Keys to Ecommerce Growth in China: Pattern Success Stories & Best Practices

George Hatch

July 27, 2020

China. It’s the next frontier for many U.S. ecommerce brands. It’s also a giant question mark: How?

“If you talk to U.S. brands very long, you start realizing one of the more compelling pieces to them is, ‘How can I move my product internationally?’ and China always comes up,” said Pattern’s Co-Founder and CEO, David Wright.

There are many unknowns for brands newly considering China, such as shipping and marketing logistics and establishing brand recognition. The exciting thing is that brands willing to do the work are finding lots of success selling in China. Pattern brands that have moved their business into China have seen their sales double, and it’s not an unrealistic number.

So what is the secret? How are brands finding success and growth in China?

Here are a few Pattern brands that have found successful growth in the country and what they’ve done to get there.

China Case Study: Thorne building Tmall from the ground up

Thorne Research is a U.S. healthcare and supplements company that wanted to expand their reach into the China market. In September 2019, with Pattern’s help, Thorne successfully launched a Tmall Global flagship store (similar to Amazon, Tmall is a platform for Chinese and international businesses to sell brand name goods to consumers) and was able to establish brand recognition in the country.

Since its launch on Tmall, Thorne has achieved a month on month growth of over 100% each month. China is now its second largest market after the U.S., and in six months, Thorne’s store ranking jumped from Tier One to Tier Four, putting it in the top 15% of supplement stores on the Chinese market.

How did Thorne win big in China?

Two of the key elements of Thorne’s success were to have a local team on the ground establishing on and offline brand partnerships and to leverage multi-channel marketing to their advantage.

Launch event

Thorne was welcomed into China with a sponsored Launch Event featuring well-known Chinese athletes in partnership with the brand as well as social media influencers and media invited to cover the event. The Baidu search index (Baidu is China’s largest search engine) for Thorne recorded 27% YOY growth attributed to the launch event.

Chinese Influencer marketing success story | Pattern

Read more about Thorne’s success in China here.

Chinese social media marketing and ecommerce platforms

Just as U.S. brands do on U.S.-based social media platforms, Thorne created a presence on Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and RED to raise awareness through their official accounts. Thorne has continued to establish brand awareness on social media by engaging and partnering with key opinion leaders and consumers in a micro-influencer/ambassador type relationship.

China social media marketing for ecommerce | Pattern

Live-stream shopping

Thorne’s daily sales have increased by 27% due to regular, 3-hour long live casts on their Tmall store that are customized to each demographic of customer. Visitors can access the videos through four different channels: a live casting channel, the store homepage, Weitao (the built-in social media platform for Taobao and Tmall), and AI referral. They can also get exclusive vouchers through these channels.

Chinese livestreaming sales success story | Pattern

Partnerships

One thing that has worked really well for Thorne’s products is for the brand to partner with hospitals and clinics by creating OOH marketing, get their name dropped in healthcare seminars, and partner with offline and online doctors who can make recommendations and help increase brand recognition.

In addition to partnerships for marketing, Thorne collaborated with health management institutions with a large demand for food supplements. B2B2C sales now contribute to about 33% of Thorne’s total sales volume.

China Case Study: Jewelry brand expanding global footprint

This jewelry brand partner has a global footprint across 100 countries and €2.7 billion turnover. While they were well-represented in the Asia Pacific region with physical stores, they didn’t have an ecommerce presence in China.

Pattern developed a digital roadmap for the brand that included a two-pronged strategy for direct and marketplace sales in China, and they offered support during the brand’s site roll-outs in each market.

Following the launch of this brand’s Tmall site, their Chinese sales rose 120% year on year, and China now comprises 30% of the total Asia Pacifc sales for the brand. The brand has been so successful that they’re working with Pattern to establish a similar presence in the Europe and Middle East and North Africa regions.

China Case Study: Skechers building a D2C site

Skechers is a brand that already had an established presence in China and was experiencing much success across Asia, including on Tmall, when they were presented with the opportunity to grow their business further through a D2C digital channel. This channel would serve their customers better and engage them more.

Armed with Pattern analysts and ecommerce consultants that helped the brand access in-market technology and project management and advisory services, Skechers was able to select a system integrator for China, facilitate successful partnerships that helped their brand grow, and in 2018-2019, experience a YOY sales growth of 12% on their D2C site. Skechers currently has one of the biggest D2C sites in China.

Read more about Skechers’ success in China here.

What these brands have in common

Each of our brands that have found success in China have worked with Pattern’s local, on-the-ground team that knows both the country and the language well.

Local teams know exactly which multi-channel markets will lead to the greatest growth and success for your brand. They’re also able to establish partnerships with the right people and organizations to raise brand awareness.

According to Arthur Cheung, China General Manager for Pattern’s global digital consultancy arm, local teams diligently experiment with and test each ecosystem to see what strategies work best for which consumers. When it comes to social media, they help your brand cover the whole platform, partnering with 50-100 key opinion customers and content developers who can make sure that when customers look for your products, they find them.

With the help of local teams, Pattern brands across the board have experienced an average growth rate of 170%, Cheung said.

How Pattern is helping brands succeed in China

Through our local teams in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, Pattern provides brands with the resources they need to truly succeed in the Chinese market. This includes professional consultations, guidance through cultural, consumer, and trading nuances, and diversified partnerships that fit your brand.

Our team will analyze your overall ecommerce data, your competitors, and the opportunities available for your brand in the area. They’ll also give you the support you’ll need to have a successful launch.

To learn more about how Pattern can help your brand find success in China and Asia markets, reach out to our Pattern team below.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)