Tom DoctoroffAfter a slow and hesitant start, e-commerce is booming in China, with very Chinese characteristics, marketing guru Tom Doctoroff explains in The Huffington Post. Chinese want to bargain, and the size of the seller matters.
The growth of China’s consumer e-commerce sector is breathtaking, doubling year on year. On-line shopping is more than a trend; it is a phenomenon. But it took a while for things to take off. It was not until two fundamentally Chinese business essentials were addressed — the benefits and reassurance of scale, low price as the ultimate competitive weapon — that an inflection point was crossed… In the Middle Kingdom, bigger is better. Broad scale forges trust and order from chaos. China’s largest appliance manufacturer, Haier, is not a particularly innovative company but consumers are drawn to its size. This suggests reliability. Its expansive retail and distribution network deployed as a one-of-a-kind national 24-hour service operation. Over the past ten years, brands such as Yili and Mengniu have morphed from local dairy brands to national titans. Transformation was driven by both top-down government support and bottom-up consumer food safety concerns. Even luxury goods must project “authority” before “craftsmanship.” Louis Vuitton, Mercedes and BWM succeeded, first and foremost, because of their global clout. In the People’s Republic, no one “invests” in status brands unless everyone recognizes them.