While demand for foreign wine imports in China is booming, there is more to building a wine brand in China than just finding the right importer or distributor. As Western winemakers are finding out, there is a lot that goes into ensuring that your bottle of wine is the one that Chinese consumers select. On average a hypermart in Beijing or Shanghai customers can find 500 or more types of wines to choose from. So, the main question is: how do you stand out in this crowded market?
Understand Chinese Wines Consumers
The first step to building a wine brand in China is to understand the behaviors, preferences, and habits of Chinese consumers. The main factor that determines how attractive your wine is to Chinese consumers is its prestige and reputation.
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Chinese Wine Consumers highly value a prestigious brand, the overall factors :
- Including country or region of origin
- Grape variety
The reason is that many Chinese consumers are “buying into a lifestyle” when they buy a wine bottle. For Chinese customers having the ability to afford an expensive and prestigious bottle of wine is a social indicator, it’s social proof that a consumer has achieved a certain level of success in life. Moreover, since bottles of wine are often exchanged as gifts or given to mark special occasions, the overall prestige of the brand matters more than in other cultures.
Chinese consumers are becoming more and more educated about the subject of wine, especially when it comes to food and their pairings, however, they still tend to buy based on an instantly recognizable brand that reduces the effort required to understand all the factors that help to determine the wine’s value.
French winemakers, for example, have embarked on extensive efforts to build a recognizable brand around the Champagne region of France. From this perspective, “Champagne” has become a brand and not just the name of a region, it is particularly appreciated by Chinese consumers, indeed they like to enjoy Champagne on the most important and festive occasions. Other wine famous wine regions such as Bordeaux have managed to establish themselves as brands in the mind of the average Chinese consumer.
A specific Target: Wine consumption varies greatly in the country
Not all wines come from famous and reputed wine regions, and that has forced winemakers to become much more creative about how to build recognition for their brands. The aim is to raise the brand’s online presence and interact with chinese customers, if chinese consumers often encounter certain wine brands at their favourite restaurants, bars or hotels, they will be more likely to pick up a bottle of that wine the next time they go to a retail location.
However, there is another step that wine brands can take to have a greater impact on overall sales, that is targeting the internet wine sector. If you take a look at the overall structure of the Chinese wine market, you can see why this is such an important approach to take indeed only 18% of all wine sales take place in on-trade establishments. Moreover, supermarkets and convenience stores account for only another 30% of all wine sales. The other 52% of wine sales come from online sales and specialty wine stores.
It is important to go to where the consumers are online and spend time creating unique experiences that appeal to Chinese consumers. There is plenty of opportunities to brand website on popular e-commerce platforms such as Tmall or Taobao or to create unique social media pages on Chinese social media sites, these websites are very useful as they help convert users into customers.
In China Branding is Vital for Small Wineries
The Chinese wine market is extremely diverse, with almost 1 million different types of wines available for sale within the country.
It is very important to pay attention to branding. At the very minimum, you need to make sure that you have a distinct name and a recognizable logo or symbol that is protected and personalized. Otherwise, you run the risk of copycat winemakers using similar trademarks or logos. An unsophisticated consumer might reach for a bottle of “Pinfolds,” not realizing that it is a cheap copycat of a “Penfolds”.
Tips to market your winery in China :
Understanding the market and defining your goals is a must, you will need a reliable marketing strategy to make your spot China. The competition is intense, and you will definitely need to make a serious effort to set yourself apart from your competitors, create and build your online presence and also get the attention of distributors, retailers, and consumers.
What are the steps you can take?
- Wechat Marketing: From wechat group sharing to a wechat (mini program) store, to an official account and on H5 Brochure that can easily be shared with distributors.
- Social Media: Promote your brand on Weibo with the contest, share videos about wines etiquettes on lifestyle apps, and so on
- Kols: Collaborate with Chinese wines big and smaller names. This will help your wineries make a name inside China’s wine connoisseurs market.
- Get yourself a webpage in China to gain more visibility on Chinese search engine (keep in mind that 70% of online research initiated in China are done through Baidu).
Sell your Wine Online
Working on your reputation and online presence will make your Chinese eCommerce Journey significantly easier. From finding a tmall partner to entering the platforms of your choice and to having a decent conversion rate from the get-go.
The main online wine shopping sites are as follows, it might be useful to sell your items on the following sites :
However, poeples buy wines on bigger platfrom such as tmall & JD. Truth be told, the platform you chose depend on your target audience as well as your budget.
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