Display material on the e-store. Have high-quality material for online store display, including pictures, videos and descriptions. While two pictures may work on Amazon, Tmall wants at least five pictures per SKU. Chinese consumers want to see quality visuals and we recommend a range of product, lifestyle and how-to videos.
Make sure products and materials are “China-ready.” China is the world’s most competitive market for consumer goods—if some of your products are only “good enough,” leave them at home. Pay attention to packaging. Defective packaging or packaging that does not meet Chinese consumers’ expectations will explode in your comments, causing reputational damage.
Be prepared to spend on marketing. There is no point in launching e-commerce in China for a brand like DermiClean unless they are willing to invest in marketing for a sustained period. Just showing up does nothing. They can design the nicest e-store, but their brand is basically unknown, and no one will find the store. To get visitors to buy requires creative and sustained spending, both on-store and throughout the ecosystem. Effective e-commerce TP partnering will be much more cost efficient than any of the other paths. Use the comparative savings to ensure success.
Keep your brand well managed. Some TPs may be good at selling your product, but at the long-term cost of your brand. Brand owners should sign off on marketing plans, design, messaging, etc. At our company, for example, we have both a brand manager and store manager, with the former “owning” the brand. Re-branding in China can only stretch so far. If you are a drugstore brand at home, then you won’t be able to re-position yourself as premium luxury in China.
Be aware of platform algorithms. Platform algorithms determine your rankings, and your rankings have direct influence on many components of your program. These are “black boxes,” and the components and relationships within are not public. But there are sensitivities built-in that must always be considered. These algorithms will take down shops that have negative comments, out-of-stock products, poor customer service, and flat or negative trending traffic and sales. If for your product, slower traffic growth is more sustainable, then do that – rebuilding is expensive and time consuming.
Have proper expectations. Great products, marketing
and an effective partner can take a company like DermiClean a long way,
but manage your expectations. Sales will not explode in the first three
months. It takes time for consumers to find you, try your product, tell
their friends, return for more, and to see organic traffic and
conversion increase. What is your time goal for $1 million? For $5
million, $20 million? Be aggressively realistic and focus on execution.
China is rewarding for those that make the cut.