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The booming Chinese e-commerce market makes a compelling case for global brands to localise their platform and services. The stake of not adapting is rather high, not to say radically disqualifying. Here, we provide a handful of tips which are worth considering when localizing your e-commerce platform.
The booming Chinese e-commerce market makes a compelling case for global brands to localise their platform and services. The stake of not adapting is rather high, not to say radically disqualifying. Here, we provide a handful of tips which are worth considering when localizing your e-commerce platform. 1) Online Chat Presence “One of the most distinctive online habits among Chinese consumers is the tendency to prefer instant messaging (IM) over e-mail. For instance, 87 percent of Chinese digital consumers use the Internet for IM” - BCG report “China’s Digital Generations 2.0 When it comes to online shopping, most Chinese consumers don’t take it lightly. When encountering an inquiry which requires an answer, according to researches, most shoppers prefer talking directly to customer services over waiting for an email reply. As different as it might sound, potential customers will be more likely to be turned away if a live chat is not properly implemented on your e-commerce site, regardless of how established your brand is at a global scale. In fact, most e-commerce websites in China are equipped with at least 2 formats of live chat for shoppers to choose from, especially highlighted in the product detail page where users need the most support. While localizing its content for the China market,  the korean online shopping site, Stylenanda, implemented a live chat in a prominent place: Booking.com puts its 24/7 hotline at the bottom of the page: altima° helped one of its clients, Thomas Cook, bringing their service to China. Live chat is among one of the UX improvements which was later implemented on their new site. 2) Easy Single Sign In The popularity of emails in China is not as high as in Western countries except for working purposes. Thus, for the local market, there are two common ways to login and register: through third party platforms or mobile numbers. Websites could be directly using the information retrieved from third party platforms by using third-party login, which helps save time for users to register. In addition to that, using mobile numbers to register is not only convenient for users to manage the account, but also good for the brand to ensure the authenticity of users information. Users can login with their WeChat and/or Weibo account on Tripadvisor’s Chinese site. Amazon.cn uses mobile numbers and WeChat accounts as the approach to register. Local social media accounts and mobile numbers can also be used to log in on Sephora.cn. 3) Category/Navigation Bar Major Chinese e-commerce websites use two kinds of navigation bars: the vertical mega menu on the left side, which helps refine the classification of products, and the horizontal navigation bar on top. Case: My protein is an European leading sport nutrition brand. When localizing their online shopping website in China, they split their sport supplements and protein powders into different categories, while it was only one on the original site. Instead of putting sport supplements in the navigation bar, they create a “Foodie” area on their Chinese website, considering that Asians put great attention to food related things. Skyscanner adds traveling inspirations and App downloading on their Chinese website. PayPal translated their navigation to fit the Chinese context, and add the receive the payment of foreign trade part according to Chinese use cases. Decathlon.cn changes their horizontal menu to the mega menu and highlights the sports filter. 4) The Uprising Social Media Tools in China        “ Social media is the key to success for e-commerce companies in China. ” A brand that wants to attract as many Chinese customers as possible do not want to miss out Chinese social media tools, such as Wechat and Weibo. Weibo is known as the “Chinese Twitter”, and it has become one of the most influential Social Network Service (SNS) in China. The other one, Wechat, would be more like a mobile Facebook, adapted to the Chinese market. As most of the transactions on Wechat happen between acquaintances, the conversion rate is subsequently higher on Wechat than on Weibo, given that sharings and recommendations coming from friends are more likely to striking than neutral postings. There is another online social community that’s worth mentioning, which is Zhihu. Zhihu is a Chinese version of Quora which captures a considerable amount of frequent and loyal users. It is no wonder that it has become the rising star among PR specialists from different brands. Overall, most companies use local social media platforms to promote and run campaigns. However, these could also be potentially leveraged to offer better customer services. Users could indeed follow social media accounts to ask questions and gain information on the products and services they are interested