The growth of e-commerce shoppers in China is expected to continue over the years, with a projected 931.8 million shoppers spending an average of US$985 annually 4 years from now. The potential for growth in China, and the ease that cross border e-commerce accords to businesses interested in entering the Chinese market has led businesses to wonder what the top categories of consumer goods are, and whether their products are suitable for the insatiable Chinese consumer appetite.
As the Chinese population becomes more affluent and consumer preferences become more sophisticated, demand for imported brands and goods have soared. Total import value of foreign goods hit a record RMB 30,505 billion in 2018, a growth of almost 10% from 2017, and is expected to maintain steady growth over the next few years. Despite the rapid increase in demand, many foreign brands still find it challenging to enter the Chinese market. In this article, we explore 3 key routes of China market entry and explore the pros and cons of each method.
Over the years, the growth of the Chinese economy has shown signs of cooling. Despite that, China is still adding an equivalent of "an Australia" to it's GDP each year. This not only indicates the growth of the middle-class population, but also the increasing affluence of this Chinese middle-class. Sales records are constantly being broken, with the recent 6/18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival even breaking the record set in last year's 11/11 Global Shopping Festival.
Here are five trends that are shaping the demand of Chinese consumers, and what it means for you as a foreign brand owner.
Our second Walking into Digital Transformation series was a great success! More than 50 business owners and marketers attended this seminar, finding out about The Journey of Brands by The Brand Fellows Director, Jingle Chen. The seminar covered topics ranging from the key elements to branding, to the importance of marketing in communicating a brand's beliefs and promises to its target audience.
Part of the importance of how branding can lead to the success of your business is in its marketing strategy. Increasingly, there is a need for a strong content marketing strategy for effective communication of the brand to its consumers.
Find out more about how you can strengthen your content marketing game with the Alibaba Content Marketing Programme, or sign up to our mailing list below to stay updated about upcoming events and programme from SIRS!
Think about the last time you bought a new product - was it a cosmetic product that you saw on an advertisement, or perhaps it was bubble tea from the first outlet of the hottest Taiwanese bubble tea chain. Whichever the product you have purchased, or service that you have utilised, you have subconsciously gone through the consumer journey.
What is the consumer journey?
In short, the consumer journey is the process that every consumer goes through from the discovery, to the consumption of a product or service, whether consciously or otherwise. With the advent of new communication and digital technology, consumer behaviour has also become more sophisticated, altering the consumer journey. This process has also forced businesses to become more consumer-centric; delighting the consumer has never been more important.
What this also means is that marketers need to update their marketing techniques through strategies such as content marketing in order to continually delight consumers, and for consumers to remain loyal to a brand.
The Alibaba CEO Programme is a 6-day 5-night immersive study trip, organised in partnership with Alibaba. Held in Hangzhou, home to Alibaba, the recently concluded trip on 12 – 17 June 2019 saw 42 business owners and entrepreneurs experience the world of New Retail, while learning new tips and tricks in reinventing their businesses.
Over the course of the trip, participants gained valuable insights into the trend of New Retail, how it has impacted consumer behaviours, as well as the need for a shift in business mindsets and strategies. Participants also got to learn how technology has made businesses more consumer-oriented, and gained strategic knowledge in achieving sustainable growth and business success in a competitive market such as China.
At the end of the trip, participants received the highly-valued Alibaba University Graduate Certificate, jointly awarded by Alibaba Business School and SIRS.
Digital Economy 5.0 denotes the breaking down of geographical borders and different sectors through the introduction of modern technology, marking the need for a shift in strategies to succeed in the rapidly transforming business landscape.
As of 2018, Alibaba has become the equivalent of the 22nd largest economy in the world and aims to become the 5th largest global economy by 2036. Speaking to more than 100 PMEs from NTUC UFLX on 21 May 2019, SIRS Digital Commerce Lead David Lee shared some of his insights to what has made Alibaba such a successful company, and what will propel them further as they strive towards their 2036 goals.
In his analysis, David identified 5 key points that makes Alibaba a global force to reckon with.
As Singapore’s leading retail training institute, SIRS is constantly enhancing its training programmes to ensure that retailers are kept at the forefront of the rapidly evolving industry.
In addition to the range of digital transformation courses that are provided through its Digital Commerce efforts, since 2016, SIRS partnered major Chinese firms such as Alibaba, Dodoca, and Zhubajie, introducing a series of study tours to provide retailers with a firsthand, immersive learning experience.
Read how some of the business owners who have participated in SIRS’ study tours have benefitted, and transformed their business strategies in the full article here.
