9 Strategies for Marketing International Brands to Chinese Customers

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Written by: Thùy Linh


Many marketers in China complain that consumers here are not brand loyal and are always willing to give up one brand they are using for another. According to marketing experts, when faced with this disloyal consumption pattern, it is very difficult for them to guess where the focus market is.

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1. Decorate Their Shop

If International Brands are selling products on Tmall, which is a good strategy as it is the most popular market among Chinese consumers, they have many options to share more information about their products and brands .

Within TMall and other marketplaces, they can customize their store completely. Add their own branding elements, product updates, and other content. This can help their store stand out and also keep customers coming back for more.

2. Update Their Feed

One of the most popular features on Tmall is a news feed that they can use to “decorate” their store. This is similar to what they might be used to on social networking sites like Facebook. You can share new products and regular company updates.

According to Chande, people on Tmall login and watch news from their favorite stores up to seven times a day. So making updates interesting and engaging for Chinese shoppers can generate a lot of revenue.

3. Use Streaming

Live streaming is another marketing tool available on Tmall. And it can be a powerful way to build brand trust by showing the real people behind their brand or product in action. They can share company events, new product releases, or even tutorials related to their offer.

4. Take Advantage of Holiday Shopping

In China, there are shopping holidays just like in the US but the actual holidays are different. So they do not just discount their products on Cyber ​​Monday and expect tons of sales. Do some research on popular Chinese holidays and promotions available on platforms like Tmall.

For example, November 11 is called “Singles Day” in China (because of all the 1’s in 11/11). One answer to Valentine’s Day, Singles Day is all about buying gifts for theirself or buying small items for friends. This is a great opportunity for any business selling in China.

5. Try Bundle or Single Discount

Like customers anywhere, Chinese customers love it a lot. So, discounts and promotions can be a great way to get attention for their products.

Sam Wolf, founder of LuckyVitamin, a brand that has found sales success on Tmall says the company’s customers in China, “They love getting a good bargain. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re just looking for rock bottoms. But they want to feel like they’re getting a good deal when they buy something.

So it’s not just about discounts. But if they can offer a unique promotion or create some bulk discounts so customers can see more value in their purchase, it could be worth it.

6. Provide Personalized Service

Your customer service is also part of their marketing in China. Chinese consumers expect fast shipping and answers to all their questions, according to Wolf. So they need to consider their shipping time and customer service availability as part of their marketing efforts and make it a priority.

7. Create a Virtual Shopping Experience

Tmall also provides an opportunity for merchants to take advantage of new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality to create unique experiences for customers.

For example, if they have a unique retail location and also sell online, they can provide a virtual shopping experience that allows customers to feel like they’re actually walking around their store as they shop. online shopping. Or they can use augmented reality to help customers make purchasing decisions, like trying out a virtual makeover or arranging virtual furniture in their living room photos.

8. Keeping Up With New Technology

And that’s just the beginning of the possibilities that technology offers businesses selling in China. Tmall and other marketplaces are constantly working to update their offerings. So they need to keep up with those trends and adapt to them if they are going to stay relevant with customers in China.

9. Do Research

It’s also important, no matter what actual marketing method they’re using, to research their customers and market first. There are many cultural and logistical differences that come with selling in China. So they need to do research and work with partners who can help them understand the landscape.

All in all, they have to be patient and make sure to do their due diligence instead of jumping right in. Marketing and selling in China is not something anyone can do. They need to be really dedicated to it in order to be successful.

Michael Zakkour, Vice President of China/APAC and global e-commerce practice for Tompkins International said during a panel discussion at the Gateway’17 event, “In China, anything is possible. But nothing is easy. “

10. Tell the story of the brand

“Chinese consumers want to hear your brand story,” said Amee Chande, managing director of global strategy and operations at Alibaba Group, in a presentation Wednesday.

That means they want to buy from brands they feel connected to. Especially if international brands are importing products, you must build some kind of trust by sharing information about their brands, both in their stores and through other methods.

So don’t simply put their product out there. They offer great products and a great brand so that Chinese consumers trust you enough to buy.


While it is undeniable that the Chinese frequently change the trademarks they use, this is not a feature of Chinese culture. Indeed, Chinese consumers are still fickle because the country is still at a stage of development where companies offer consumers far more choices than they had a decade ago. before. Another problem is that MNCs don’t always do their best to know where their focus market is and to target it effectively.

To be successful in brand development in China, it is not enough to just have a short-term vision and try to sell products in all market segments. This will be harmful to the future of the brand in the long term. Better yet, the company needs to first define what its brand stands for and then build that image.

They also need to understand that consumers in big cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou will soon be as wise in choosing brands as consumers in New York, London or Paris. And consumers in smaller cities like Chengdu and Dalian will also be quick to catch up with international trends.

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