40% more Chinese tourists flocked to the UK for Golden Week compared to last year. This annual event and Chinese New Year are great opportunities for UK retailers, travel destinations and attractions, yet few continue to get the opportunities right?
Here are my Top Tips for success, and with the next New Year only around the corner, planning needs to start now:
1) Though many merchants have adopted Chinese methods of payment in recent months, few use its potential to drive footfall and sales. Payment platforms have great functionality to attract tourists and generate sales. We have seen amazing results using these techniques with brands and retailers across many sectors including apparel, beauty, and visitor destinations.
2) Golden Week and Chinese New Year are now highly competitive. Media channels and KOLs are demanding higher rates, and longer lead times. Most brands and store owners leave it too late to plan and buy campaigns cost effectively. Many simply miss out altogether.
3) Brands and retailers frequently do not brief staff on Chinese shopping culture, or make them aware of marketing campaigns, and sales are often lost instore right at the final point of the customer journey. Staff should be aware of promotions, be briefed on handling enquiries from Chinese customers, and ideally have Mandarin speaking ability. Capturing WeChat data is also advised so that customers can follow retailers and brands long after they have left the UK. This generates advocacy and future sales opportunities.
4) Brands that are really doing well in UK Chinese markets have ongoing dialogue by engaging target customers using compelling content and offers throughout the year. Concentrating all marketing effort on one or two key festivals isn’t a good strategy. The better way to sell to customers is to build user generated content, and create advocacy by deploying ongoing marketing.
5) Brands and retailers frequently fail to understand Chinese customers wants and needs. Often this is based on poor or out of date advice, and incorrect assumptions. Failure to understand the motivations of target customers leads to ineffective marketing and poor sales.
6) Targeting domiciled Chinese customers is a great place to start. Chinese students by way of example, are on the doorstep, have large amounts of disposable income, shop all year round, and act as shopping guides for visiting inbound tourists at key times. This lucrative segment is often ignored, yet those brands that nurture it are often the most successful.
If you want to successfully target Chinese tourists or students, or are currently struggling to get traction with marketing, consider joining one of our inbound consumer workshops: