DIGITAL STRATEGIES FOR WINE BRANDS TO COMPETE
While wine marketing has previously relied on offline techniques such as in-store activity, gifting, wine events and dinners, digital and social media has become a crucial channel for brands considering that more than 50% of Chinese population use Internet and 65% use social media.
Social media for brand awareness and engagement
Check here the most popular social media in China (2019). In most markets, businesses have come to realize the importance of social media in reaching the consumers, but in China, social media has permeated throughout the end-to-end customer journey. Chinese customers use social media to discover new brands and products, validate the product quality through reviews, comments and feedback, purchase directly through a social channel, and write a review about their products or experiences. Therefore, this is an important channel to reach Chinese customers, engage with them, convert them into shoppers as well as maintain relationship with customers.
Wechat started as an instant messaging app but now has developed an ecosystem where users can perform a wide variety of activities such as online payment, online shopping, playing games, booking tickets…
- In Q4 – 2018, WeChat had almost 1.1 billion monthly active users.
- On average, users spend more than 66 minutes on WeChat daily.
- 60% of WeChat users open the app more than 10 times a day.
- By the end of 2017, the number of WeChat’s Official Accounts surpassed 20M.
Wine brands can maximize Wechat in various ways:
- Official accounts to post branded content or educate followers about wine
- Mini programs or mini games to interact with customers and enhance engagement
- Customer service thanks to one-on-one chatting function of Wechat
- HTML5 pages for creative campaigns to increase conversion rate
- Wechat ads to reach new users
- Wechat shops: sell directly your wines within
- Wechat platform
Weibo is a more open social media platform than Wechat where people not only post, share and interact but also get updated on trends and news. This is the place for content to go viral and for KOLs to build their online communities.
- Number of Weibo active users: 465M (2019)
- Number of daily users: 203M (2019)
- There are over 100 million messages posted by users each day
- 50% increase in livestream sessions
- Q&A postings increased by 400% in 2018 compared to 2017
- 82 percent of Weibo users shop online
Wine brands can engage in various ways:
- Verified account for branded/ educational/ entertaining contents
- KOLs marketing: Good content featuring KOLs has the highest chance to go viral on Weibo
- Micro topics: brands can host or join discussions related to wine drinking to show their expertise.
- Weibo ads to reach more customers
- E-commerce: Weibo posts can link to JD platform, allowing followers to shop wines directly online.
KOLs marketing is proven to amplify your brand awareness and sales
KOLs in China are indispensable figures for brand promotion. Prominent figures with millions of followers on Chinese social networks advise the public what to use and buy. Chinese consumers, unlike the Western ones, do not find direct sales annoying. It is not uncommon to find KOLs content that has direct links to e-commerce of the products they endorse. This is why, for a product still unfamiliar as wine, it is imperative to have a testimonial that tells its values to the general public. Brands can engage opinion leaders and experts in wines, spirits, and gastronomy, and organize something like wine tasting events.
Website is your main hub of information
Website is undoubtedly important. It is your information hub where customers always find the most official information about your products and services. Website should be hosted in China for SEO reason. Contents should be written in native Mandarin and the design would best combine your origin’s style with Chinese preferences. Wines can have a lot of stories to tell. Be a good storyteller! You can talk about your history of making wines, the culture of drinking wines, nutrition information… There are multiple angles to explore.
In addition, your website must follow Chinese standards and Chinese trends. In most cases, with a homepage consisting of a lot of information, written in small characters. If western consumers prefer a clean aesthetic interface, it’s not what Chinese consumers like. For e-commerce websites, Chinese consumers are used to having precise information, with prices, product details, reviews from other buyers and anything to be aware of. Chinese customers hate wasting time looking for information, especially during the payment process.
Without Baidu ranking, your website is a waste!
Chinese consumers often go online to look for information on wine. Consequently, if you are not visible when consumers search for wines on Baidu, you would miss a great deal of potential traffic.
To develop your visibility on Baidu, you can use different solutions:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refer to ads. This solution can raise your website to top positions immediately but can be quite expensive in the long-term.
- SEO is better in the long-term, and extremely efficient but requires more effort and patience. The main engine for SEO is tons of articles optimized for relevant keywords in order for the website to be indexed by Baidu, and thus it can appear on Baidu’s search engine result page.
Baidu algorithms definitely have many differences from Google due to cultural difference, governmental control on information and the browsing habits of Chinese. In addition, Baidu has its own websites and redirects 27% of its traffic to these sites: Baidu Zhidao (Q&A), Baidu Baike (Wikipedia), Baidu Tieba (Forum). This means that, in order to promote your website on the Chinese Internet, you also have to be active on these affiliating websites of Baidu.
Selling online is a must if you are in China market
Under the impact of Internet and digitalization, Chinese consumers tend to shop online for everything including wines. Currently, 20 percent of all wine sold in China is sold via e-commerce websites, and some experts expect that figure to be close to 50 percent within a decade. For both domestic Chinese and foreign wine producers, e-commerce is now the go-to destination for selling wine to Chinese consumers around the nation.
CREATE YOUR SHOP ON E-COMMERCE GIANTS
Without a doubt, Tmall.com is the No. 1 leader within the China wine e-commerce sector. By some estimates, Tmall.com now has a commanding 50 percent market share of all wine e-commerce sales. Many of the wine retailers have set up their own storefronts on Tmall.com. It is also a choice for wine brands to set up their flagship stores on Tmall.com.
JingDong launched at the end of 2010 and is now the closest rival to Tmall.com in terms of wine e-commerce dominance. According to JD.com executives, wine now accounts for nearly 25 percent of all online alcohol sales. Just like Tmall.com, JD.com operates a mix of direct-to-consumer wine sales (in which wine is stored in a warehouse and shipped directly to consumers) and an online shopping mall made up of smaller merchants looking to sell their wine via storefronts. Big foreign wine brands with a major presence on JD.com include Penfolds, Yellow Tail, Casilleros del Diablo and Lafite Rothschild.
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Source from：GMA Gentlemen Agency