If you open Amazon.com or eBay.com and look for something to buy, the top recommended sellers are Chinese sellers. On Amazon, mobile tech giants Anker and Aukey dominate search results; and once you see the sheer number of their 5-star reviews, you can tell they are doing something right.
What are Chinese e-commerce sellers doing so well? What can western sellers learn from Chinese sellers? Is it low prices? Black-hat digital tricks? Has made-in-China become better quality? What can you do to make improvements for your e-commerce business and compete with Chinese sellers? Let’s answer these questions in this blog post.
Attend the Global Source Trade Show 2018 and CrossBorder e-Commerce Summit 2018 in Hong Kong. Meet suppliers and find new products for your e-commerce business.
Use the code DN100 to save $100 on each ticket. This Super Early Bird discount ends on July 31. Buy 2 or more tickets to save an additional $100 per ticket. Buy tickets by clicking here.
Always Be Researching
The Chinese e-commerce market is fast-paced and no two days are the same. In order to succeed in e-commerce and before making a move to source a large quantity of product, you must do your research. Sales managers in China spend a lot of time doing product research such as pricing, reviews, keyword and listing optimization and most of all, researching their competitors.
Generally, Chinese sellers are competitor-based. They want to one-up their rivals in order to bring in new customers and continue selling product. If a competitor’s price is 10% lower, sellers will reduce their prices by 20%. This competitor-obsession isn’t always good – because investing in new products with new features can woo customers much better.
Product Performance, Not Branding, is King
Chinese e-commerce businesses don’t see branding as the most important criteria when researching new product niches. Instead, product selection based on performance is what drives Chinese sellers to try new markets and offer completely new products that don’t necessarily match with the brand.
This is why you can see many Chinese consumer electronics brands on Amazon sell items like army knives, lamps, pet products and even apparel. Larger Chinese e-commerce businesses have full-time staff researching new product categories which have the least competition. On e-commerce platforms like Amazon – Chinese companies are allowed to be flexible with their brand identity – because what really matters is the final sale.
Speed is a Big Advantage
The working culture of China is very different from the west. In China, the trial and error approach dominates the work culture. Chinese entrepreneurs will give nearly any idea a shot – and if it works, they will continue with the idea – but if it fails, they will quickly move to a new idea. This is very different from the west, where an idea transitions into a plan, strategy, analysis, research, and then action. By the time many western entrepreneurs take action to source a product and try selling on Amazon, a Chinese competitor has already jumped into that space.
To succeed in e-commerce where there is very high competition, speed is everything. The Chinese business world is fierce. You either get into the market now or someone else will get there first. There’s no time to wait around and create sales strategies and marketing plans.
Close Proximity to Suppliers and Resources
When trying to source new products for your business, it doesn’t hurt to be close to the supplier. This is one advantage Chinese e-commerce sellers have over western sellers. Chinese sellers can take a product idea to a factory and have a finished product within a few days. An entire shipment ready to sell on Amazon can be on a plane within a few weeks. This close proximity to suppliers is not just great to provide an advantage of speed, but also produces the ability to create relationships with the supplier and get better prices.
The Global Source Trade Show 2018 and CrossBorder e-Commerce Summit 2018 are coming up in Hong Kong. This is a great opportunity to meet the suppliers and create valuable sourcing relationships.
Use the code DN100 to save $100 on each ticket. This Super Early Bird discount ends on July 31. Buy 2 or more tickets to save an additional $100 per ticket. Buy your ticket by clicking here.
The Chinese government also invests in sourcing fairs and technology parks, especially those that are dedicated only to Chinese Amazon sellers. The sheer amount of cooperation between different levels of business and government, along with the long-term relationships can be made, help provide a major advantage to Chinese sellers over their western counterparts.
Chinese workers at e-commerce companies never stop working. This isn’t “working” behind the desk, but “working” to improve themselves and learning constantly. Where western workers traditionally leave the office by 5 PM or 6 PM and then relax on the weekends, Chinese workers continue well into the night and show up to work on Saturdays.
Chinese managers regularly attend workshops and training sessions related to their roles within a company. They realize that in order to succeed, they must continue learning and always be one step ahead of the competition. If this means attending a 5-hour workshop on CPC strategies, learning to use social media to improve brand recognition or learning from already successful e-commerce managers, they will do it. This continuous self-improvement mindset is what makes Chinese sellers so successful.
What Can Western Sellers Learn?
The greatest takeaways for western e-commerce sellers are:
- Continue researching competitors and their success strategies
- Spend a few hours each day on product research, pricing, keyword and listing optimization
- Don’t spend too much time on product strategy – take action! Speed is of the essence
- Find new products in product categories with low competition, even if they are not in line with the brand
- Go to the supplier and make relationships; let them see your face
- Visit Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and other Chinese cities to meet suppliers, find new products, and experience the competitive environment
- Continue improving yourself before trying to improve your brand
- Learn new strategies and tips by attending workshops and reading books