 2Open, as a company who deals everyday with marketing and e-commerce, is used to supervise online sales in China for many clients and the number of shops selling a certain brand with an unbelievably lower price has decreased noticeably in comparison with last year. There is still a lot of work to do, but exactly what types of products are more likely to be faked?
The most common faked goods are well-known brands, such as Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. If a new brand wants to enter China, it will seldom encounter issues regarding fake products. In this situation, just a small budget is needed for online marketing which could be used for setting up a shop on www.taobao.com, putting online Ads or even buying key words on search engines, all of which can have a positive effect and lead buyers to get to know your brand. Since you are the shop owner and the only supplier at this moment, the buyer will come to you directly; no other shops will take potential buyers from you.
Let us say your brand successfully entered the Chinese market, perhaps one day someone will start faking and selling your products, but how would this affect your brand? Some argue that this is just indicator of the success and popularity that your product has had in the Chinese market and that there are no reasons to be worried. Experts agree that there is plenty of space in the market for both parties; a lot of people prefer to buy original products for a higher price than fake ones for a lower one. Counterfeiting could be considered a promotion activity for a brand, after all, if you are confident about your products, put money into marketing, let people know about it, you will get money back, no doubts about it, but how is the future looking for fake goods?
According to Xinhuanet, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has gathered around four giant e-commerce platforms: Alibaba, Jingdong, Suning, Yihaodian to sign a cooperation agreement which will help to release inspection results of the fulfillment of product quality commitment. AQSIQ has developed a search platform of inspection of product quality, which will be put online for public use around March 15, 2016.
Fake products problems continue to plague the development of e-commerce. Jingdong and Alibaba have been fighting a war these days, accusing each other of not making efforts to end the fake goods. The offline scene does not look very bright either, street shops are now going through a rough time these days, people are getting used to purchase everything online, from groceries to electronics, during the singles day alone (Nov. 11, 2015) Taobao reached a sales volume of 91,217,017,615 RMB.
It is an Internet Era, no doubt about it, and counterfeit goods should not represent any obstacle if one should intent entering the Chinese market. A smart digital marketing strategy, like the one 2Open offers, can get your brand the recognition it deserves.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
This article was edited by Andres Arroyo from 2Open.
The commercialization of Wechat. User experience or profit?
January 11, 2016, Zhang Xiaolong, the man behind the curtain of the Wechat Empire, who had never given a public speech before, stepped onto the stage of Wechat Open Class and shared his opinion on Wechat’s values. The fact that Zhang stood out at this moment is a symbol of the crucial timing of Wechat’s commercialization.
Wechat has now approximately 650 million users; the process of monetization has never stopped in its five years’ existence. Long have begun the business services, such as Wechat payment, shopping, taxi ordering service, etc.
In his public speech, Mr. Zhang shared some of his concerns about the future of the Chinese IM giant. He said:
“Wechat Public Platform seems like a media platform, but we prefer the Public Platform to be more than that, we want to focus more on the developers and that is our goal for 2016. Where does this need come from? We found out that more and more start-ups initiate with a Wechat Offical Account instead of developing a mobile application because the latter costs way too much. A Wechat Official Account could achieve almost the same things but more cost-effectively.”
“It was not our intention to become a media platform, we have always wanted to build a platform to provide services,” Zhang said, “that is why we even created a Service Account in Wechat, but it has not quite met our requirements. Now we are developing a new form: Application Account. We hope that with this new form of Public Account, when users follow it, it will be as if they had just installed an application. This Application Account will be in silence mode for most of the time but when users need it; they will easily find it in the app. By doing this, we grant a lot of apps a lighter existing form and simplicity.”
The leader of Wechat also expressed a more strict regulation for commercial activities in Wechat “There will be more restrictions for marketing events in Wechat Moments, because meaningless content will take up users’ time. The same goes for other functions of Wechat, we hope that there is as little information as possible in Wechat, so that the users can focus on their tasks and finish them effectively.”
After trying to make money with advertisements, Zhang said that he wanted the commercialization of Wechat to be invisible and not a disturbing process based on monetizing of traffic.
One possible reason for the creation of the Application Account is that the current Service and Subscription accounts have impaired the users’ experience. Being buried in numerous and complicated piles of information distracts the users from their goals.
How to balance user experience and commercialization?
This is not a new challenge, and not just for Wechat, social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, who already have a mature advertising model based on information flow, come across the same problem every time they try to launch new product for advertising. Unfortunately, there is no existing remedy for this headache.
At the moment, ads in Moments follow several basic rules: if users opt out or just leave it there, the possibility that this ad appears in your friends’ time-line is only 20%. The percentage will rise to 95% if you click, like or comment on it.
Each ad will be able to circulate for seven days, while every single user will only receive one ad within 48 hours. An ad with no likes or comments will be removed within six hours.
We have discussed a lot about the commercialization of Wechat, but is there a possibility that the commercialization of Wechat is not limited by the current models? Could it be possible that the commercialization of Wechat is outside of Wechat?
To understand this, we need to know some fundamental values of Wechat.
- Wechat provides us an essential ID in the era of Mobile Internet – a Wechat account. We use it to keep track of our life and business organizations use it to find us. Before Wechat, the cellphone number was the most important ID, or even earlier we had our e-mail address.
- Wechat has created Public Accounts, this not only solves the problem of digital identity for offline businesses, but also enables a new communication model: one user to many users information exchange, interactive feedback, rich media and mobilization.
- It provides the information flow the highest degree of freedom. We can contact our friends quickly and conveniently by sending messages, sharing information in Moments or through a group chat. All of this has created conditions for a more dynamic flow of money and information.
- This value is still yet unclear however, it would be an important one. Wechat could use Wechat Accounts to locate users and Public Accounts to locate businesses, accumulating trading data between users and businesses so that they could create a “Cloud of consumption”. Based on this cloud, Wechat may provide services like memberships to users or CRM to businesses.
In a word, the commercialization of Wechat is based on output and monetization of these four fundamental values instead of the commercialization of the Wechat as a mobile application itself.
What do you think?
Let us know.
This article was edited by Andres Arroyo from 2Open.