Mark Tanner
Mark Tanner
14 December 2016 0 Comments

The end of the year is always a time we enjoy at the Skinny.  On top of the medley of cheesy carols, online gift deliveries and general festive cheer, it is also a time to take stock of the past 12 months and look to the year ahead.  We like to ensure that we continue to be on the cutting edge of the exciting and dynamic Chinese market for our clients.

With that in mind, here is a snapshot of what China Skinny thinks are important things to watch in the China market in 2017:

1. Package Customisation by Channel

It’s nothing new to have different packaging in large-format retail versus a convenience store, but tailoring packaging to other important sales channels such as ecommerce is often overlooked in China.  Understanding key motivations and purchase habits for different channels and ensuring portion sizes, multi-packs and even the look and feel of packaging is tailored to that channel will keep brands competitive and relevant to consumers.  Optimal packaging for the all-important daigou channel in some categories should also be considered.

milk multipack China

For many categories, the packaging and sizes for sale online are quite different to brick & mortar stores, which can also differ by format as illustrated in ecommerce versus retail stores.

2. Ecommerce as a Marketing Tool

Measuring the success of ecommerce purely by tactical sales promotions is missing the bigger picture.  Ecommerce has become a vital touch point in many Chinese consumers’ customer journey to learn about products and brands.  This is often long before they make purchases – both online and offline.  Marketing opportunities on ecommerce platforms are becoming richer and more sophisticated with innovations such as streaming video.  Done well, ecommerce stores can be optimised to build awareness, engagement, loyalty and advocacy.

Tmall Live streaming video

Comvita’s Tmall Live stream is a great example of how to strengthen brand positioning and take consumers to the source of products through an engaging and interactive platform.

3. Flourishing Niche Online Platforms

Whilst there has been much consolidation from China’s online giants recently, ambitious new businesses focusing on targeted niches are proving to be effective complements or even alternatives to the big boys such as Tmall and JD.  We only need to look at the cross-border category which is much more fragmented than domestic ecommerce.  A number of platforms supplying verticals such as mum & baby, fashion, beauty, and premium food and beverage can reach 5, 10 or 20 million active users who are less price sensitive and more targeted than the big platforms.  These platforms are often easier to get listed on to boot.

niche online platforms china

Niche online platforms covering certain categories or verticals are often targeted ways to reach consumers.

4. Product Categorisation by Occasion and Customer Segment

The ever-more discerning Chinese consumers want to feel a little love when they buy your products and services, so smart brands are tailoring offerings, formulations, packaging and even sub-branding to specific occasions or customer niches.  We all know in a market the size of China, niches can be bigger than countries, so it can be fruitful and less contested catering to them.

china niche markets

Niche categories in China can be larger than many country’s entire market, so it can be worth tailoring products, positioning and channels to them. Fitness is one of many niches worth targeting positioning.

See the next 4 China marketing trends>>

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