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Magento For China: How Can E-Commerce Businesses Leverage Magento in China? 

Posted in E-commerce on September 18th 2020
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Vice President and Co-founder at IT Consultis

This is an ultimate guide about Adobe Commerce Magento for China. In this guide, you will learn why Magento is critical in China, and how the eCommerce system in China is different. 

Just briefly, this post will cover the following areas: 

  1. China eCommerce system

  2. What drives traffic to eCommerce sites in China? 

  3. Chinese shopping platforms

  4. Ecommerce payment options in China

  5. Ecommerce marketing in China 

  6. What is Adobe Commerce Magento

  7. Why should you use Adobe Commerce Magento 

  8. Why is Magento the best for Ecommerce in China

  9. The overview of Magento in China

So if you'd want to start an eCommerce store in China, this post will be quite helpful. That said, let’s dive right in. 

China eCommerce System 

For most eCommerce businesses that have tried to penetrate the Chinese market, it has become quite a hurdle to adapt to China's e-commerce landscape, owing ​to the difference in payment methods and customer user behavior. China uses a predominantly mobile payment system, and drives traffic through search engines like Baidu and social platforms such as WeChat to meet the local customers' needs. The ​private traffic ecosystem is also very different, with Mini Programs and Apps dominating the market, with websites only ‘nice to have’. As we will see, adopting Headless / Omnichannel is the best way to move it forward in China.

Below, we outline ​four key components ​to help you understand the Chinese eCommerce ecosystem.

What Drives Traffic to Ecommerce Experiences in China? 

Google is the primary source of traffic outside China. Below are some of the ways eCommerce sites in China drive traffic:

Search Engine: The most popular search engines in China are Baidu, 360 search, and Sogou.

●  Social Media:​ Social media plays an equally important role in Chinese eCommerce. Currently, the most popular social platforms are WeChat, Weibo, QQ, and Douban.

●  Online video sites:​ Video content has increased in volume over the years, and direct links to your eCommerce store can drive you a lot of traffic. Some of the popular video sites in China include iQiyi, Youku, and Tudou.

●  Map/navigation:​ You can now search and find offline stores with Chinese mobile applications, such as A MAP, which integrates with Tmall.

Chinese eCommerce ecosystem

Source: 2018年度艾媒《电商市场与发展报告》, EC Revenue / Total Revenue

What Platforms Do Chinese Use to Shop to? 

Because China is a massive market with many different avenues of opportunity, the answer to this question will depend on the specific eCommerce development strategy.

●  Public Traffic ​or Fast Growth Strategy, which leads to high costs and increased growth.

●  Private Traffic​ or Organic Growth Strategy, resulting in lower costs and growth.

The first strategy pairs well with marketplaces like Tmall. If the brand is well known among Chinese customers and has a reputable user base with sufficient budget, it can benefit from Tmall sales. This is a case of Public Traffic.

But if the brand is still new, and wants to conduct more research before launching into a competitive market, ​a stand-alone website - i.e. bringing Private Traffic - can be a good bet. Customizing the site to meet the business unique needs is the first step. The next step is then to generate followers and gain ownership of your customers' info from the marketplaces.

2 options to sell in China

If you want to start an eCommerce business in China, you have two options: join an eCommerce platform, or ​create a marketplace in which you will grow into a reputable brand. Let's dig deep into each of the options.

1. Marketplace platforms 

The current frontrunners in this category are Tmall and JD. In 2016, Tmall proved too smart for its competition, with a whopping 56.6% market share in retail sales. JD came second with nearly half as much(​24.7%​).

However, ​some limitations come with joining eCommerce marketplaces. First, joining these platforms costs money, and secondly, you don’t have access to customer data. Finally, you may not get all the customization your brand deserves. 