in. For example, some airline companies are starting to offer check-in services to users on their Wechat public account. The most relevant function related to social media on cross-border e-commerce platforms is sharing. Share buttons are usually put under the product’s picture or under the product’s title. Sometimes, when there is too much information on the product’s page, websites put share buttons on the right floating bar. To share product pages via Wechat, users can scan the related QR code. Amazon.cn puts local social media share icons under the product title. The Chinese version of TripAdvisor does not only highlight sharing functions on the right hand side, but also promotes their WeChat account under the photo gallery. While designing Bioderma’s Chinese website, we implemented share icons under the CTA, with a highlighted social media account link on the sticky bar, at the bottom. 5) Always Another Promotion Around the Corner! To leverage the mainstream sub-culture, most e-commerce websites regularly provide special local promotions to attract users. In recent years, merchants would manufacture “festivals” such as “11.11”, “12.12”, and “5.20”, to use them as the stunts for sales and promotions. In general, the information of promotion is put forward on banners, on the first screen. Here is how Sephora promotes their 11.11 sales information. Estee Lauder highlights the 11.11 campaign on their Chinese website in order to attract their targeted customers. Amazon.cn puts a slideshow in order to display their series of promotion event. 6) Trust is The Gold It is easy for shoppers to be skeptical while shopping online, hence the need of reassuring your customers on the fact that you are a reliable seller. As a matter of fact, there is very often a message of trust on Chinese e-commerce websites. For example, customers of fashion e-commerce websites are looking for proof of products authenticity and returning policy conditions. Reassuring notices are usually put on the header or on the pre-footer of the website. Clarins displays reassuring messages on the first screen of its Chinese website. Lookfantastic shows trust notices again on the checkout. Clinique’s Chinese website displays messages of trust on the product detail page. 7) Customer Info Regarding customers information, there are a couple of differences as well. For instance, Chinese users are usually not asked to fill in the post code. Unlike other citizens, most Chinese people don't know their exact post code, which anyway does not have any impact on the shipping process. Another specific information is the Fapiao. Fapiao are official invoices, registered at the local tax bureau, which are used as a final proof-of-purchase of a good or service. When purchasing goods for business use, consumers ask for a Fapiao as a proof. Not being able to provide Fapiaos to Chinese customers would constitute a large disadvantage compared to the competition. Estee Lauder has also changed the checkout form to ask for the user’s full name instead of his/her first and last names, in addition to adding a Fapiao field. 8) Tap, Scan and Pay Research shows that more than half of Chinese online shoppers would like to pay through third-party online payment platforms. In China, this business is blooming thanks to Alipay, WeChat pay and UnionPay (Quick & Online). Owned by Alibaba Group, Alipay is by far the biggest third-party payment platform. Aside from facilitating online transactions, Alipay has been diversifying their services, which include Yu’ebao - an online investment fund, and Ant Financial - an online financial service provider. WeChat Pay, developed by the IM giant Tencent, gained its popularity by offering a wide range of public services through it. As for UnionPay, it is the only domestic bank card issuer. While more than 70% of Chinese customers are using Alipay and Wechat pay, UnionPay failed to accumulate a user base as well as killer use cases. Over the course of time, using Alipay or Wechat payment is considered by most consumers as more convenient than using traditional Union Pay channels. Users can directly scan sellers’ QR code which supports Wechat or Alipay to pay the orders. Compared to filling all the bankcard information, scan and pay has quickly became the trend. E-commerce websites Revolve.com and lookfantastic.com added Alipay payment on their Chinese website. Club Med’s Chinese website – designed and developed by altima°, offers Alipay and Union pay as the 2 main methods of payment. 9) Real Inputs from Your Users Due to the lack of trust on product’s quality, more than 60% of Chinese customers tend to make payment decisions through product reviews. On most of the Chinese e-commerce websites, users are allowed to post opinions with pictures, and, are able to ask questions to those who already bought the product. Product reviews do not only allow users to know more about the product, but also encourage them to proceed to the transaction. Lancome’s and Bioderma’s Chinese site have added quite a lot of information on the product, compared to a short description on the original platforms.
