"China is 10 years ahead of the West in both e-commerce and social media," Vincent Digonnet, executive chairman for Razorfish Asia Pacific, says.
For example, last November, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba raked in $5.75 billion in sales on Singles' Day, the largest online shopping event in the country. Meanwhile, Adobe reported that the Singles' Day equivalent in the U.S., Cyber Monday, saw $2.29 billion total in online sales, a far cry from China's total.
So what are the characteristics that make China a leading market for social commerce?
Chinese social media users tend to be older, between 25 and 40 years old, the same demographic with purchasing power. And the majority of Chinese Internet users are also more active on social media, either as creators or curators. Because many of them are single children, they’re more likely to create new communities to challenge authorities, media, and institutions including brands, Digonnet explains.
Additionally, local e-commerce and social media platforms are fueling social shopping in the country.
Since Alibaba bought an 18 percent stake in Sina Weibo, China’s popular microblogging site, last spring, members can manage their Weibo accounts from the Alibaba Taobao Marketplace's backend as well as push their Taobao products via their social IDs on Weibo.
E-commerce sites in China also adapt to local netizens' social behaviors. For instance, Alibaba’s nearest rival, JD.com or Jingdong Mall, has a feature that allows consumers to add pictures to their product reviews, Digonnet points out.
Many luxury, fashion, and cosmetic brands, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Zara, adidas, and Anna Sui, have brand pages on Meilishuo, a social shopping site similar to Pinterest. According to Digonnet, 90 percent of visitors on the fashion e-commerce site would end up transacting.
The site, which appeals to young females, has a social recommendation feature where VIP users are selected as editors to recommend products and then get a small margin if their peers make a purchase from the endorsements.
Tencent-owned WeChat, also known in China as Weixin, is another up and coming player, with 270 million active users. The mobile messaging app is already seeing success with its in-app purchase, which saw 150,000 Xiaomi smartphones snapped up within 10 minutes last November.
And what is Razorfish’s role in this emerging social commerce space in China?
The Publicis-owned digital agency recently helped Asos, one of the U.K.’s largest online fashion stores, to localize in the country using hybris technology. And its other clients include Nike, Diageo, Unilever, and Gap in the region.
Find out from this video as Vincent Digonnet, Razorfish APAC’s executive chairman, explains how brands could navigate in China’s emerging social commerce ecosystem.
This video clip was taken on Tuesday at Razorfish’s office in Hong Kong during Digonnet's brief visit in the city.
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Adaline Lau, ClickZ Asia editor, oversees day-to-day editorial operations covering digital marketing from search to social media, mobile to analytics in the region. Before ClickZ, she was senior reporter at Marketing Magazine and has worked as a journalist for The Singapore Marketer and Asia Pacific Broadcasting. Connect with her @adalinelau or Google+.
March 19, 2014