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TARGETING CHINESE SHOPPERS

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Gabriel Grisham

By Gabriel Grisham, Head of Growth at NihaoPay

For brands large and small, this is perhaps one of the most exciting times to be in retail. There are literally (no, not figuratively) hundreds of millions of consumers in China with purchasing power and a thirst for global brands. Ten years ago, reaching these consumers was incredibly difficult, requiring significant investment, knowledge, and risk before a single dollar of revenue could be earned. Today, this is happily not the case.

“In China, consumers are more likely to go directly to the source and shop on the… flagship ecommerce store.” 

– Frank Lavin, CEO of ExportNow, on selling to China

Chinese consumers’ affinity for ecommerce and familiarity with international brands and websites means reaching them directly is possible without setting foot in China. Rather than viewing China’s consumer population as “cross-border,” the time has come to view them as a natural extension of your current buying population. This is because the two essential elements of a transaction – payment and delivery – are now easier than ever to implement.

If you want to reach Chinese consumers directly, effectively, and with purpose, you need a plan. I recommend breaking the process down into four major steps. 

Targeting Chinese shoppers_

Step 1: Take a payment

Shopper #1: “Where did you buy that?”

Shopper #2: “I bought it online.” 

– A conversation that happens every day in China

Buying habits and expectations are well established for Chinese consumers. Their primary motivation is not dissimilar to buyers anywhere in the world; they want to make purchases that reflect their own personalities and values. If you have a product and a story, you can sell to Chinese consumers. Your products might already available on Taobao. However, before you invest heavily in marketing or logistics, take one simple step: integrate a payment option, like UnionPay or AliPay, into your current checkout process on your website.

Your website should be where the core elements of your brand will be communicated to your audience in China. If you want to get to know your Chinese consumers and you want them to get to know your brand, your website is where this relationship starts. If visitors like what they see and they want to make a purchase, make it easy for them. The information and data you will collect from these visitors will be instrumental in informing how and when you take steps 2, 3, and 4.

Steps 2 & 3: Marketing and logistics

With Step 1 you get the early movers, the fashion forward consumers hungry for your brand. With Chinese travelers making more than 100 million trips outside China, assuming you have to ship to China to attract Chinese consumers is only partially true. Many have their own way to take delivery of your products if you don’t ship direct, whether it’s via a friend or relative who lives abroad and can forward the items, or a freight forwarder they have used in the past. However, to attract the next group and convert them from visitors to buyers, you need to invest in both your brand as well as a logistics solution that gets your products to the consumer’s doorstep efficiently.

These two separate steps can be implemented together or separately, depending on your specific market. For both tasks, multiple solutions exist, from building capabilities in house to outsourcing the entire process. It isn’t free, but you should have enough data from Step 1 to justify the investment. Create a Chinese website and a social presence on Weibo, QQ, and other social networks. Identify a few key opinion leaders to drive exposure and awareness, all the while measuring your ROI against the resulting increased traffic and purchases.

The goal is to find out what works and what doesn’t from a marketing perspective, and to better understand who and where your consumers are. Build your brand, learn what your consumers like, what products and sizes are popular, what effect promotions and sales have on transaction volume, and at what price point or discount. Once you have this information, you will be ready to succeed with a local solution.

Step 4: Local fulfillment

As sales and knowledge increase, the time will come where it makes sense to have a local fulfillment option for your consumers. This can be on a marketplace such as Tmall or JD.com, but it can also include distributors and your own branded brick and mortar stores. Again, you can outsource most of these operations completely, or keep tight control and hire your own team in China. The cost of operations will cut into your margins, but the sheer size of China’s consumer market should make the added investment well worth it.

Gabriel Grisham

Gabriel Grisham

How you manage these different channels will be essential to your overall success. Know the holiday schedule for China and arrange promotions accordingly. (Chinese consumers love a sale!) Promote traffic to the sales channels that makes the most sense, including your primary website, not just the China-based marketplaces. Constantly interact and learn about your consumers via social media and other promotional activities to form a lasting relationship with them.

The speed at which you move through these steps is up to you. While Chinese consumers’ shopping behavior may differ from their U.S. counterparts, the primary drivers motivating purchases are very similar: they want their purchases to make their lives better and reflect who they are. Some brands moved years ago through Steps 2 through 4, as Step 1, taking a payment, was neither easy nor in demand. Today it is not only available but also relatively simple to implement. You want your Chinese shoppers to identify with your brand and make a purchase; making that essential part of the relationship easy and smooth is where the process begins.

Connect with Gabriel Grisham and NihaoPay via twitter @gabrielgrisham, @nihaopay

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Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU’s Sefcovic

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Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU's Sefcovic 1

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain must show it is fully using the avenues available under the Brexit divorce deal to minimise trade disruption in Northern Ireland before seeking concessions, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

Britain’s exit from the EU’s trading orbit in January has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland – which remains in the EU’s single market for goods – and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Maros Sefcovic, a vice president of the European Commission, said he hoped to learn of British efforts during an online meeting on Wednesday .

