Your next buyer could be in China

Your next buyer could be in China

Wednesday, March 15, 2017Lindsay Hampson The time is now for North American brands to sell in Asia.  

Technology is in place.  Experts are ready to assist.  Lessons have been learned. 

An impressive list of US brands (such as Nike, Starbucks, GAP, Pizza Hut, Mercedes Benz, IKEA, Buick and Apple) are adding a lucrative Chinese arm to their commerce strategy. 

This blog provides a starting point for your own consideration of a market play outside North America.  Tactics to grow your bottom line are limited only by your creativity and curiosity, right? 
 
Today.
 
As world-wide buyers flip…
  • from malls to online shopping,
  • from computer to mobile,  
  • and from week long delivery to 2 day shipping expectations,

    ... following trend are the world’s most successful brands. And, now they are turning to the Chinese Marketplace to grow their businesses exponentially.  
 
Why consider a China strategy for your brand?
 
While the USA will likely have the world’s largest economy in 2030, China is forecasted to follow just behind it.  Read: huge opportunity for growth in your sales numbers, too. 
 
At present, Amazon owns more than 50% of the North American online shopping market-share.  If your online prospect is looking to buy batteries, they are likely surfing Amazon’s virtual aisles more than anywhere else. 
 
The same reality is true for Alibaba, China’s version of “Amazon.”
 
Ready for some quick-fire stats?
 
At present, 29% of the world’s online shoppers are in China.  Just 11% are in the US. 
 
At present, sending a package in USA is about $23 USD, compared to the average package in China at $1.16 USD. 
 
At present, Cyber Monday sales total approximately 3.45 Billion, per year.
 
At present, the China-equivalent of Cyber Monday – called “Singles Day” – totaled approximately 17.8 Billion, per year.  98,000 merchants participated.  37% of sales were from international brands.  657 Million orders were generated.  Singles Day is actually about 6 times that of our 2 biggest shopping holidays in North America. 
 
And, Chinese buyers are choosing US brands (authentic, shipping from North American) in their top counties to purchase from. 
 
So the answer to ‘Why China?’ is simple.  The dollars are there.  The demand is there.
 
When to consider a China strategy?
 
Now. US-brand hungry Chinese buyers are looking for authentic products to buy, today. 
 
Ten years ago, many retailers and sellers considered the China market, but opted out.  Logistics, language and culture stood in the way.  But these roadblocks have been carefully considered, and a reusable model is ready. 
 
The truth is, while there were reasons to pass on a China strategy ten years ago, you might not be able to afford to pass on one now.
 
Where should your consideration begin?
 
This blog is a start.  Speaking to fellow sellers, researching partners, and visiting local meet-ups could help you get your pen to paper. 
 
Another great place to start is Alibaba.com.  (Remember, it is the Chinese Amazon) 
They own many online properties, but their most lucrative is TMall.  TMall is a fast, easy, reliable mall at the fingertips of 493 million active buyers across Asia.  12 million packages are shipped a day from orders on TMall. 
 
One of the top countries TMall Global Shoppers Ordered from in 2016 was, you guessed it, USA. 
 
Alipay, a payment system associated with Alibaba, transacts 400 Million active users’ payments to account for 64 Trillion transactions per year. 
 
Rather than speak via email, buyers and sellers in China communicate via a built-in chat service, WeChat, to exchange information, shipping #s, etc.  It is truly a different model altogether than what we’re used to in North America. 
 
Channel Advisor is a multi-channel partner who enables sellers to sell across Amazon, eBay, Walmart Marketplace, etc.  But also, they connect to Alibaba.  Simply find an experienced partner to enable your omni channel strategy.
 
VoyageOne is a proven partner for translation: including cultural, technology and language.  A seller page in China looks very different than a seller page in North America.  They know the buyer better than you do.  Trust their expertise and let them transform your products and content into a welcomed and effective tool in China. 
 
To wrap.
 
It took Walmart more than 50 years to reach 3 Trillion in sales, while only 13 years for Alibaba. 
 
It certainly isn’t going to happen with a flip of a switch, but a China strategy is a smart next step for the typical US brand. 
 
You have questions, no doubt.
  • “My products are actually made in China.  Why would I ship from the US to China?”
  • “My content is in English”
  • “China doesn't leverage Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  How will we communicate?”
 
Get your questions out in the open, answered, and start some preliminary testing of your own.  Enlist partners like VoyageOne, and ChannelAdvisor to be your guide and get the right message to your next buyer. 
 
While I am not saying today must begin your Chinese entrance, it should at the least be on your radar.  If you are a US retailer and you have an eCommerce business, there is no reason you cannot sell in Asia. 
 
Thank you to ChannelAdvisor, VoyageOne and Alibaba for the great content at Catalyst2017 in Nashville, TN.  We are a proud partner of ChannelAdvisor, and look forward to helping clients make their way to new, exciting and proven markets outside of North America. 
 
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