How Western companies can maximize brand equity when selling to Chinese web shoppers
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“More of my Western customers are localizing their Western sites for the Chinese, but using Tmall as their payment gateway. In other words, the Tmall store is the site shopping cart, integrated into the Chinese website. It’s a great way to emphasize the uniqueness of your brand and products, while taking advantage of the exposure and convenience that Tmall offers.” Two American apparel icons, jeans maker Levi’s and athletic shoe brand New Balance, are taking this approach, promoting products on their own Chinese web site and linking customers who want to buy to their storefronts on Tmall.
The takeaway for a retailer seriously considering China’s online market: TMall is not a turnkey solution. A Western brand not already well known in China needs more online tools to differentiate and authenticate its unique selling propositions than this Chinese version of Amazon provides. Building a localized web site and integrating one’s TMall store as the payment gateway does double duty - positioning for western authenticity while maintaining presence on China’s e-commerce leviathan. Such a strategy could be more expensive than pursuing either tactic singly. Then again, deploying an extensive e-commerce system can be just as resource-intensive, without the TMall benefits listed above. Bottom line: Walmart-scale profits await in China, but not at Walmart prices.
Web Presence In China is a digital marketing firm providing integrated solutions for online market entry in both China and the APAC region.