Interested in learning how your business can keep up with the times? Find out about the different China study trips, and kickstart your journey with SIRS right here.
Just last month, Singapore‘s first “网红” (internet celebrity) was borne. Lerine Yeo, or affectionately known in the online community as the ‘S-hook sales lady” sold 100 pieces of “holey” shirts and shot to fame in just a few days, garnering more than 2 million views. She had just demonstrated the huge potential of live streaming.
So how did she do it?
In our recent Alibaba Global Course Series: New Marketing in April 2018, we shared about the new trends in marketing and one of the hot topic was live-streaming, which blends entertainment into e-commerce, giving the buzz word, entertainmerce. According to Chinese Renaissance Securities, in 2016 live-streaming produced revenues of more than 30 billion yuan ($4.3 billion). This figure is to increase by more than 300% by 2020.
What about Singapore? Platforms such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live Streaming, Instagram Live and others are just some avenues you can explore.
Interaction with consumers is the key ingredient for entertainmerce success, allowing customers to interact real-time with the host, akin to chatting with your friends.
SIRS analysed the 3 things Ms Yeo has done right and how you too can apply to your business:
1.Know your audience and relate to them:
She uses terms that are very relatable to her Singapore audiences. From her natural Singlish to the everyday life scenarios such as buying “kueh png” (chicken rice) at the market and having “no hands to carry”.
Identify your target groups based on your product by analysing their age, preferences and shopping habits.
2.State the unique selling points of your products
While it was merely a black top with some holes, but she was able to creatively highlight the selling point to her targeted group of female shoppers who have difficulty holding on to the many things bought during shopping.
What pain points do your products solve for your audience? Can you creatively bring out the features of your products? React honestly to your audiences’ feedback and questions.
3.Create your personal brand
She has established herself as someone candid. Her sense of humour was entertaining and made her audiences feel that it was not just a sales pitch but an entertaining comedy. They can trust her with their honest opinions and feedbacks.
Creating your personal branding allows the right brands to look for you for brand endorsement. Your personal brand also enable your consumers to remember you .
*SIRS brings you a four-part Alibaba Global Course Series to deep dive into key topics that allow you to make the most of New Retail to achieve your e-commerce success. Keep a look out on our Facebook for the second series ‘New Retail’, happening in March 2019!
The retail industry has undergone massive transformation in the last 10 years. The use of social media, flexibility of payment, improved logistics, and the prevalent use of smartphones have contributed to the rapid growth of the online retail scene.
Since the 1990s, internet companies such as Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon have been providing excellent platforms for information sharing on brands and prices to potential consumers overseas. In the early 2000s, forums like CozyCot and Flowerpod provided platforms for strangers with common interests to communicate. These two developments became the essential factors for a “spree” to take place; strangers with a common buying interest come together online to meet a minimum order quantity required by overseas sellers and share the delivery cost. Consumers were the driving force of the start of online purchasing.
At the same time when forums were emerging, online weblogging, or ‘blog’ in short, was also gaining popularity. Individuals shared their views and opinions using user friendly templates on platforms such as BlogSpot and LiveJournal. Soon, these platforms became another avenue for blog owners to sell their products, thus leading to the birth of the blog-shop. Product images and information including specifications and price were readily displayed on blog-shops. Buyers could email their orders and make payment through bank or ATM transfers to the blog-shop owners. Blog-shops are also known as digital retail shops, with payment and back-end functions done offline.
As online retailing activities grew, it stimulated the development of online retail content management system (CMS) and digital payment methods. An online retail CMS through third party vendors, e.g. Shopcada, could be installed into a blog-shop, thus providing a more professional and easier to use interface for shoppers, with functions such as itemised pages in categories and add-to-cart check out. There would also be a back-end database that allowed sellers to track sales and inventory, and generate reports, transforming blog-shops into professional e-commerce websites. Local digital payment methods, such as iBanking, are also preferred over PayPal, an international digital currency that was common in the early days of Amazon and eBay.
In recent years, e-marketplaces like Qoo10, Alibaba, Taobao, and Lazada, are seeing increasing popularity with consumers. These websites provide buyers with a one-stop shop convenience, allowing consumers to buy from many different retailers under one website. Coupled with strong marketing efforts including festive promotions, customer relationship management, membership status rewards, customer reactivation campaigns, search engine optimisation and search engine marketing, these e-marketplaces are fast becoming favourites of sellers. The zero set-up cost and user-friendly templates of these e-marketplaces have also kept the barrier of entry to this business low in Singapore.
What is the next development in e-retail world? Will you be the next entrepreneur?