The challenges of being a new kid on the block in the age-old retail industry

Qumin is on a quest to help retailers and businesses profit from wealthy Chinese shoppers with an Anglo-Chinese marketing service that delivered campaigns for Skyscanner, Eurostar, Sony, Wrigley and the Regent Street Association last year.

“We recognised that Chinese global travellers are the driving force of many major city’s retail centres – 30 per cent of global luxury sales come from the Chinese, 80 per cent outside of the mainland,” said Tom Nixon, Qumin’s head of social and analytics.

“Despite this huge potential, we also found that many global brands have experienced difficulties in marketing products successfully to the Chinese mainly due to a lack of understanding of the very different market place.

“Qumin was born out of this realisation and was the first agency to provide full-service digital marketing services outside of China. It delivers strategic marketing campaigns centred on the touch points of a Chinese consumer, combined with world-class technical expertise in SEO, PPC, social media and ecommerce.”

The main challenge of being a pioneer in this particular field was education and informing people about the raft of platforms in China for both online and offline commerce.

Social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, which are often taken for granted for both casual browsing and marketing benefits, are banned in China, for example.

Chinese New Year to generate golden sales spike for UK’s designer outlets

He continued: “The way in which the Chinese interact with social media and the types of platforms available vary wildly from those in the UK, Europe and US. What works over here in terms of digital marketing, won’t work in China and it has been a challenge to get people to understand these differences.

“We developed Dao, a community for western digital marketers that helps them understand how to market more effectively to Chinese consumers. Its focus is to help English-speaking marketers understand Chinese consumers and run effective Chinese digital marketing campaigns for international brands.”

The community includes things such as workshops that stress the need to understand the marketplace for maximum results around campaign.

“Most recently we conducted a workshop on how to successfully market to the new Chinese consumer looking at how spending habits have changed and are likely to change in the future and how brands can appeal to this new demographic,” added Nixon.

“We had a fantastic turn out with companies including Eurostar, Cath Kidston, Selfridges, The Body Shop, Gordon Ramsay Group and the Regent Street Association all attending.”

As Accenture’s Larkin said, “think about working with startups”. On the other side of the coin, seven UK retailers were given “elite” status for ecommerce and multichannel services in February and these are the forward-thinking firms that should also be looked to for lessons.

You might want to steer clear of any strategies from House of Fraser, however. The luxury department store introduced a Valentine’s Day campaign on Twitter which was so bizarre that many followers though the company had been hacked.

Image: Shutterstock

These companies and more can be found at the Millennial 20/20 Summit, a gathering of brands, businesses and industry leaders who target the millennial generation  on 13-14 April.

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