Omnichannel marketing aims to create a seamless purchasing experience for a consumer bringing social media, online ecommerce stores, and brick-and-mortar stores into one functioning cohesive unit rather than separate parts. This maximizes operational efficiency, customer experience, and overall profitability.
Although not at all unique to Chinese businesses, omnichannel marketing can be used to great effect in China because of the natural consumer integration of online and offline platforms here. While malls in other countries around the world are struggling to retain business, malls in China are still an important step in a consumer’s journey. Ecommerce and social media have also become huge factors in Chinese purchasing decisions. Since ecommerce, social media, and offline stores are all such influential parts of a Chinese consumer’s purchasing experience, using an omnichannel marketing strategy here is a natural choice, and when used correctly can be an extremely effective way of optimizing your resources and streamlining a consumer’s purchasing decision. With the growth of the middle class, especially the upper middle class, and the coming of age of the generation 2 cohort (people born after the mid 1980s), the way Chinese consumers behave is changing. They still believe in the importance of value like previous generations, but now they are also focused on other factors such as brand loyalty and brand image. To this effect, companies in China have begun to redirect their branding efforts, focusing more on the brand and the lifestyle that their products can offer rather than the products themselves. This shift in consumer preferences has created an environment perfect for omnichannel marketing.
When developing an omnichannel marketing strategy, it is essential that the center point of the campaign be the consumer. A company needs to know exactly what demographic it intends to target, how to approach that demographic, and how that demographic will respond to different brand images. Only after knowing this can a company then align their operations to this new brand image and devote their resources to creating an omnichannel marketing strategy.
One company that has been incredibly successful in using this type of marketing strategy has been Leyou. Leyou, founded in 1999 by Larry Kung, is a maternity and baby product brand that has become incredibly successful by combining chain stores, online ecommerce, and mobile applications. The company currently offers more than 30,000 products from 200 different brands and is even the owner of 11 original brands. Its online shopping mall has accumulated an impressive six million registered users. The baby product market is, somewhat surprisingly, a very suitable market to setup an omnichannel marketing campaign. Mothers are some of the most cautious buyers because of concerns for safety and as such are willing to invest more time and effort into ensuring that they are purchasing the right products for their children. In China the baby product market is also incredibly competitive, but many of the products for sale are of dubious quality. All in all, the market is overcrowded, oversaturated with information, and full of worried parents. This was the perfect environment for Leyou to grow in. Through omnichannel marketing, they were able to create a consumer pathway where they interacted with the consumer every step of the way. By developing a customer relationship management system and their own internal quality assurance system, Leyou has managed to create an incredibly reputable brand image for themselves. People have come to trust Leyou and this trust has allowed the company to prosper.
The combination of offline and online stores has also allowed Leyou to succeed because they have been able to target different demographics simultaneously and continually target even working mothers. Typically, department stores target high-end consumer groups and supermarkets target lower-end consumer groups. Leyou has taken advantage of this by positioning their products differently based on the demographic that is more likely to enter the store. Using both online and offline stores has also allowed Leyou to continually sell to consumer throughout a week. Offline events, such as sales and parent-child activities are offered on the weekends, and online events are allowed to run through the week so that working mothers still have access to deals. Other features such as ordering online (and holding special flash sales online throughout the week) and offering pick up in stores have helped in building the strong relationship that Leyou has worked so hard to create between their online and offline presence. The symbiotic relationship between online and offline stores has also allowed Leyou to offer two-hour delivery using their stores as temporary warehouses and has given them the ability to offer a larger variety of goods in all their stores by enabling people to order online and pick up their purchases in a brick-and-mortar store.
Your Next Steps
Omnichannel marketing seamlessly integrates different aspects of a consumer’s journey, but to seamlessly integrate your business into China look no further than Tolmao Group. Tolmao Group is a leading integrated marketing company in China helping international companies develop reputable brand images and helping them to grow through both online and offline channels. Reach out to us if you want to learn more about Leyou or if you want help with anything else that you might find challenging while here in China. At Tolmao Group we are here to help.