With consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, or APAC, shopping more online due to an increased appetite for international brands, US businesses should expand their marketing strategies to reach more consumers in this growing market. As highlighted in our 2019 State of e-Commerce, Asia-Pacific report, more than one-third of all shoppers across the region prefer to purchase from international brands online when it comes to key product categories such as luxury goods, beauty products, and consumer electronics.
International brands are helping fuel an overall online sales boom in the region. eMarketer projects that the Asia-Pacific region will account for $2.271 trillion in online spending in 2019, or 64.3% of total online sales for the year. That $2.271 trillion figure represents year-over-year online sales growth of 25.0%, highest of any geographic region in the world and higher than the overall projected worldwide e-commerce sales growth of 20.7%.
The Asia-Pacific market is an incredibly diverse and nuanced market that requires an understanding of the various cultures and languages spoken throughout the region.
Before investing more money into trying to sell to consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, it is crucial that digital marketers have a better understanding of how their audience shops, which products those potential customers are most interested in, and what types of content they best connect with.
Based on Rakuten Marketing’s research, here are some tips for getting started in the region.
Speak the language
Rakuten Marketing’s research shows that search is the top method for discovery across the Asia-Pacific region. This means understanding which languages your target audience is speaking and making sure that content pages are properly translated into those languages to ensure that your potential audience is able to find you.
Think small screen first
The shift to mobile commerce is far more pronounced in the Asia-Pacific region than it is in other parts of the world. Rakuten Marketing’s research shows that m-commerce accounts for a higher portion of total online sales (46%) than desktop or laptop purchases (41%). This means that not only must product and content pages be properly translated into the local language, they must also render well on smartphones with clear call to actions and the appropriate payment methods available so that consumers encounter as little friction as possible during the latter stages along the path to an online purchase.
Work with partners who understand local social media preferences
Social media is introducing new products and brands to consumers across all countries in the Asia-Pacific region. However, social media preferences vary by country. Connecting with a broad audience over social media in APAC is not as simple as it is in the United States, where Facebook and Instagram tend to dominate followed by the likes of Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Channels such as Weibo and WeChat (China) and KakaoTalk (South Korea) are proving popular with shoppers in those countries and effective at introducing new products to consumers. When evaluating potential publisher partners, it is important to find ones that have a strong presence on those channels and work with them on putting together content that drives clicks and conversions on those platforms.
Western brands have ample opportunity to sell more online in APAC. The key is establishing an online presence in the region that allows those consumers to shop your brand on their terms and promote products that are best suited to local tastes.
Want to learn more about how to better connect with consumers in the APAC region? Download our 2019 State of E-Commerce, Asia-Pacific