Case Study: China - Social Commerce Strategy

Marketing a social commerce app in China from the US.

Introduction

Ness Goods (China) needed a 90 day launch plan for their brand new social commerce app they were launching to Chinese consumers throughout China. The team was located in California which meant we would also have to work closely with a marketing agency working from inside China.

In the US and Europe, the majority of online shopping takes place on a website versus a social media channel. Usually the consumer will see or be influenced via social media but will leave the app and search the actual website of the company. In China, they have combined this model with consumers purchasing inside a social media application. The consumer gets the recommendations inside the social media platform with a very easy way to buy.

The Challenge

Develop a 90 day launch plan for a social commerce application from the US for execution in China that competes with the top three social commerce apps in that country - Pin Duo Duo, Xiaohongshu and Yanxuan. I was charged with understanding Chinese personas who are more sophisticated shoppers and look for quality products with good pricing.

How I Helped

Chinese customers are very nuanced on social commerce apps. I quickly could see that the plan would require an extensive multi-touch program. The main push for targeting Chinese consumers would be using a social media plan - WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Toudou Touki, Momo and Baidi Tieba.

Secondary marketing would come from screen domination - no commercials but using public transportation areas and screens on buildings throughout the cities targeted. Although in the US we have the Apple Store and Google Play, I needed to create a plan to get on and market through China’s 12 top app buying platforms.

The best part was creating a KOL (Key Opinion Leader)/Influencer program. I saw the value in mixing US influencers with Chinese KOLs. What is different with Chinese KOLs is that they are employed directly into the app and they interact directly inside so it is easier to calculate the ROI. Being able to actually track the same results on some of the top US Influencers had a huge benefit for the company as well as this data could generate revenue in the future.

The Results

Ness Good China is ready to go with a full launch plan that included a full Influencer/KOL, PR, Chinese social media plan as well a way to full screen domination across China to include public transport and screens on buildings.

The persona development allowed for easier product development as the company could define what products were wanted and could be sold in an online social commerce app by seeing purchase patterns across an almost 11 year period.