2. Private traffic

Brands can often do better by building their own website and Wechat Mini-Program.Through these platforms, they will gather their own Private Traffic, and many advantages come with this. First, ​the opportunity to imagine a unique ecosystem that ​their visitors will dive into. Brands can thus personalize their store according to their customers' journey, their values and their products. In addition, brands win the opportunity to gather data that is useful for decision making, such as constantly improving the user experience.

Now that you know the Chinese eCommerce platform options, let’s examine the payment methods Chinese shoppers can use.

Ecommerce Payment Methods in China

Mobile payments are the norm in China, unlike credit cards in the West. Shoppers can connect their payment accounts with their bank accounts, and save time they would otherwise spend manually entering their account details when they want to shop.

Currently, the two most-used mobile payments in China are ​Alipay and WeChat.

Alipay is the most used mobile payment service globally. According to a report released in 2018, Alipay boasts 55.32% of mobile payment customers in China. You can link your bank accounts and enjoy credit card payment services for free.

WeChat is the second most popular digital wallet in China suitable for eCommerce businesses. With WeChat Pay, customers only need to give their WeChat payment code, and can buy items in 1-2 seconds​, thus gaining efficiency and saving time.

Ecommerce Marketing in China 

Social media platforms still play a critical role in purchasing decisions, and especially in eCommerce. In China, shoppers use WeChat, which is the largest social platform in China​. Wechat is not only a messaging app, but includes plenty of other tools : a wallet for payments, Mini Programs, and so on.

WeChat operates just like any other social platform. You can ​post information and promotional content using your WeChat account. Additionally, you can post video and image content to push your eCommerce business to your audience. You can even build your ​own Mini Program​ and start selling via WeChat.

Best of all, ​50 percent of WeChat users visit the platform every 90 minutes​, so you are more likely to reach and convert people with your content. You can even see your target audience’s data - such as location, gender, and age.

Which brings us to Adobe Commerce Magento.

What is Magento?

Magento is an eCommerce space built using open source code and Enterprise technology, and hosts the largest global community of merchants and developers for dedicated ECommerce experiences. It offers Chinese shoppers an excellent shopping cart system. Additionally, Magento offers users search engine optimization functionality, robust marketing systems, and various catalog tools. 

You’ll use a front-end Magento developer if you want your store to look appealing to users. Likewise, you will need a back-end Magento developer to add unique features to match your store's needs. You can also build an Omnichannel experience with a Magento back end powering your website, your Mini Programs (WeChat, Alipay, Douyin) and retail experiences.

At IT Consults, we assign the best developers to guarantee the success of your Magento project in Chin Aa, and we are Adobe Commerce certified. Contact us to know more.

Why Should I Use Adobe Commerce Magento? 

The Chinese e-commerce system stands out in two ways: user behavior and payment mode.

Unlike other online business environments, eCommerce in China relies on a mobile payment system, and drives traffic through search engines like Baidu and social platforms like WeChat. An eCommerce website or WeChat Mini Program in China built with Adobe Commerce Magento is totally capable of handling this.

Magento ecommerce China

Below are other reasons why you need Magento for your eCommerce store in China.

High Customization

Magento is flexible, and you can customize it to create a unique oline store that will suit your user's needs. Magento developers in China can customize websites to match local customs by using the local language and integrating social media platforms, such as WeChat. Similarly, you can include and customize payment options like Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Making your Shopping Cart User Experience as close as possible to Tmall and JD 

Magento flexibility, combined with the know-how of advanced Magento developers will ensure that the learning curve for users of your website is as seamless as possible. ITC, for instance, has been able to develop a User Experience as close as possible to Tmall. The results are spectacular in terms of conversion. 

Ensuring the Most Important Functionalities Are There For Your Mini Program And Website 

We have identified 18 functionnalities that we will explain in greater depth. Social logins, social payments, Fapiao creation, Coupons, Livestream display, Catalogue Management, Specific Category Display…. 

You Can Choose Your Hosting Service

There are a large number of hosting services you can choose from, and it is uptoyou toselectthebestoneforyourbusiness.Someofthebestweb hosting services in China include Aliyun​, ​Tencent Cloud, AWS, Azure, and Huawei Cloud, amongst others.

