In 2021, the jewelry market is expected to read 64 billion USD in China. This is one of the most profitable markets to enter for any jewelry brand. But for that, you need to actually sell in China. How? You need to find a company that buys your product, stocks them, and resells them on the Chinese market. In a word, jewelry in China needs distributors. Having distributors or resellers in China is essential to generate higher sales.
Understand the Importance of Having a Distributor in China
It is complicated to find a distributor in China. Especially when you are not in the country and you do not speak Chinese. A real uphill battle! Chinese want to have access to international brands and products. They love to have the possibility to shop products from overseas. You may have an audience, but how can you actually reach them? You need to build a strong distribution network for your product.
Increase your sales with a strong distribution network
China is the 1st market in the world, followed by the USA and India, for jewelry and jade sales. The opportunities are intensifying in recent years with the Chinese appetite for gold. With an annual growth of 4% between 2021 and 2025, most revenues will be generated in China. Today, 25% of the global jewelry revenues are made in China.
If you plan to enter the Chinese market, you need to understand its current reality. The jewelry market in China is dominated by foreign brands. Chinese consumers are very sensitive to the storytelling of the brand and the materials used. At the end of 2021, 64% of jewelry sales should be generated by non-luxury goods. So you do not need to have expensive jewels, you just need to have good storytelling and a performant distribution network.
Building partnerships with distributors will allow you to actually sell in China. How Chinese consumers are supposed to buy your brand if they do not find you?
Who are the distributors in China?
When you do not live in the country and do not have a professional network there, it is difficult to know the distributors. They are often companies with a strong logistics service to import and sell your products in China.
If you need a distributor, you first need to understand how they work. They are only interested in one thing: selling. They are not partners, they are not friends, they are just sellers.
How to describe a distributor in China?
- Characteristics: strong manpower, cash support, logistics service
- Benefits: promotional efforts, quick delivery, secure payment
- Motivations: sales and profits!
How to chose your distributor for your jewelry brand?
You have plenty of solutions to face. One solution is to participate in local fairs and trade shows to meet distributors. In this case, you need to know the generally accepted uses of such events in China. How do you approach a distributor? How do you negotiate with them? You should better be prepared before such an event and contact a distributor agent.
The other solution is to use Tmall B2D or a similar e-commerce app. Thanks to Tmall B2D, you get access to 85K distributors. A deep jungle in which it is difficult to make a selection. The platform will help you manage service, logistics, distributor,s and conduct secure payments. Any brand can select a distributor on Tmall. But not anyone has the ability to choose the right distributor for its business.
Find a Distributor in China for Your Jewelry Brand in 3 Steps
#1 Increase your brand visibility
In China, distributors want to sell. Before choosing your brand, they will always check if you exist online. Are you famous in China? Are Chinese aware of the existence of your brand? They want to be sure they will perform with your brand and obtain great sales. So, distributors must have to possibility to find your brand and your products online. Especially with the counterfeiting issues, you need to have a positive brand image.
How could they find you? You need to be on Baidu. It is the most used search engine. For instance, 70% of online queries are made on Baidu and there are more than 1 billion active users. This is a great opportunity to build your branding. You need to create a Chinese website to share your products, storytelling, and heritage with Chinese netizens. 60% of Chinese are most interested by the history and heritage of jewelry brands when they buy a piece of jewelry. You need to focus on it!
Then, you should implement an SEO & SEM strategy. The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will allow you to increase your visibility and your existence on Baidu. The SEM (Search Engine Marketing) will enable you to propose targeted ads and sponsored campaigns to increase your visitors and obtain higher market returns.
#2 Show your influence as a jewelry brand
As we mentioned earlier, distributors are only interested in benefits and sales. They will not have an advisory role or help your brand. So, you will need to be independent on how you can manage your brand in China. Previously, you have increased your visibility. Now, you need to show them your brand is profitable and can generate tons of sales.
It is all about communication and e-reputation. Chinese people need to find information about your brand on social media with photos and videos about your products. You do not only need to propose content, you need to engage with Chinese netizens. For example, you can use WeChat, Weibo, Tmall, or JD.com. They are the favorite social media and e-commerce platforms of local consumers.
Les Georgettes case study: Build e-reputation with WeChat and Weibo
For Les Georgettes, we decided to focus on the creation of a WeChat and a Weibo account. In a word, our mission for the brand was to create targeted ads for fashion girls, KOL marketing, promotion through social media campaigns, and e-reputation management on the Chinese market.
Why this strategy performed? Because thanks to WeChat, you can create H5 brochures and mini-programs. In a word, these possibilities help you set up a menu to guide your followers. You can provide an H5 brochure, which is an electronic brochure that is composed of your brand’s product listing in Chinese. You can create a mini-program to entertain and facilitate taking action. Visitors do not only visit your brand but actually buy products and you increase your performance and influence.
#3 In China, you need to build a powerful e-reputation
In China, word-of-mouth is the key. Chinese value recommendations and feedback their peers can share with them on a product. You could use PR or KOL to boost word-of-mouth. In a word, you can influence people to talk about your brand.
Another solution would be to use Zhihu. This platform is considered as a forum with a Q&A section. Chinese netizens often post a question and share their opinions on a specific topic. Chinese could spend hours reading those comments. You can launch conversations about your brand or use targeted ads. Your campaign will be sponsored by people that are most likely to be interested in your brand depending on the subject they are often commenting on.
To make it simple, PR, KOL, and Zhihu are great tools to increase your lead generation. People will talk about your brand which will help you generate and retain interesting contacts. Such a great way to draw the attention of distributors!
How to avoid mistakes with local distributors? Find a local agency
Some distributors may be tempted to play with you if you do not know the rules. The best way to avoid mistakes is to find a local agency. It will help you:
- Localize and promote your content
- Provide an H5 WeChat brochure
- Build lead generation
Founded by Olivier Vérot and Philip Qian, the Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a local agency based in Shanghai. Thanks to our multicultural teams of digital experts, we help international brands find the right distributor in China. You can contact us to get our local agents’ listings depending on your project.