The China Connect expo took place in Paris on 1-2 March: a great opportunity to meet with several market players and to realise the extent of Chinese resources in terms of innovation, digital media, and technological marketing.
This should begin by looking at the powerful messaging app WeChat for retail and drive-to-store.
Used by 50% of Chinese people, this messaging and phone call platform also offers an impressive array of other services, including limousine or air travel reservations, house cleaning services, or meal delivery. Users can get whatever they want, wherever and whenever, through a single interface.
In China, driving in-store traffic takes precedence over driving web traffic. Concentrating efforts on driving Chinese users to websites would make little sense, as 63% of Internet users turn to 2 or 3 mobile apps before making a purchase, according to Saatchi & Saatchi China.
“Though downloads may be falling for general apps, today virtual assistant apps are gaining ground,” confirms André Mantovani, e-commerce manager at Moleskine China. All the big names, including Facebook, Apple, and even Zalando, are taking note – despite sometimes being late to the game. For years now, WeChat bots have been offering personalised deals, store locations, and customer service to drive in-store traffic.
There are therefore multiple opportunities to be sought out by Western brands that wish to target Chinese customers outside of China (tourists, expats, etc.), starting with integrating WeChat in their digital strategies. This task might seem arduous, since the Chinese market conventions and practices are unfamiliar, but it is a task for which fifty-five can offer support thanks to the expertise of its Chinese, European and US offices.
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