"[在altima] 我们并不怕失败或者犯错,因为我们总是从中学到很多,然后一直进步。在这里大家都很包容,我们更快地成长,越来越宽容,越来越勇于创造,我们终将会越来越好。" 沈思在德国学习生活了将近六年, 她在那儿学习了德语并且完成了她的硕士学位,毕业专业为“国际管理与信息系统”。她第一次参与工作是在斯图加特的戴姆勒总部,然而在2016年的7月,她决定离开贝多芬的故乡回到中国。在altima°北京,作为数字项目的执行,她继续着她的职业生涯。年轻、充满活力,沈思勇于担当、敢于负责,很快成为了队伍中的重要一员。
"[在altima] 我们并不怕失败或者犯错,因为我们总是从中学到很多,然后一直进步。在这里大家都很包容,我们更快地成长,越来越宽容,越来越勇于创造,我们终将会越来越好。" 沈思在德国学习生活了将近六年, 她在那儿学习了德语并且完成了她的硕士学位,毕业专业为“国际管理与信息系统”。她第一次参与工作是在斯图加特的戴姆勒总部,然而在2016年的7月,她决定离开贝多芬的故乡回到中国。在altima°北京,作为数字项目的执行,她继续着她的职业生涯。年轻、充满活力,沈思勇于担当、敢于负责,很快成为了队伍中的重要一员。 在接下来的采访里,你会了解到她是怎样融入altima°的 你为什么会选择离开有好吃的巧克力和酸菜的国度——德国,回到中国呢? 沈思:  因为中国的美食。这可能听上去不是很严肃,但是我肯定很多在外国呆了很久的中国人都会同意。我太想念国内的食物了,实在没有什么吃的可以与中国的媲美。 当然,这是我回来的原因之一。另外我也很想念我的家人,回国的话可以离他们更近点。更重要的是,从职业的角度上来看,中国现在是一个很好的选择。经济发展相对活跃,提供了较多的机会。相比之下,德国情况变得比较严峻,特别是作为一个外国人,在事业上想要有进一步的发展是比较难的。 你在世界上最大的企业之一戴姆勒工作过;那么在中国,你期望怎样的企业文化呢? 沈思:  在来altima°之前,我也收到了其他公司的工作邀请。其中有一个来自一家有名的IT公司——位于北京的中国总部。但是,我犹豫了。和很多人一样,我被这样享有盛誉的公司吸引了:巨大的公司规模,世界科技的领导者。但是,我相信实事上可能由于成熟的本土化,在这些公司工作并没有那么有趣:内部结构会比较复杂甚至繁冗,作风也比较传统。我还没有准备好在那样的环境下工作,至少现在没有。我希望公司不只是把员工当生产机器,而是可以真正地去关心他们的发展。在这样的公司里你可以不断地提高你自己的能力,你可以有空间表达自己的想法,并且不用过于忧虑所说的每一句话会不会带来潜在的不好的影响。一个好的公司应该是一个我每天醒来都很乐意去工作的地方。另外,工作和生活的平衡对我来说也很重要。 除了以上这些,我想加入到年轻有活力的队伍当中去。这样往往会有更多的创新的想法,并且去实现他们。 当你来的altima°北京的的时候,你的第一印象是什么? 沈思: 非常年轻能干的团队。在这里,我们年轻,所以我们无畏前行。我们并不怕失败或者犯错,因为我们总是从中学到很多,然后一直进步。在这里大家都很包容,我们更快地成长,越来越宽容,越来越勇于创造,我们终将会越来越好。这里,同事更像是朋友,这让工作氛围更温暖,更令人愉快。 你在altima°北京的职位和具体工作是什么呢? 沈思: 我的职位是项目执行,负责数字化项目,包括网页产品和社交媒体活动。从项目的初期概念到最终实行,我参与制定数字化战略,与团队一起分析客户的目标和特性,以保证客户在中国这样一个竞争力和独特性都很强的市场上成功。现在,我正负责茱莉亚学院的项目,帮助他们通过社交媒体平台,提高他们的品牌在中国市场的知名度。这些任务对我来说都是非常好的学习机会。考虑到我们提供多种多样的专业服务,从网页的建设、本土化,到搜索引擎的营销、网页分析、社交媒体和市场营销管理,我有大把的机会学习各种技能。 除了工作,你很快地承担起组里的其他责任,你现在是快乐大使(Ministry of Happiness)的一员,并且也是团队建设的负责人之一。你主要都做些什么呢? 沈思: 在altima°,我们的口号是“快乐制造”, 所以我们成立了一个队伍(人人都可以加入)致力于改善我们的工作生活,增进公司各个办公室之间的沟通(北京办公室,上海办公室,很快将开设香港办公室)。我们经常会讨论一些很棒的想法,最近我们有了一个开通现场直播的点子,让中国的办公室之间可以通过及时视频来更好地沟通。 我们还有专门负责团队建设的,准备每次的团建活动。我们定期提供一些有趣的活动建议,然后通过投票的方式做决定。我们不仅可以一起开心地玩耍,还加强了团队的凝结力。 我觉得这些理念都太棒了,所以一当我得知,我就决定加入了。 你在altima°已经四个月了,你会愿意推荐别人来altima°工作吗? 沈思: 当然。其实我已经这么做了。而且,我的朋友们都知道我在这儿很开心。尽管有时候在北京我们的队友会说我听不懂的法语,但是我还是很乐意在这儿工作的。
In order to bring an ever-improving end-user experience and a conversion rate increase to our clients, we have started, at altima°, rolling up Redis caching services to our customers. In this article, we’ll be covering our deployment of Redis services to one of our high traffic clients, whose website has been tuned by our team with a set of blazing fast enhancements. These optimizations targ