“I was also reminding my British partners that this must be a two-way street,” he told a news conference.

Sefcovic said real-time access to the IT systems of customs could smooth customs processes and a trusted trader scheme could ensure Northern Irish supermarkets were properly supplied.

“I hope that tomorrow… we will get feedback from our UK partners on how all these flexibilities and grace periods are being used because it’s clearly a pre-requisite for the EU, the Commission and the member states to assess any further requests,” Sefcovic said.

The EU’s insistence on Britain honouring its withdrawal treaty has left the British province of Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market and put a customs border in the Irish Sea dividing the province from mainland Britain.

Sefcovic said that there were inevitable consequences of Brexit so not everything could be resolved.

Members of Northern Ireland’s two largest pro-British parties have said they are set take part in legal action challenging part of Britain’s divorce deal.

However, Sefcovic said companies there might over time see the divorce arrangements as an advantage.

“Being in the single market and at the same time the internal market of the UK is actually a great business opportunity. And I hope that our joint work will amplify this possibility,” he said.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Mark Potter)

 

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Calabrio charts record year-on-year UK growth as demand for cloud technology soars during lockdown

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How cloud technology can help you keep on top of your business finances

Digital transformation acceleration drives cloud contact centre adoption of Calabrio workforce engagement management technology

Calabrio, the workforce engagement management (WEM) company, has seen a strong growth trajectory in the UK during the last 12 months, despite the global pandemic. Achieving 30% year-on-year sales growth, Calabrio International has welcomed more than 150 new customers, with the UK adding a third of those from a wide range of industries including many online challenger businesses. In addition, Calabrio has made strategic new appointments to build its customer support network.

Calabrio charts record year-on-year UK growth as demand for cloud technology soars during lockdown 2

Kris Mckenzie

Kris McKenzie, SVP, Sales, International at Calabrio commented, “Our focus on cloud-first solutions has resonated well with our customers’ need to accelerate their digital transformation and move their contact centres to the cloud in order to maintain business continuity. At a time of uncertainty when consumers need robust support more than ever before, we are witnessing first-hand the cloud transformation of customer services by organisations looking to deliver the next level in customer experience. Modern businesses and contact centres using Calabrio are able to provide exceptional service to their customers through disrupted times.

“Coupled with businesses operating solely online, we have also seen strong demand across the board from more traditional sectors such as finance, insurance, retail, consumer goods, local and central government departments. These organisations require an innovative yet reliable solution to help them manage unprecedented levels in demand.”

When Calabrio surveyed its customers recently[i] 72% of organisations stated they are either moving to the cloud, are already there or plan to increase their investment in cloud technology in 2021. In order to support forward-thinking organisations looking to optimise their investment in cloud contact centre solutions, Calabrio has made two significant appointments.

Niall Gallacher has joined Calabrio as Business Intelligence (BI) strategic consultant and will be instrumental in the design of services that drive value from data and analytics, helping Calabrio customers to solve complex business problems. Before joining Calabrio, Niall spent 6 years with Qlik as Industry Solutions Director. He has 25 years of experience in data, analytics and BI, 15 of which have been with contact centres for leading companies in telecommunications, energy and high-tech industries.

Graeme Gabriel joins as a presales engineer, supporting Calabrio’s workforce engagement suite. He will work with customers to ensure that they achieve maximum benefit from their use of Calabrio solutions, no matter the remote, on-site or hybrid environment. Graeme has international experience encompassing telephony, contact centre, WFM, analytics and customer experience (CX) across a range of sectors, and has held consultancy, advocacy and planning positions at companies including Injixo, Vluent, QPC and AVIOS.

McKenzie concluded, “We welcome both Niall and Graeme to Calabrio, during what has been an incredible year of growth for Calabrio as we supported our customers through these challenging times. This is an exciting and dynamic time for Calabrio as we continue to deliver the value of our all-in-one cloud contact centre suite, including call recording, quality management (QM), WFM, speech analytics and business intelligence suitable for organisations of all shapes and sizes.”

[i] TechValidate survey of 192 users of Calabrio.  Published 29 December 2020.

 

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Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise

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Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise 3

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Thomson Reuters Corp reported higher fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday and said it would start a two-year program that will change it from a holding company to an operating company.

The news and information company, which owns Reuters News, said revenues rose 2% to $1.62 billion, while its operating profit jumped more than 300% to $956 million, reflecting the sale of an investment, a gain from an amendment to pension plan and lower costs.

Its three main divisions, Legal Professionals, Tax & Accounting Professionals and Corporates, all showed higher organic quarterly sales and adjusted profit.

It was not immediately clear if adjusted earnings per share of 54 cents were directly comparable to the 46 cents expected.

Thomson Reuters’ markets are healthy and evolving, making this a good time to transition the company from a content provider to a “content-driven technology company,” Chief Executive Steve Hasker said in a statement.

Workplaces have been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and artificial intelligence has a larger role in professional markets, he said.

(Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)

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