Since the pandemic restrictions are still in place in China, sending consumers online for their everyday needs, e-Commerce becomes ever more popular in the country. The two dominant tech companies have also made the digital customer journey seamless, making it easy for consumers to buy online and use digital payments. As a result, both local and foreign brands need to prioritise marketing their products and services online to increase reach and sales.
Quick facts on the e-Commerce space in China
The three major players in the B2C e-Commerce space in China are Taobao, TMall and JD.com. Each of these platforms allow brands to have their own verified shopfronts and control their marketing and messaging with highly customisable landing pages. However, over the last few years, several niche sites are gaining traction with a host of innovative social features. For example, Xiaohongshu is very popular among women and contains Pinterest-style boards that users can share and buy directly on the platform. Similarly, Pinduoduo is gaining popularity in the smaller cities with its social features like group buying. So, it is important to keep an eye out for up-and-coming players. To learn more, visit Alarice International to find the right platform for your brand.
E-Commerce, m-Commerce and social commerce in China
E-Commerce, m-Commerce and social commerce are inextricably linked in China because of the unified customer journey from social media sites to e-Commerce sites and then to payment applications. China has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates with more than a billion smartphone users, so naturally most shopping is done through one’s mobile phone.
Social commerce has always been popular in China, especially influencer and KOL marketing, as many consumers follow the recommendations of their favourite KOLs, and brands do leverage these KOLs to increase awareness of their products. Additionally, some e-Commerce sites like Pinduoduo has a very strong social commerce features that allow for groups to operate together in their spending activities. In fact, social commerce has seen a triple-digit growth in recent years.
Main platforms to buy and sell products in a B2B context
While Alibaba is a big name globally, things are a bit different locally. The largest players in the market are Taobao, TMall and JD.com. These platforms have cornered the market on both B2C and B2B e-Commerce and with their parent company’s payment systems in place, they make digital transactions easy and convenient for customers.
The Chinese e-Commerce market has been dominated by the first-movers for a while but things are slowly changing as more diverse tastes emerge among consumers. Having a top-down approach starting with the biggest sites and then investing in niche markets will be a good strategy to start.