• Chinese Consumers Buying Imported Goods

Chinese Consumers Buying Imported Goods (Photo : Getty Images)

A growing number of U.S. and foreign retailers in China are getting the services of key opinion leaders (KOLs) to attract Chinese consumers to buy their products as well as to promote their brands, according to an article in retailtouchpoints.com.

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The demand for U.S. products in the world's largest e-commerce market is increasing. Cross-border consumers' e-commerce reached about $40 billion, with 50 percent annual growth rate, McKinsey and Company said.

The top-selling e-commerce products include cosmetics and skin care, baby and mom products, electronic, fashion apparel and nutritional supplements, according to iResearch.

According to the report, U.S. firms in China use KOLs for their expertise in marketing and for having a large number of followers on social media that they can influence.

Since KOLs have a better understanding of Chinese consumer behavior, they can create effective content that can be a powerful tool in digital marketing.

KOL campaigns often target influencers with 50,000 to 100,000 followers due to the following reasons:

- Geared toward growth - KOLS are focused on increasing their follower base through powerful content

- Market knowledge - Because they are often engaged with their followers, KOLs have deep understanding of consumers' shopping behavior

- Results-driven - KOLs are proactive and passionate hence they can encourage their audience

U.S. retailers benefit from KOLs as Chinese shoppers often buy products recommended by friends and peers.

Many retailers take advantage of China's growing middle class, flooding the country with their products. With the help of KOLs, retailers can promote their products to their followers.

According to iResearch, about the three-quarters of Chinese consumers who buy foreign products are aged 26 to 40. These millennial shoppers are also the audience of KOLs.

Followers share similar tastes, lifestyles and shopping behavior with their KOLs. Together, they become part of a virtual community. Because followers trust their KOLs, they follow their product recommendations, which gave them a sense of belonging to their community.

One of the examples of KOL effectiveness is with the beauty brand Bioeffect. With only about a hundred orders, the brand earned hundreds of more orders within 12 hours after it started working with Azoya.

The report said that Azoya was able to generate 10 times the company's annual sales in only two days of promotion.

Azoya also did a similar job with a pharmacy retailer from Australia and New Zealand, in which it was able to improve brand awareness to Chinese consumers after promoting the product through online broadcasting and referrals, the report added.