Omni-channel marketing provides a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. This allows customers to engage with a company in a physical store, a website, mobile app or social media.
With more than 600 million internet users and more than $US899 billion in online spending, China is the world’s biggest online shopping market and one of the most digitised countries. As the e-commerce market continues its meteoric rise, it's now more important than ever for businesses to implement omni-channel marketing strategies that deliver a consistent experience across online and offline platforms.
Whether it’s insurance or luxury brands, the omni-channel marketing experience is essential for businesses looking to thrive in China.
A look at the e-commerce landscape in China today
A report by EY found that in 2010 only 23 per cent of China’s urban population shopped online. Last year, China’s consumers accounted for 42.8 per cent of the world’s e-commerce sales and this is projected to rise to nearly 60 per cent in 2020 – almost triple what it was a decade prior.
The increase in smartphones in China has contributed to this growth in e-commerce. The same EY report found that in 2014, there were more than 780 million active smartphone users across the nation, and around 25 per cent of customers made purchases through their mobile phone on a weekly basis. Even in rural areas, which have less than 20 per cent internet penetration, more than 60 per cent of consumers are e-commerce users.
Tips on creating a successful omni-channel marketing strategy
Given the prominence of e-commerce in China, it’s essential to have a strategy in place that creates a seamless experience across third-party websites, your own website and any bricks-and-mortar stores you may have.
If you want to implement an omni-channel marketing strategy for your business in China, here are a few tips to help it thrive:
- Be on third-party websites, but do it well. China’s top 10 favourite websites are all e-commerce sites – including TMall, JD, 51Buy and Amazon China. In order to reach the maximum number of consumers, it’s important to be on third-party websites. To protect your own brand identity and image, it’s vital to collaborate with third-party providers to make sure your brand’s merchandising, pricing and product descriptions are consistent with your other sales channels.
- Ensure a consistent customer service experience. As customers access your business through multiple touchpoints, it's essential that their experience is the same no matter where they go. Whether a customer orders from TMall, receives their product from a third-party delivery company or complains over the phone, it’s imperative they receive the same level of service to avoid conflicting experiences with your brand. To do this, identify the key touchpoints with customers in your business, and focus on creating processes and controls to ensure these experiences are up to your business’s standard. It doesn’t hurt to try a mystery shopper either, to help you identify any holes.
- Focus on the data. Consumers behave differently on third-party websites than they do in stores, over the phone and at an online store. In order to ensure you’re getting the most out of your different sales channels, dive into your data to see which channels are performing best and where further investigation or improvement needs to be made. Key insights to look for include abandoned shopping carts on your own website versus on third-party websites, which products are popular on different channels, satisfaction rates and exchanges or returns on third-party sites versus your own.
Ultimately, China’s growing e-commerce market holds an incredible amount of promise for local and global businesses. With the right omni-channel strategy and attention to market innovations, businesses stand the best chance of capitalising on the booming online shopping industry.