Retail in China has changed after the corona crisis and marketing expert Ashley Dudarenok explains how brands have to adjust themselves to reach those much-wanted consumers in China, she tells in Valtech.
So you see definitely a lot of shifts, and it’s going to be very interesting. What I definitely see is that Mainland Chinese is definitely recovering first, because it just originated in China first, and also very severe measures were taken to contain the virus after the initial first weeks where the time was wasted outside. So it is definitely going to be a very interesting adjustment period, and we’re all looking forward to that.
We certainly are. Streaming is a trend that perhaps in your agency, you’ve seen take off in China. Is that something you think brands and retailers will specifically continue doing, even after the pandemic has ended?
Absolutely. In China, live streaming is not something new. So, in China, this is a reality of life. In the West, we live stream for fun primarily, but there’s very little e-commerce live streaming. In China, because the whole blogger world is operating very differently, they actually started live streaming for fun. So basically, when you watch somebody, you give them gifts, and that’s how the blogger makes money.
But in China, they went to step forward and they said, “Okay, live streaming as e-commerce channel is a phenomenal opportunity, because I can show you my farm, and I can sell you oranges.”
So, it’s live streaming turned into a bizarre copy of early ’90s TV advertising and people love it. It’s entertaining and people feel that it’s also a place to talk to others. And the social isolation has not completely shifted or changed the way people purchase right now, but it has accelerated this move towards live streaming. So, it’s definitely there to stay. In China though, a lot of people do live streaming, but everybody but the brands is making money.
The platform is making money, the agencies are making money, the bloggers are making money, but the brands obviously, are on the suffering side, because it’s not for them. They are going to sell a lot, but the cost to operate a livestream is very expensive. So, you need to make sure that after selling, you are able to get a repeat purchase, or you’re able to somehow retain your customers. So that’s what I think in the West when we talk about this live streaming in China, people do not understand. E-commerce live streaming comes at a price, it comes at a cost, but it’s a great opportunity to acquire customers, but essentially, it’s not going to make or have a positive ROI, initially.
It sounds like it’s a bit of a long play then.
Yeah, absolutely. Like everything else, China is a very complex market. Consumers are very spoiled by having so many product and services that target them. They’ve got a lot of money, they are very excited, but they also know the good stuff. And you need to be reasonable in terms of price, you need to be good quality, and you need to be adapted to that market in order to cater to them.
Are you looking for more branding experts on China after the corona crisis? Do check out this list.