Every year Chinese spend 100 billion yuan in wine.
However, there has yet to be a leader in wine brokerage or retailing because of the low prices set by the e-commerce companies. Until 2010, most of the wine business was held via corporate and government affiliates as well as gaining clients through networking. High prices were easy to set since not many had any real knowledge of the market back then.
Nowadays, smaller wine agents have issues accessing retailing platforms such as supermarkets. They usually charge 300 yuan per item per store. This means that shelving item cost can go through the roof to cost more 100000 yuan a year.
On the other hand, importing wine is seen as a business with good potential for the next five years. 10 years ago, the vast majority of the wine market in China was overtaken by three main players :
China Great Wall Wine
Now, this is changing with imported wine totalling 30% of the total. In 2012 China became the world first wine consumer, leaving behind France and the US. From 2008 to 2013 there has been a 136% increase in the number of bottle of red wine bought according to a report from Vinexpo.
Chinese are experiencing a profound change in quality of life, marked by the rise of the middle class. In addition, Chinese do not feel compelled to buy to give gifts as they used to before. Retail sector was just a third of the total wine market but will definitely change as the rising middle class will be more and more likely to use their newly acquired wealth and leisure time.
As you can see the Chinese wine market is still maturing which means that there are a number of business opportunities ready for the taking.
What is the most efficient way to seize them?
After the deep change that happened in Chinese history, the country is turned toward the future and the new technologies. Internet is unarguably integrated to Chinese daily life:
According to the latest figures
- 632 million netizen in China (48.6% of China population)
- 83% of them use their phone to go online and therefore are present on-line 24h/7.
These figures show very well that you must design a digital marketing strategy to reach your key targets.
How do you do that?
You must increase the visibility of your brand and publish high quality content following the right guidelines, using the right channel
Where do customers go to find information about wine they would like to drink?
In China the first place your customers will want to go to is Baidu, the most important search engine in China with more than 80% shares on the search engine market.
Therefore, the place to be the most visible on is Baidu. For that to happen, it is mandatory to start a Search Engine Marketing campaign using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC to increase your brand awareness.
How does it work?
People use key words to find information on Search engines such as Baidu. Improving the ranking is critical to have a good inbound traffic toward your website.
To understand the importance of such a method you have to know that 85% of the requests stop at the first page. This means that if you are not within the results of the first page your wine brand will have little chance to be sold on-line because of lack of visibility since only 15% of the traffic will reach the page where your website appears.
Choosing the right key words in a PPC campaign or pay per click campaign gives you automatically a spot at the top of the SERP for some key words.
PPC is very useful for the short term but needs to be mixed with a SEO campaign to get the best results.
Social networks are everywhere in China, much more present than in Europe or even in the US. In China you must forget facebook and the like, they amount to naught. Weibo and Wechat are your best bet to establish a good community that will raise your brand image and help you understand the perception your customers have of your brand.
Buzz marketing consists in publishing multimedia content to raise your brand awareness very quickly. It is most useful when your brand has yet to be known
On the internet there are on-line journals and blogs you need to publish regularly onto in order to raise brand image and brand awareness.
Wine is also an experience Chinese people are more and more fond of. Teaching people how to enjoy wine is a good way to increase your brand image since they will associate your brand with expertise.
Here is a video
In this video, Philip Osenton, a wine expert is giving a course of wine testing. A wine brand setting such a video would benefit from the host reputation and would use a subtil way of introducing its wines. Indeed a brand would have the chance to describe its way under the best light possible and make sure that the right message is sent.
Competitive prices :
- First, even though wines are often considered as luxury products, Chinese consumers want to have the cheapest prices.
- Second e-commerce is here, pushing the prices even lower.
Often customers will find information about a brand they want to buy and try to find cheaper versions of it.
Yes Wine : an e-commerce website specialised in wine selling
Wines are all about prestige and quality. Reputation in China is everything, should you find yourself the target of rumours you need to be able to nip them in the bud. For this a wine company can call onto community managers that will do damage control in order to free themselves from the bad comments. At the end of the operation all the bad comments will have been pushed away leaving only the good comments visible.
China has completely changed its ways of doing business. When you enter a new market you have to adapt to its rules and codes. Here they are all digital. This article showed you the outline of what has to be done in order to sell your wine in China. However, in order to ensure success you also need experts that will do it well.
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