The cosmetics industry in China is growing at an astonishing speed every day and there are hundreds of foreign brands in fierce fight in this huge and rapid expanding cake. For several years, China cosmetics market has been keeping a growth around 15% annually.
There are numerous distribution methods, but they are not easy to adopt, especially when you want a stand in shopping malls or supermarkets. The major ways of distribution are supermarkets, B to B, selective distribution and procurement of local companies with their channels. Cosmetics are more present in supermarkets. The disadvantage is that these stores are rarely found in second and third tier of cities.
Advertising campaigns on Internet is widely used by cosmetics brands in China. This is an efficient way to make a brand well known. For most, if they are thought to be valuable contents, they will be further spread on social networks. The most popular social network for people to get information in 2013 is Weibo. This is the platform used by most brands to communicate. A new rising network is WeChat, but few brands are present there, and for those who are, they are not very active.
In many areas, especially in the cosmetics, consumers in China are mostly attracted by the products via the word of mouth. In fact, Asians are always looking for information and testimonials about a product or indirections on how to use it. In China, the web is a gold mine of information. It is a key support for business communication. Social networks are therefore essential to develop a brand of cosmetics.
Sales of cosmetics increase every day. Websites such as Taobao or Tmall who are handling multiple products, or Jumei, focusing on cosmetics. These sites are successful because they practice promotions, and this is what the consumer is looking for when he buy online: the best price. The website should explain the product, ratings is a must also, in fact, the customers must be reassured to buy online because they can be really angry if they discover what they put on their face is fake product.
Despite the importance of the web, a brand must also keep newspapers. In fact, advertising on billboards, in the subway, or on magazines are always effective and useful communication ways, permitting to vary the display media and broadcasting. Television, press, radio or outdoor display are also beneficial to the coverage of your brand. For example, TV is a way to reach the entire Chinese population, not just the big cities.
E-business is particularly boosted by opinion leaders present on the networks who advise Internet users in their shopping, selection and use of their products. Customers have confidence in these celebrities, much more than in speech marks. Opinion leaders are either famous bloggers fueling the brand awareness online or brand ambassadors who aim to promote and disseminate the brand and its image, or stars for that consumer recognize themselves into the brand through them. These figures are excellent spokesperson for brands.
A star helps a lot to establish a brand image in consumers’ mind. A consumer will see more the benefits of a product on a Chinese model, who looks like her even more than on a western model. Another benefit to use the local Chinese star or model is Chinese people can accept the brand message from a local celebrity better. Indeed, the standards of beauty in China are very different from European standards.
The Asian population does not trust local brands that much, as she will not trust an unknown brand. Competition is increasingly fierce and it is important for a brand to be known as soon as possible. Chinese are looking for quality products that fit their needs, which is why it is important for the brand to be well positioned in the consumer’s mind.
Cosmetics brands have to adapt not only their strategy in China but also their products. The needs from Chinese consumers is far away from that in the West, particularly in the field of cosmetics. Most brands develop a range of whitening creams, appreciated and sought by Asians people. Asians are followers of these products, and it is important for them to feel that the brand cares about their beauty and adapts the products to their problems and skins.
The Chinese need to feel the care from the brand. A consumer who receive the interaction from the brand will give more preference to it. Social networks and opinion leaders are very effective ways for a brand to contact with their consumers. Consumers who have a solid relationship with a brand, a brand which often communicate about it and have answers to his questions, will tend to consume products of the latter.