In order to bring an ever-improving end-user experience and a conversion rate increase to our clients, we have started, at altima°, rolling up Redis caching services to its customers. In this article, we’ll be covering our deployment of Redis services to one of our high traffic client, whose website has been tuned by our team with a set of blazing fast enhancements. These optimizations target an enhancement in SEO rankings and user experience through faster response time, leading to higher conversion ratios. Redis: Targeted caching Navigation menu As a website grows in features and capabilities, so does its complexity. And with complexity comes the need for optimizations. In today’s showcase, issues arose after we implemented a fully dynamic navigation menu, to be shown on every page of the website. This feature brings a lot of value but has a real performance cost. IMAGE 1 TO ADD Our developer tools are always watching performance metrics When our teams noticed this new cost, we ran some benchmark and reduced the code footprint to the maximum. When that did not prove sufficient, we turned to another solution. A new hope: Redis cache! That solution was to implement a cache feature. Caching is a well known and effective way to further optimize a complex system, which cannot be trimmed down anymore. Cache strategies At altima°, we offer different caching solutions, backed by many different technologies. The most common strategies include using nginx/varnish HTML caching and redis template/database caching. All of them take responsibility of different parts of the webpage’s lifecycle. IMAGE 2 to ADD Typical caching strategies in the webpage lifecycle The best results usually come from a combination of these strategies. In our use case, the complexity is more precisely situated in one unique place, which will allow us to make a surgical focus on the template layer. Results In the end, we get the best of both worlds: high value-added features without any performance costs. Some number crunching has allowed us to measure the extend of the positive impact, as seen below. Numbers On a cache hit, the number of queries for the menu is down to the initial value, a perfect 0! The time for page generation has also greatly improved, as our benchmark shows. IMAGE 3 TO ADD Benchmarking allows us be sure our improvements worked and pat ourselves on the back Depending on the pages and the traffic load, we register an improvement between grossly 40 to 60%. Our main benchmark on the home registered a 58% improvement, shown in the previous image. What’s next? We now have a working caching system and a proof of its efficiency. It is an easily implementable tool that has the potential to cache from 50% to 90% of the displayed data being cache-able. We strive and are proud to bring all such improvements to serve the best experience to the end customer and increase conversion rates for our clients.  
