It’s undeniable that the Chinese are becoming more and more interested in fashion. Their spending on clothing has increased each year and they are more and more educated regarding brands and quality. Chinese people love shopping, they love brands, and they like international products. And even if the average income is still low, when you compare it to western countries, new buyers are entering the market every day. Thus, its represents an amazing opportunity for brands looking to develop their business abroad.
But, where are the Chinese consumers buying their clothes and fashion accessories nowadays?
Here are all the channels, the Chinese consumers use and some tips on how to market your brand if you want to succeed in the Chinese fashion market.
Channels where the Chinese consumers are accustomed to shop
There are numerous shopping centers in China where the Chinese loves to spend their spare-time. Going to a mall is still very popular among the Chinese shoppers.
The brand chain store
The brand chains are also frequented by Chinese shoppers when they want to do some shopping. The Europeans brands like Zara or H&M are pretty well established in China.
The Internet is a powerful channel
The distribution through the internet is becoming more and more popular. You’re aware that Chinese consumers spend much more time than Europeans on the internet searching for products as well as buying and give their feedback. The online fashion market is growing fast and it’s the channel that has the best growth forecast for the coming years.
Why Chinese shoppers love to buy online?
It seems that several reasons encourage consumers to buy online: if they don’t live in big cities, the internet allows them to have access to a wide selection of products. They can also shop from their sofa and escape the crowded shopping places. Finally, they can track the promotions online, as Chinese consumers are very sensitive to discounts.
What are the platforms they use?
Tmall and Taobao are widely used by Chinese consumers to purchase ready-to-wear and fashion items. But Moonbosa is also very famous among Chinese shoppers.
The website is specialized for women with ready to wear, underwear, and a selection of cosmetics. Moonbasa targets the Chinese youth attracted by luxury as the website distributes essentially high-end fashion products.
How to market a clothing brand in China?
Here are 6 points which you can’t skip if you want to succeed in the Chinese fashion industry:
– Have a clear and different positioning: Differentiation is a key success factor in the Chinese market where the competition is already very strong. Your brand’s positioning needs to be clear and understandable by the Chinese consumers.
– Capitalize on e-commerce: If you decide to launch your brand in China, I advise you first to open an online shop to distribute your products. By using this technique you’ll be able first to test your products and see what your Chinese target prefers. Thus, you can easily adapt your long-term strategy. If it works and if your brand is becoming popular you’ll still be able to open a physical shop later. E-commerce is a good option to minimize the implementation costs.
– Have your own Website in Chinese: It’s important to have your own websites besides opening a store on an e-commerce platform like Tmall. Why? Because, it’s an opportunity for you to spread your brand’s values. But your website has to appear on the Chinese search engine Baidu, so you have to work on your SEO.
– Use specialized forums in fashion to promote your brand: In China, some forums are very influential in the fashion industry. You have to use them to promote your brand and be visible by your target. As an example to show you how they can be influential let’s take Mogujie.
Mogujie is one of the most famous ones. It’s actually a social shopping service that focuses on women’s fashion. The website has 85 million registered users, 35 millions monthly active users, who search for information on fashion brands. It means that they are all potential clients for your brand.
But there are plenty of others website on which you have to be present to increase your visibility as Meilishuo, 55bbs, and so on… However, you must control what is said about your brand on these platforms.
– Use KOLs, they are very powerful in the Fashion industry: The Key opinions leaders are very influential in the fashion sphere. A KOL is a person followed by million of social network users and who can, with sponsored posts; influence the purchases of their followers. The luxury brands often rely on the KOL to attract more and more consumers and to become more desirable.
More information on this graph
– Be present on social media sites: You must be present on social media if you want to succeed in the Chinese fashion industry. This will allow you to develop personalized relationships with your customers and talk to them directly using WeChat or Weibo, social networks are very popular in China. Burberry is one of the fashion brands that has a strong presence on Chinese social media sites.
Let’s have a look at their “Art of the trench campaign” to have a better understanding. The aim of this campaign was to capture how the Burberry trench coat is worn across the world. In China, Burberry decided to do an exhibition to expose the photos they gathered across China.Then, Burberry decided to transform its Weibo account into an interactive picture board, featuring videos on the Art of the Trench concept and the incoming exhibition. The followers were able to vote for the best photos and it was a real success for the brand.
With these examples, you can easily understand that digital is crucial in China for a fashion brand to make sells. Then, if you want to make yourself known in the fashion world via the internet in China, we advised you to discuss your project with a local actor that will be able to help you to succeed in China.
About the Author:
Olivier Verot is the founder of Gentlemen Marketing Agency, which is an agency based in Shanghai that focuses on Chinese travelers and tourism. Fluent in Mandarin and exploring the various Chinese digital Strategies, he helps tourism companies to develop their China strategy. Thanks to his analyzes of Chinese consumers’ behavior, he has been recognized as an expert on the subject of marketing in China and tourism.