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What do I need to know about customer expectation in China?

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Author: Christina Xu, Business Solutions Manager, Webcertain

 

China offers huge opportunities for retailers; Chinese consumers are currently buying online from over 100 countries and it is predicted that the number of cross-border consumers will reach 36 million by 2018.

Take Amazon for example; in the first 6 months in 2016 alone, cross-border sales on Amazon are four times higher than the same period in 2015.

 

The opportunities are definitely there, but so are the challenges. Whether or not a business can succeed in China comes down to how much it knows about the consumers it’s targeting.

 

The majority of the Chinese buyers online are young, well-educated, with high incomes and there are a few things which are very important to this group.

 

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Quality and brand
The boom of cross-border purchases came about due to the lack of trust consumers had in domestic brands, so they started to seek brands and products outside of China to fulfil their needs for safe, quality products, particularly for food and skin care products. Consumers expect that the brand is well-known, at least in its home country and place a lot of value on recommendations by either celebrities or word-of-mouth endorsements. Consumers are eager to find out lots about your brand and its quality, so make sure that information is easy to find online and in your product descriptions.

 

Country of origin
As Western markets, in general, are more regulated, the country of origin is a symbol of quality assurance, even if the brand is not well-known. Chinese consumers will seek the country of origin information, so making it visible and easy to find will help drive sales.

 

Bargains
Another reason Chinese consumers are keen on cross-border shopping is because many products are much cheaper outside of China, due to the heavy import tax and additional costs imposed on products. This typically applies to most designer brands in the clothing and cosmetic categories; buyers are always looking for genuine, quality products from abroad that cost less than they would in China.

 

Uniqueness
For Chinese customers, purchases are not just about acquiring a product, but also elevating their social status. A good purchase will make people feel good in their social circle; the more unique a product, the more it will stand out from the competition and appeal to consumers.

 

Delivery
Finally, express delivery is essential. Chinese domestic carriers can reach any corner of China within a week, and the delivery cost is normally covered by the sellers. When it comes to cross-border eCommerce, the consumers expect the same level of service from overseas vendors.

 

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