Every November 11th, the Chinese giant slashes prices on its online B2C and C2C platforms: respectively Tmall and Taobao. This year, the Chinese have spent 120.7 billion yuan (US$17.79 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV), exceeding 2015’s record by about 32 percent, and representating more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Alibaba’s 11.11 is by far the biggest online shopping day in the world. Every November 11th, the Chinese giant slashes prices on its online B2B and C2C platforms: respectively Tmall and Taobao. This year, the Chinese have spent 120.7 billion yuan (US$17.79 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV), exceeding 2015’s record by about 32 percent, and representating more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.    From “singles day” to “shopping day” Double 11 used to be considered by Chinese students as the singles day. As everything in China represents an opportunity to do business, Alibaba had the brilliant idea, back in 2009, to turn 11.11 into an excuse to go shopping. From that moment on, the company's sales have skyrocketed.   All lights on! Alibaba Global Shopping Festival Gala Celebration is among the biggest retail ecommerce events in the world, generating interest and catching the eye of the most popular media platforms. This large-scale event is happening during double 11’s kickoff day with a focus on entertainment and interactive engagement. Alibaba introduced a wide range of multimedia activities, including a virtual reality shopping experience and a fashion show (see below). They also leveraged famous Key Opinion Leaders (KOL): sports stars, musicians and actors such as Kobe Bryant, David Beckham, OneRepublic or Scarlett Johansson to help merchants increase their brands and products awareness. Alibaba ensured that their shopping festival show was broadcast across all existing devices (e.g. TV, computer, tablet and mobile phone) to target the largest possible audience. There was even a shopping entertainment show where they live streamed a fashion show during which viewers could preorder clothes on the website as models walked down the runway. According to the director of the gala, 35 million people tuned in for this!   Providing one of the biggest multi-brands platform in the world Alibaba offers one of the widest choice with more than 11 000 international brands from more than 200 countries. This includes brands such as Maserati, Remowa, Guerlain and Burberry who are all hoping to take a slice out of the Chinese consumer market. During 11.11, 37% of the sales were from international brands or vendors. Japon, US and South Korea are leading the ranking with Uniqlo, Apple, Nike, Siemens. (Source: Alizila)   The unique day for global Sales in China Unlike in the West, China does not restrict periods of sales, brands are free to define their own, and people to track these periods. Double 11 became the first global sales event to take place in the lands of the Middle Kingdom. That is the only moment where everyone can expect his/her favorite brand to offer promotions.   Pionner in innovation During the festival, Alibaba had plans to reinvent the way consumers buy goods. For example, the launch of the first virtual reality shopping experience! With a cardboard VR headset and a smartphone, shoppers could browse eight digital international stores to assess goods before buying them. And in just a few seconds, anyone could visit Macy’s New York famous department store from their home. Alibaba has leveraged other technical innovations to fight against counterfeit items sold on its marketplaces, such as the IP Joint-force Sytem: an online system aiming at controlling the sales of fake products. Here, the commerce firms and brands will work together to report suspicious activities through an online portal to track and remove counterfeit products.   What shall we conclude? The “singles day” festival clearly gives us an insight about how tomorrow’s retail might look. For both buyers and sellers, 11.11 has become a key date on the Chinese calendar. More specifically for brands, it’s a great way to take advantage of consumer’s attention to transform 11.11 into a kind of living laboratory for retail and marketing innovations, with new products and new ways to engage with customers, online and offline.
When talking about China SEO, marketers usually refer to Baidu, the most popular but sulfurous search engine operating directly from mainland China. While Baidu leading capacities were more and more challenged due to numerous scandals and a fast-growing competition over the past years, the historical Chinese search engine still remains a strong asset for any serious SEO strategy in China. In
When talking about China SEO, marketers usually refer to Baidu, the most popular but sulfurous search engine operating directly from mainland China. While Baidu leading capacities were more and more challenged due to numerous scandals and a fast-growing competition over the past years, the historical Chinese search engine still remains a strong asset for any serious SEO strategy in China. In this first article of the SEO series on altima° blog, we get back to the very fundamentals through specific insights that hopefully will help you start off your China SEO campaigns on the right foot. At a glance Incorporated in Beijing in 2000 by Robin Li, an eminent Chinese engineer trained in the US who specialized into search algorithm technologies Baidu, literally “hundreds of times”, takes its name from a well-known ancient Chinese poem and evokes the quest for the ideal In 2016, Baidu ranked 87 among the top 500 fortune Chinese