The Chinese market is one that local retailers cannot ignore. Tourists from Mainland China make up New Zealand’s second largest tourist market, with 400,000 Chinese visitors in 2015. In fact, numbers are still growing at an unprecedented rate, due to increasing visitors from both tier 1 and 2 cities in China.
Faced with high rents and competition from online retailers, local merchants are looking at the lucrative outbound Chinese market to boost retail sales. As a business owner in New Zealand, how can you stand out from the crowd? What can you do to successfully woo travelers from China? Here are 10 strategies to help you connect with Chinese consumers.
1. Use Mandarin
The best way to market your products and services to Chinese tourists is to use a language in which they are most comfortable with – Mandarin. Many Chinese tourists are not fluent in English, and may be put off due to the language barrier. While this may seem like an obvious strategy, many businesses in New Zealand still do not provide websites, or even menus in Mandarin. It is also important to have at least one Mandarin speaking staff in the store to effectively communicate and understand the needs of the Chinese customers.
2. Get noticed on Chinese search engines
While we have Google, China has Baidu. There are about 657 million monthly active Baidu mobile search users, making up 79% of China’s search market. Your website needs to be highly-ranked on Baidu in order to maximize traffic to your website. Of course, the algorithms used by Baidu are different from Google. Some widely recognized SEO tips for Baidu include having Chinese content, using a .cn domain and hosting your website in China.
3. Build a good reputation on Chinese travel websites
The top 2 sources of information for Chinese tourists traveling abroad are Chinese tourism websites such as Mafengwo, and Chinese travel agency websites, such as Ctrip & Qunar. These websites are similar to TripAdvisor, with a detailed write up, photos and user-generated reviews accompanying each listing. Users may book tickets through the website, and upload their travel itineraries for other users to use as reference. As more than 65% of Chinese travelers to New Zealand are independent travelers, your business’ reputation on these websites are critical in influencing their decisions.
4. Create shareable content
Chinese tourists are very active in sharing their travel experiences online – up to 87% of Chinese tourists will post comments to social media platforms such as WeChat, QQ and Weibo after their trips. Shareable content can help increase your exposure to the Chinese tourist market through peer-to-peer marketing.
5. Join in the conversation on social media platforms
Given the amount of conversation happening on Chinese social media platforms, it will be valuable for your brand to join in the chatter. By creating an account on these social media sites, you can gain direct feedback on your business and better understand your customers. Moreover, you can also distribute promotions and information to your customers at minimal cost. 80% of WeChat users follow Official Accounts (OA), generating $1.76 billion spending. Local businesses such as Air New Zealand, ATEED and 100% Pure New Zealand already have existing WeChat Official Accounts to increase engagement and conversation rates of Chinese tourists.
6. Adopt Chinese-preferred payment methods
Mobile payment is a huge market in China, its key players including WeChat Pay, Alipay and Union Pay. The average transaction value per mobile payment user in China is $384, indicating that consumers are comfortable with paying high amounts via mobile payment.
The number of mobile payment users in China is expected to increase from 80 million in 2016 to 194 million in 2020, contributing to a total spending of $356 million in 2020.
Allowing Chinese tourists to pay via mobile simplifies the payment process and optimizes their shopping experience. It also allows them to make purchases from your store even if they run out of local currency. Moreover, WeChat Pay has a lower transaction fee of 1.95-2.5%*, compared to Visa and Mastercard’s 2.5-3%*, allowing you to earn more profits from the sale.
*depends on monthly transaction volume
7. Get creative
Retailers all around the world are vying for a slice of the Chinese tourism market, bombarding them with information. To stand out, don’t be afraid to be creative.
8. Carry out innovative campaigns via WeChat
One way you can be creative is through WeChat campaigns. While the majority of WeChat users are from China, there have been a large increase in WeChat users in recent years globally. There are several ways you can carry out a WeChat campaign, such as placing ads on WeChat moment feeds, launching a WeChat coupon, and using the WeChat Shake function.
9. Tailor services to suit Chinese tourists
In order to capture a large share of the market, it is important to fully understand your potential Chinese customers and tailor services in order to suit them. For example, major hotel chains around the world have included Chinese tea and television stations in rooms, and serve Chinese cuisine such as dim sum on menus. Cruise lines have also adapted their services by replacing their bar and spa facilities with restaurant and shopping areas.
10. Approach PayPlus
You may have apprehensions about entering the Chinese market and we fully understand. PayPlus is the authorised WeChat Pay partner in New Zealand, and we have experience in carrying out marketing campaigns for clients across different industries. Let us help you connect with your Chinese customers with our expertise, and drop us an email at email@example.com for more information.
What PayPlus can do for you?
PayPlus’s business solution serves clients from a wide range of industries, including the telecommunication, banks, tourism and hospitality, education and retail industries.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to engage with Chinese customers through WeChat.