China Marketing Blog

Using Magento 2 for China E-commerce - Interview With Jing Zhou

Tait Lawton — Wed, 05/02/2018 - 08:18

If you're planning to enter the Chinese e-commerce market, should you consider using a standalone website based on Magento? And, if you do, what do you need to do to be successful.

Today we interview Jing Zhou, Business Director of TMO Group.

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Tait's Question: Magento is a powerful e-commerce platform that many marketers outside of China are familiar with. Does it work in China? Should they consider it for their China e-commerce project? 

Answer by Jing Zhou: Currently TMO is mainly working on Magento 2 projects, so for this article, I would like to focus on Magento 2 development. 

Magento 2 is a high-performing and stable eCommerce platform, it can be considered an enterprise eCommerce solution. Yes, it definitely works in China with the right China localization. We have been helping many clients successfully launch their Magento 2 website and scale their business in China.

Q: What are the main things that should be done to a Magento-based site to localize it for China?

A: As you know, China eCommerce is very different in terms of user behavior and payment options. Normal Magento fails to deliver China-specific features to meet local needs. We help our clients' businesses integrate into the China Ecosystem organically by using Magento 2. It's the key to their sustainable growth.

For the last 3-4 years, we focused on localizations that impact the core user experience during the shopping process such as:

  • Building a mobile-centric approach,
  • China social media integration,
  • Payment and logistic
  • Chinese specific check-out process.

For more details, please check https://www.tmogroup.asia/magento-localized-for-china-ecommerce-its-happening/

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Q: Do you recommend any specific companies for hosting a Magento site in China?

A: TMO provides a turnkey solution for China eCommerce: starting from Define, Design, Develop and Deploy for Magento 2 projects. Since 2011, we accumulated extensive experience in China-optimized hosting solutions, especially dealing with high concurrency during peak promotion periods, such as Double 11, and solving high latency caused by complex ISP interconnections.

We will assure your Magento website runs fast, stable & secure.

 

Q: So many blogs out there say that businesses MUST use Tmall, but your company provides Magento services and other alternative solutions. Can you show us an example of Magento site that does very well with Chinese consumers?

A: It really depends. China is an enormous market with huge opportunities, but it is also highly competitive. We can broadly define two eCommerce development strategies.

  1. Fast Growth Strategy (high costs, higher growth).
  2. Organic Growth Strategy (lower costs, slower growth).

Marketplaces like Tmall are for the 1st approach. If the brand is well-known for the Chinese consumer, and already has a large user base with enough overall budget, this brand can benefit from the sales on Tmall for sure.

However, if the brand is new/not famous and would like to explore a smart business model to boost the online sales, not bound by all kinds of marketplace restrictions, a stand-alone website can be a good choice. They can make different customizations to fit the business needs, even make a connection to social channels like WeChat. The most important part is to gain ownership of your customer data, which you can't get from the marketplaces.

There are many Magento websites that run well in China such as IKEA, GAP and one of our clients - Mannatech. 

Mannatech is a US nutrition & food supplement brand. We helped them to build their Cross-border eCommerce platform in China.This multi-store system enables Chinese shoppers to buy from their desktop, phone, tablet and WeChat store. It is fully adapted to CBEC model (cross-border eCommerce) by connecting to SZ custom, bonded warehouse, and cross-border payment. We also developed an advanced referral and loyalty program that allowed users to easily share via WeChat and get rewards. 

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Q: Is there a strong Magento community in China? Is it easy to find developers with a knowledge of Magento and Chinese e-commerce?

A: Actually, this is still a problem. As the entry level of technical skill to work on Magento 2 is quite steep for many Chinese developers. If you search on Zhihu, you will find many complaints about how complex the Magento framework is. For a long period of time, we couldn’t find qualified Chinese developers for our Magento projects. But this situation has slowly improved. We currently have a team of foreign and Chinese Magento developers, and we focused a lot on internal technical training on Magento 2. With the trends of multichannel eCommerce, more and more brands will want to start their brand eCommerce site, so Magento 2 is definitely a good choice. We believe this trend is attracting more and more local talent to enter the world of Magento.

Q: There are quite a few options to choose from for a Chinese e-commerce store. For example, Tmall, JD, WeChat stores, Magento, Shopify, Amazon. Which types of businesses is Magento a good fit for? Should they use only Magento, or use multiple solutions?

A: As I mentioned in question 4, eventually the aim is to develop a multi-channel sales strategy whereby one may sell their products on both marketplaces and brand eCommerce (Magento). It can be used for the creation of a connection between existing information systems and a unified eCommerce platform. Furthermore, it is often used to implement brands' own CRM program. 

 

Jing Zhou is the business director of TMO Group since 2011, and has participated in most Magento 2 projects within the company. Her role in these projects was to combine local eCommerce and market insight into technical solutions, then set up the right eCommerce strategy for clients' success.

 
 

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