Responsive Mobile

Mobile responsiveness plays a critical role in the Chinese eCommerce space. According to a QuestMobile report​, a Chinese user spends on average 6.2 hours per day online using mobile devices. This corresponds to 1.8 days per working week spent only on mobile phones alone.

This is why your eCommerce store needs to be ​mobile responsive in China​. The good news is that Magento has incorporated HTML5 to help improve the user experience when shopping.

Even though Mini Programs are becoming the go-to choice, having a mobile or responsive website will still be crucial, for instance during social sharing of so-called H5 in China.

Reliable and Secure

Magento is very popular. You can get any information you need. Further, there is a community of designers, shopkeepers, and developers, among others, who are out to make sure your eCommerce life is seamless .

Adobe Magento ranks as the number 1 eCommerce platform according to Gartner. Gartner is a global research and advisory company, which each year publishes the ​Gartner Magic Quadrant For Digital Commerce report . The ranking in this report recognizes the most effective vendors help leaders to implement digital commerce solutions. Platforms are evaluated on their completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Easy Multi-platform Integration

You can also ​integrate multiple add-ons like Google Analytics, ​Wechat Pay, and Baidu Maps with Magento at a minimum of additional effort. Best of all, you can also modify these add-ons without restriction.

Magento, as a leader in the field, has seen many integrations already set for the Chinese market by the vast majority of developers.

Better Speed

Page loading time is critical for Chinese eCommerce. Chinese shoppers are used to having very fast access to the Internet, everywhere they go.

According to ApacheBooster, 46 percent of users who visit a slow-loading website do not return. Fortunately, ​Magento has managed to build the fastest eCommerce stores, engineered to serve users better and more reliably. Furthermore, a delay of half a second decreases the conversion rate by 7 percent. This is a clear indication that you need a fast-loading eCommerce site, which Magento can ensure you receive.

SEO-Friendly

Finally, Magento features Magento SEO​. With Magento SEO, you’ll get a range of strong features, including:

  • SEO-friendly
  • URLs
  • Sitemaps
  • Layerednavigation
  • ProductTitle/descriptions
  • Keywords
  • Metatags
  • Metadescriptions

Magento is always up-to-date, and there’s no need to worry about ranking factors (that keep changing all the time). It offers users URL structure implementation suggestions that can boost your site’s SEO.

This feature is of course compatible with Chinese search engines, increasing for example your traffic coming through Baidu.

Why Adobe CommerceMagento for China? 

Localized checkout flow

Superfast speed, an easy-to-integrate platform, and “distraction-free” are a must-have for a smooth checkout process. And because China’s eCommerce is unique to China, dragging and dropping the standard checkout process into a Chinese context is not recommended.

Below are some of the China-specific elements we develop to help optimize your ​Adobe Commerce Magento solution in China:

1. Chinese names ​follow a different format compared to the West. Full names are written in one field rather than separately. Using one field is more convenient than the format “First name/Last name”.

2. The​ Chinese Address ​Protocol. The Chinese address takes the format: Province - City - District - Detailed Address. Additionally, Chinese address formatting allows customers to filter their addresses and automatically select their Province/City/District rather than typing it out

3. If you’re planning on running Magento across China’s eCommerce border, then ​ID check​ is a must. More often, China eCommerce buyers are prompted to authenticate their 18-digit Chinese ID code to affect cross-border goods' checkout processes. But not to worry, we’ve developed a hassle-free ID checkbox to facilitate the process.

4. It’s no secret that Chinese shoppers rely on ​product reviews​, so we’ve implemented product reviews with pictures in Adobe Cmmerce Magento.

5. Because debit/credit card payment is rarely preferred, enteringa billing address during checkout is not necessary.

6. The​ shipping status ​check allows buyers to monitor their shipping status all the way to destination. For efficiency, we integrate Magento with a dependable logistics interface in China to ensure that the tracking information is up to date whenever a customer signs in into their account.