company, mostly gained from the monetization of its paid search results Just like its Western competitors, Baidu also owns a search quality team, led by a certain Engineer Lee but this one (unfortunately) remains pretty mysterious and doesn’t show up very often in public Market shares Source: www.seojia.cn (November, 2016) Despite declining market shares, Baidu still appears as the dominant search engine on both desktop and mobile devices in mainland China. Behind this performance can be found the direct advantage of having been “the first one”. Through its status of historical search engine, Baidu therefore enjoys a highly diversified demographic - from young hispsters to old Dama, first tier to third tiers cities, blue collars to white collars, that allow marketers to reach their specific target audience. Search results pages’ breakdown Among all criticisms addressed against Baidu in the past, the similarities of its interface with Western search engines appear as a recurring one. If it’s true that the overall layout tends toward existing standards (paid results surrounding organic’s, related results on the right) the comparison stops here. When looking at the search results into details, differences immediately jump out. Below is for instance what Baidu shows (November 2016) when searching for the expression “what is SEO” (什么是SEO): Caption: - paid results (ads) - organic results (related suggestions) - organic results (third-party websites) - organic results (Baidu properties) As per visible among the top 5 organic results, Baidu ranks websites of its own ecosystem which consists of a wide range of properties, aiming at compensating early technological lag and a lack of indexable materials (remember that the Chinese internet is still not yet as diversified as in the World Wide Web). Besides, in an environment dominated by a need of confidence, Baidu properties eventually offer a solid user experience that is able to cover most of user’s queries. Baidu properties include both User-Generated-Content products such as, to mention but a few wiki, Q/A, forums or document sharing products, and traditional products such as video or music platforms. In addition, most of properties use to display bespoke rich snippets formats that aim at catching user attention and maximize CTR. It’s commonly estimated that Baidu properties capture between 30% and 40% of user searches. While Chinese competitors search engines all developed equivalent ecosystems, ironically, these ones still continue to enhance their own listings with Baidu properties. Needless to say, this Baidu ecosystem plays an essential role for any brand awareness or online reputation strategies. Search algorithms While Baidu could be realistically blamed in the past for its poor search technology requiring regular on-site monitoring and maintenance, this time is pretty much over. After numerous algorithms updates, ranking factors now converge toward the most advanced standards, making organic rankings comparatively more accurate and stable than its local competitors. That said, everything is not rosy and irrelevancies can still be found here and there. We therefore recommend to continue paying a specific attention to the following elements: # Website conception Ensure your strategic pages are easily accessible through the navigation (i.e. linked either from the navigation menu, a sidebar or a footer) to facilitate their crawl and (re)indexation Consider a local (or Hong-Kong based) hosting to maximize crawl frequency Avoid embedding contents (texts, links) with Flash or JavaScript Keep the page loading time low to ensure the page remains ranked (especially for mobile rankings) # Website promotion Leave the translation of your contents to a Chinese native speaker Publish regular fresh contents (through a blog, news, FAQ, templated, landing pages, etc.) Prefer qualitative link building (contextualized & natural backlinks) Baidu tools To help marketers in their daily work such as marketing researches, website optimizations and analysis, Baidu comes with its own suite of tools, with no equivalent on the local market. Below is a list of the most generic ones. # Baidu Tuiguang Keywords Tool Equivalent to Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Baidu Keyword tool (part of the Tuiguang platform) provides daily searches impressions, CPC estimations and related expressions to be used during keyword studies. # Baidu Zhishu (Trend) Equivalent to Google Trends. In complementary to the previous keywords tool, Baidu Zhishu aims at providing context around demographics or related contents dimensions. # Baidu Zhanzhang (Webmaster Tools) Equivalent to Google Search Console. Baidu Zhanzhang provides useful SEO data such as crawl and indexation reports, backlinks history. # Baidu Mobi As a response to the rapid development of the mobile traffic, Baidu Mobi proposes to analyze website compatibility with official mobile guidelines and if necessary highlights improvements to be done. # Baidu Tongji (Analytics) Equivalent to Google Analytics. Although Baidu Tongji probably won’t replace your main analytics solution, the tool turns out to be mandatory to retrieve the full list of organic keywords used on Baidu (as Baidu now does not provide them any more out of its own analytics solution). As per described all along the article, Baidu remains the most advantaged Chinese search engine in terms of audience, technologies or data intelligence. Before we could predict the future, we’ll continue our in-depth exploration and focus in the next articles on more specific facets of this colossus search engine.

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