Marketing campaigns are successful when they incorporate customer insight. How can Western brands meet the needs of Chinese online consumer market?
China’s attraction to Western brands
Western brands are highly valued and considered to be of exceptional quality by Chinese consumers. China is a lucrative market for designer brands, but smaller and newer Western brands can also succeed.
Western brands are perhaps best known for this characteristic. As a result of the sophisticated, discerning and increasingly affluent audience of Chinese buyers,
Quality will be an attribute that will greatly appeal to them, whether it is a prestigious university course, a boutique hotel or travel experience, or a high-quality physical product.
Because Chinese consumers are exposed to counterfeit products, unbranded, locally produced goods are naturally suspicious.
When authentic Western brands remain true to their values (such as quality, style, heritage, and so on), they are more likely to gain the trust of a Chinese audience – both now and in the future.
It is expected that quality brands will perform well for Chinese consumers. The more sophisticated technologies, luxury materials, and premium products they choose, the more they will pay.
In the case of services, performance can be measured in terms of results, such as employment achievement following completion of a certain higher education programme. This can be followed by superb customer service during a trip. Brand experiences must live up to their promises if they are to be successful.
Premium brands, which signal sophisticated and economic sophistication to peers, are willing to charge more to Chinese customers despite their price-conscious nature. Designer brands are particularly affected by this.
Because imported equivalents within China tend to be more expensive, Chinese consumers often purchase prestige via eCommerce channels from brands in the West.
Chinese consumers also believe that purchasing from a Western brand would provide them with a wider variety of choice (for example, they would have access to more clothing, accessories, makeup, etc.). By doing so, Western brands can offer a variety of offerings – whether it’s international business courses or luxury leather handbags – to win new Chinese customers.
Outward-looking, sophisticated, and increasingly global Chinese audiences are extremely interested in Western lifestyles, history, and culture.
Heritage-inspired Western brands – like Cambridge Satchels and Dior – will find the market highly responsive to their particular brand values. To feel a deep emotional connection to a brand, Chinese customers appreciate its rich, authentic heritage story.
7. Fresh experiences
New experiences fascinate Chinese people, and they enjoy traveling. Consequently, Western food, clothing, and wine are in greater demand. New Chinese consumers can be engaged and delighted by western brands in two ways – by the product offering itself, which broadens their horizons, sophistication, and aspirations, and by the marketing that enhances and enriches the experience.
Chinese digital marketing is more easily integrated into Western brands’ campaigns at home than it is in China because of the scope and cutting-edge nature of Chinese digital technology.
8. Personalized communication
Due to their sophisticated online shopping habits, Chinese consumers expect individualized, relevant, and tailored communications from brands. Additionally, they expect the communication to appear on WeChat and Weibo, as well as other Chinese social media platforms.
The first step in creating a tailored campaign is for brands to ensure that their brand and its values relate to the needs and wants of their target Chinese audience.
9. Ease of purchase
Additionally, Chinese consumers expect their chosen Western brands to provide seamless e-commerce functionality along with tailored digital communications. Western brands’ websites and eCommerce stores should integrate Chinese social media platforms with eCommerce store functionality. Whenever possible, smartphone purchases should be easy to complete.
It is expected that Chinese customers will continue to enjoy the brand experience from the advertising through the service experience when they choose to patronize a quality Western brand.
Service should be above and beyond what is expected from Western brands. In e-commerce sites offering shipments to China, personalized thank you cards could be included in gift-wrapping.
Further vouchers and promotions for future sales are also valued, as are dust bags and care products for luxury bags and shoes. Customer delight and retention should be considered at every service touchpoint.
A consistent brand experience across all touchpoints is expected in the Chinese market, which is highly sophisticated. From their Chinese website to their KOL partnerships and ePR activities, to their online advertising, brands should invest in all their digital assets.
Review posts on forums, recommendations made in private social networks, and comments made on social media websites indicate a high level of engagement among Chinese online customers.
As a result, Western brands need to pay close attention to their digital presences and keep track of them, analyze them regularly, engage with their audiences, and interact with them. All digital engagements should be managed by an agency that provides back-end analytics to show how effective a campaign is.
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