Skip to main content

Build a business tailored to a phenomenal customer experience in the Chinese context, and you’ll realise your China dreams in no time. Mat Wylie explains how.

If you’ve dreamt about your business making it big in China, you’re not alone. Capture even a fraction of the market, and your business can experience growth unfathomable in New Zealand.

The trouble is, 48 percent of foreign businesses fail in China within two years.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like those odds – particularly since we’re talking about businesses like Nike, Uber and Louis Vuitton.

Just last month I was speaking with Gabriel Walker from Silk Cloud – specialists in Chinese market penetration – who confessed, “China is completely different in every way. There’s always stuff that surprises.”

Does this mean Kiwi businesses should give up on their dreams of Chinese success?

No. I strongly believe that in a vast, saturated market like China’s, customer experience is even more powerful. Build a business tailored to a phenomenal customer experience in the Chinese context, and you’ll realise your dreams in no time. Here’s how:

1. It’s all about convenience – and mobile payments are the way.

When it comes to payment, China is completely different to New Zealand. So much so that the main Chinese credit card provider (which holds a monopoly) only covers 14 percent of China’s transactions. The other 86 percent? Mobile payments, through channels such as Alipay and WeChat.

Mobile is how China makes payments, and to neglect this fact is to significantly undermine your customer experience. Optimise your business for mobile payments, and you’ve just made the customer experience that much more seamless and convenient.

2. Get your logistics right.

The way to create a stunning experience begins with accessibility. If you’re selling online, as many businesses entering China will be, you need to be able to reliably deliver product in the timeframes you’ve promised. That’s where having good logistics channels comes in. Whether you’re working directly with suppliers in China or working through a partner, make sure that your logistics channels can be counted on to deliver a great customer experience.

It’s not just about market penetration. It’s about being accessible to your customers in the way they want to access you.

3. Create peace of mind through visible feedback.

Saturated markets demand businesses demonstrate credibility to succeed. China is no different. Sure, the occasional customer may give your product a try, but you’ll never achieve real market penetration unless customers can feel genuinely confident in your offering.

That’s where customer feedback comes in. By gaining reliable, validated customer feedback, then sharing this with your prospective customers, you transform the customer experience. No more guess work in the buying process – with transparent feedback customers can have confidence in what they’re buying, even before they engage with you.

Remember, the customer feedback isn’t just about how customers feel once they purchase your product – it’s about the holistic experience.

4. Tell your story and build your brand.

Gabriel shared with us recently that, “In New Zealand, we generally hope that the product does the work for us – if you make a good product, people will re-use it. However, in China, it defaults to how strong your brand is.”

Standing out

With the Chinese market having access to some of the cheapest and highest quality products around, how do you stand out from the crowd? It’s simple – identify your target market, tell your story in a way that appeals to them, share that story through the channels they’re on daily, and make sure that the customer’s experience lives up to that story.

Share your New Zealand story, then live up to that story with great products and an even better customer experience.

Mat Wylie is CEO of Customer Radar. This article first appeared in NZBusiness magazine, July 2018 issue.


Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


Dishing up export possibilities

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012

What’s mine is not yours

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012

25 countries… and counting

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012