According to the China Internet Association's forecast, China's social e-commerce market reached RMB 2 Trillion in 2019, with more than 480m users, up more than 60% year-on-year. Social e-commerce is seen as the next disruptive model in the Chinese market. There are stark differences between a Classic E-commerce Vs Social commerce consumers.
“Classic” – users who quickly browse, collect, and buy products. Today, Chinese consumers have access to more comprehensive information, more dominant in their purchasing decisions, and more trust in the information they gather. They usually choose to wait for seasonal discount or promotion rather than buying at listed price during non-promotional period.
“Social”– consumers discover new trending products from influencers & peers, following trends with unexpected brand experiences and retail interactions & passively looking for lifestyle upgrades. FOMO is very real for them, often managing shopping cart that is always full and purchasing items instantly when influencer or celebrity endorses a product. User Original Content (UGC), Professional Generated Content (PGC), and Live Stream play a key part in promoting to Social consumers.
How do we engage these consumers effectively? Some key approaches can help brands better develop e-commerce strategies and create positive interactions with consumers.
Vertical content community – Engage vertical community to create content specific to the product. Providing access to early adopters within the vertical community can bring in favourable reviews & editorial content. Leveraging the direct buy links in most social apps can help close the purchase cycle.
KOL product launch – With increasing number of people following celebrities and category experts, brands cannot ignore the audiences’ need for product demonstrations and trials and product comparisons. Leveraging KOL's personality and their influence to sell can increase penetration of the product
Co-purchase – Group Buy is also popular to sell product virally. Member get member, group buying ensures that products are being sold in lower tier markets.This is an effective way of recruiting price- sensitive customers.
Gifts – Provide gifting through e-cards and store platforms to match China’s gifting culture. A number of gifting platforms have also emerged that allow brands to seek favours from consumers in exchange for rewards.
Membership – Brands should create omni-channel mechanics, scoring mechanisms and rewards that allow loyalist to be the first-to-know and first to try new products.
New retail mechanisms – Provide seamless experience between online & offline.Brands with experiential products should look for ways to sell to consumers online by linking the consumer from online to offline, or by creating offline experiences that would drive consumers online to transact.