The Chinese market is one that local retailers cannot ignore. Tourists from Mainland China make up Singapore’s second largest tourist market, with 2.1 million Chinese visitors last year. In fact, numbers are still growing at an unprecedented rate, due to increasing visitors from both tier 1 and secondary 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 Singapore, how can you stand out from the crowd? What can you do to successfully woo travellers 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 Singapore 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
Screenshot: Listings on Mafengwo with the search key “新加坡” (Singapore)
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 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 travellers to Singapore are independent travellers, 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 Singapore Tourism Board, StarHub and the Orchard Road Business Association 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 S$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 S$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 1.35-1.7%*, compared to Visa and Mastercard’s 2.3-3%*, allowing you to earn more profits from the sale.
*depends on monthly transaction volume for offline POS
Local nail parlour, Blackclaws, has seen a significant increase in the number of Chinese customers who choose to pay by WeChat Pay after adopting the Chinese-preferred payment method.
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 – in Singapore alone, there has been a 230% increase in WeChat users. 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. Several retailers in ION Orchard have turned to WeChat to attract Chinese shoppers during the recent Chinese Golden Week.
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 FOMO Pay
You may have apprehensions about entering the Chinese market and we fully understand. FOMO Pay is the first authorized WeChat Pay and Baidu Wallet partner in Southeast Asia, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About FOMO Pay Pte. Ltd
FOMO Pay is the first authorized WeChat Pay & Baidu Wallet partner in Southeast Asia, and was selected as one of the TOP 100 Asian Companies by E27, TOP 100 Startups by Red Herring Asia, and Top 8 by DBS’ FinTech Accelerator Program.
FOMO Pay provides a one-stop solution for overseas merchants by facilitating payment collection from the China market, including Chinese tourists. This comprises of online/offline Chinese payment modes, such as WeChat Pay, Alipay and Union Pay.
FOMO Pay’s business solution serves clients from a wide range of industries, including the telecom, publishing, tourism and hospitality, F&B, education and retail industries.
About FOMO Advertising
Established in 2014, FOMO Advertising is a subsidiary of FOMO Pay Pte. Ltd. FOMO Advertising is the first authorized Tencent advertising agency in Singapore. We provide a comprehensive solution for your WeChat campaigns, including market research, design services and media buying. Our team is here for you every step of the way, bringing you closer to the Chinese market. For more information, visit our website at www.fomoads.com..