The 3rd edition of the Cross-border E-commerce Exhibition in Shanghai was a great opportunity for Chinese merchants to meet and share ideas about cross-border ecommerce. At the same time, it brought together Western companies targeting the fast-paced Chinese market and local companies interested in expanding overseas, across Chinese borders. The 2-day event tackled both import and export aspects of cross-border ecommerce in China.
During the second day that focused on the export of goods from China to different international markets, I was invited to talk about omnichannel – e-commerce, m-commerce, POS and MPOS; what it means and why it is so important for going global and tapping into the European markets. The key conclusion was that omnichannel e-commerce platforms need to be mobile and the solutions they offer need to be available for brick-and-mortar retailers as well, in their normal environment. Omnichannel brings consistency to the consumer, the same look and feel and the same conditions. One of the challenges that brands face is that they have separate budgets for retail and for ecommerce, hence they are not entirely integrated.
In China, there are many different platforms acting self-sufficiently such as Tencent with WeChat. All the ecommerce options are included within one app, while in Europe we have multiple. In China, however, the apps, however, are combined with a payment option from the same company, e.g. Tencent with TenPay. Each marketplace has its own payment option and each payment option builds its own marketplace, such as China UnionPay.
To learn more about the development of mobile payments and how to tap into them to create an omnichannel experience, download this report “The Mobile Payments Revolution”.
Localization was widely discussed during Cross-border E-commerce Conference in Shanghai, as it is extremely important for any merchant to fully localize its teams, technology, strategy and product.
One of the biggest challenges in accessing international markets is keeping up with the pace of change within technology. The expectations of the users in these markets is increasing exponentially much cleaner-looking websites and a more in-depth product offering. So, find a way to localize your business in an authentic way, don’t do anything that doesn’t bring added-value to the customers. It is very important to get to know the main markets with the opportunities, regulation and their limitations.
Another challenge for Chinese merchants who want to access international markets is translating all their materials and tools into a local language, and building trust for customers. Working with companies such as WebInterpret can provide merchants with a combined translation solution plus online promotion, with a high return on investment. Merchants also need to have a clear list of all their products on their website, together with the procedure to purchase a product. It also needs to address country specific logistics and payment issues, providing the consumer with a complete picture of the buying process and the costs.
How to localize Western business in the Chinese cross-border ecommerce landscape
Foreign merchants looking to enter the Chinese market need to learn cultural habits and consumer behavior. They also need to understand the domestic sales channel, because the Chinese market is large and decentralized, and has different channel levels. It is important to give each product a certain cultural meaning and promote it to global customers. The product has to fit into the local cultural, religious and political environment. To overcome such obstacles, Western merchants should use a local third-party solution provider, such as Payvision, for a complete solution fully adapted to the local market.