7. Formerly, Magento was not ​compatible with Chinese characters when exporting orders, shipment labels, and invoices, but we made it possible!

Mobile-centric

A large number of eCommerce websites based in the Western world encourage the use of emails when signing up for accounts. Upon registering with your email address, you can expect to receive notifications regarding orders, payments, or promotions. However, Chinese online users rarely use email addresses, which may translate to low open rates when sending email-based notifications to your Chinese customers.

Fortunately, we’ve found an alternative solution for your Magento eCommerce in China: the mobile phone number. ​Mobile messaging has long been the dominant mode of communication in China, compared to email. Your customers are more likely feel secure if they receive a phone verification code during the signup process, as they are guaranteed to receivethemessage. Withmostplatformsyouwillalsohaveasociallogin option like Alipay and WeChat.

Upgrade in payments 

As previously said, Western sites typically provide three options for eCommerce payment: debit card, credit card, and online payments like PayPal. Meanwhile, Chinese businesses and websites usually offer two payment options: Alipay and WeChat Pay. To attract and convert a Chinese audience, you should therefore use these payment methods on your website, with a QR payment function developed specifically for Chinese online users.

Since Magento lacks China-based payment options, WeChat and Alipay come in handy to ensure Chinese customers are covered. Other notable China-based options include Union Pay, Baidu Wallet, MiPay, among other online payment methods.

When your customer checks out via desktop, ​a specific QR ​will pop up on the customer's screen ​to complete the payment​. Similarly, the payment button will redirect the customer to AliPay or WeChat mobile app when they use a mobile phone to browse the eCommerce site. 

WeChat integration 

Integrating your social media accounts with the eCommerce website will not only enhance audience engagement but also drive organic traffic to your site. Today, WeChat is the most popular social media platform, with over 1 million Monthly Active users (MAU). So when integrated with Magento, rest assured that you will attract a significant number of Chinese buyers to your online store. Below are some of the benefits of WeChat integration:

WeChat Login: ​When integrated to Magento, users can easily access your Magento eCommerce websites using their WeChat IDs. Apart from that, your eCommerce business will also access users' data based on their WeChat profiles. This includes WeChat username, profile picture, gender, location, and other details.

WeChat Messaging:​ Once you've generated followers on your WeChat account, you can start sending promotional messages, including shipping status for your customers' orders.

Account Binding:​ If your customers initially register with mobile and later sign in using WeChat, the system will automatically detect and group (‘bind’) the two accounts (WeChat account and mobile phone number). This enhances security for each customer.

Overview of Magento In China

Which companies are using Adobe Commerce Magento?

Already, a large number of Magento eCommerce sites are thriving in China. These sites include firms such as IKEA and GAP​. Adobe Commerce Magento is a performant solution for big companies looking for scalable and personalized solutions.

Magento China website Ecommerce list of brand

What should you do to localize Magento for China?  

As China's eCommerce culture differs from other eCommerce landscapes, standard Magento websites may fail to meet China-specific localized needs. But not to worry, because IT Consultis has helped many businesses integrate with the China ecosystem organically using Magento 2. As a result, these firms have enjoyed sustainable growth.

We’ve been focussing on localizing Magento to China, to enhance users’ shopping processes, such as:

●  Developing a mobile-centric strategy

●  Integrating social media channels to meet the needs of Chinese shoppers

●  Logistics and payment methods

●  China-specific check out processes

What About your Magento Project in China ? 

IT Consultis is a digital agency in Shanghai, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City strongly committed to researching, creating and executing the best digital solutions, ranging from strategic projects to entirely tailor-made web developments, Mini Programs,appse-commerce websites, and in-store experiences.

IT Consultis helps you build excellence in your digital transformation strategy in ChinaContact us to know more.

Send us an email at :​ ​aurelien.rigart@it-consultis.com