Australian Online Retail Marketing Opportunities in China

By Sylvia Wei | 22 Nov 2016

Deterred by safety and quality issues with domestic products, Chinese consumers are increasingly looking to Australia to buy directly through cross-border e-Commerce.

China’s e-Commerce landscape is evolving rapidly, offering Australian brands and online retailers an opportunity to take advantage of and tap into a huge overseas market.

In order to get competitive in the Chinese market,  you need to be aware of and adopt the latest marketing trends influencing its consumers, to promote customer engagement and acquire new customers at a lower cost.

As traditional marketing channels continue to lose their influence in acquiring consumers, new channels have emerged to solve this problem. Live streaming and online celebrity marketing are the latest channels employed by the Chinese e-Commerce market to reinvigorate the sagging online marketing industry.

The power of online celebrities

While the marketing influence of celebrities in the Western world is useful, online celebrities in China, known as key opinion leaders (KOLs), have a very powerful influence over consumers.

The success of social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, has given rise to a number of influential bloggers and social commentators, as well as the usual suspects including national celebrities and politicians. These online celebrities mainly attract followers by being an authority on a particular subject and gain credibility through a long history of interacting with them.

Traditionally, online advertising works as a funnel model. As the communication curve extends, the number of receivers decreases, forming a funnel-like model. However, online celebrity marketing can generate a ripple effect – the brand communication works like a ripple, which transmits the brand information without being weakened.

Not only are online celebrities experts in a particular field, their reputation is based on the accuracy of the information they provide. As a result, they’re often regarded as more trustworthy and influential than advertising. This makes followers less likely to be deterred by ads, which means online celebrities can subtly persuade them to make a purchase.

Leveraging high-profile online celebrities boasting millions of followers is a very effective strategy to reach target audiences. Your retail business has the potential to directly influence the Chinese community at large and reach thousands or even millions of potential customers.

Live streaming phenomenon helps boost engagement

The growing popularity of live streaming rides on tech-savvy Chinese consumers craving a real-time connection with online personalities. User generated video streams are broadcast on various live streaming apps such as the very popular Inke and Huajiao. These services in China differ from others worldwide as most offer a way to profit.

Combined with online celebrities, live streaming means ane-Commerce traffic goldmine waiting to be tapped into. Viewers can simultaneously engage with the host at any moment while they are watching, increasing the chances of them placing orders. This offers a high conversion rate for those retailers and brands advertising using this channel.

Building the bridge between Chinese consumers and Australian and NZ retailers

To demonstrate how retailers can benefit from these online marketing channels, a 12-person delegation of Chinese online celebrities and editors recently toured Australia and New Zealand to understand the authenticity and reliability of local ethical products.

The delegation visited the stores and warehouses of five retail businesses that all have established e-Commerce businesses in China, including, Pharmacy Online, Pharmacy 4 Less, Amcal, Kiwi Discovery and Pharmacy Direct.

In return, the online celebrities shared their experiences online and the tour was broadcast on live streaming channels. This gave Chinese consumers a glimpse into how their favourite products from Australia and New Zeland are packaged and distributed, showcasing the quality of the products they plan to purchase. During the live streaming, purchase links were pushed to viewers to place orders immediately.

This campaign helped these retailers develop more effective and rewarding channels, as well as better understand what Chinese consumers need and want. It demonstrates how Australian retailers can drive awareness of their brands and products in China to take their online retail businesses to the next level.


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