Mars and Alibaba Group Launch Global Business Partnership

Elevating the Online Shopping Experience 

Mars Inc. one of the world’s largest food manufacturers recently announced an innovative strategic business partnership with the Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile e-commerce giant. Leveraging Alibaba’s comprehensive ecosystem, Mars are seeking to establish an integrated online and offline business model to more effectively serve their hundreds of millions of consumers in China.

A “One-Stop” Shopping Experience

Consumers will be able to enjoy a more convenient and international “one-stop” shopping experience. For the first time, all of Mars’ brands in China will be available online to consumers in its various Tmall flagship stores and to rural consumers through Taobao.No other e-commerce platform has the developed infrastructure in China that Alibaba can now boast. Mars seek to leverage Alibaba’s marketing services, physical infrastructure, mobile reach, big data and consumer insights in order to improve their engagement with consumers. This move is indicative of the continued growth of the e-commerce sector in the middle kingdom.

 

Before forming this official partnership, many Mars brands have already proved to be successful on Tmall. In April this year, Snickers and TFBoys, a popular boy band in China, worked together on a marketing campaign. In merely three days, they achieved almost the whole year’s sales of 2015. Based on targeted advertising with Alibaba’s big data analysis, the campaign enabled Mars to achieve an ROI which far surpassed the average of other brand campaigns in the ‘snack’ category on Tmall.

Enhancing E-Commerce Food Safety

Mars and Alibaba are partnering to create an e-commerce food safety program that benefits consumers and the broader consumer goods industry, through a collaboration with the Mars’ Global Food Safety Center (GFSC) in China.

Jet Jing, Vice President of Alibaba was very positive about this development; “Alibaba and Mars share a common commitment to improving safety standards, quality monitoring, and consumer awareness in China. With our combined strengths and resources, we are confident that we can elevate China’s consumption model in the era of big data, and deliver greater economic and social benefits to all stakeholders.”

China’s younger generation has become the driving force behind this unprecedented e-consumption. They now rely on e-commerce in hectic, modern China and place great value on the trustworthiness of the companies behind their brands and products. Mars meet their expectations by prioritizing product quality alongside their efforts to improve industry standards.

It is vital to engage with China in more developed ways, growing platforms such as Lendalocal are making it increasingly easy to connect with local Chinese translators and specialists in a whole host of different fields.

Benji is a specialist in e-commerce and digital marketing in China, for more information see his website and blog here.

 

 

10 important tips for e-commerce platforms on Baidu marketing in China

Understand Baidu

Baidu is the largest and the most dominant search engine in China. The influence of Baidu on the Chinese digital market is unprecedented. If you want to enter the Chinese market it is vital for any e-commerce platform to have a strong presence here.

Baidu is not simply the “Google of China”

If you want your e-commerce sit to be present on Baidu, you have to understand how it is works.  Baidu cannot in reality be compared to Google as it uses different searching algorithms and different systems. For example if you want to book a movie ticket on Baidu, you can even choose the specific seat, which you cannot do on Google. These additional services have contributed to the Chinese giant’s success.

More than a search engine

Baidu is offering multiple services including; “Baidu Baike” (akin to Wikipedia), Baidu Maps, Baidu Yi (a Chinese mobile platform) and ‘Baidu Tieba’  a popular social community where content is ranked, the higher the rating the more that content is shared and seen by the community (much like on Reddit).

Ad Space

Baidu TV is an established search engine advertising space for companies wanting to post their promotional videos on selected websites.

From PC to mobile

Baidu has expanded its market from PC to the mobile device by offering a wide range of functions and digital services on the smart phone.

There is certainly big potential for expansion in m-commerce.

Baidu’s display

On Baidu, there is an interesting way to promote a brand. Baidu attracts more customers by offering a creative display for brands with pictures, videos, and interactive content. For example if you search for cosmetic brands such as L’Oreal you will find pictures of many featured products alongside the usual search results on the first page.

Chinese domain

Baidu is a website that is hosted locally so it can be wise for companies to have a local domain with .cn. This way, it will be easier to rank highly on Baidu and to generate more traffic in China.

Chinese keywords

If you have a Chinese version website, it would be interesting to use Chinese keywords in your SEO strategy. You can easily translate the keywords that you have in Chinese.

Content

Be careful about the content on your website. If you share or feature content that is deemed to be inappropriate by the Chinese government, your website might be taken down or restricted from Baidu.

Avoid JavaScript and Flash

Baidu cannot interpret your JavaScript pages, you should use alternatives or non JavaScript pages for your website. The same goes for flash, Baidu cannot feature your flash contents, so better avoid it.

Benji is a digital marketing specialist based in Shanghai, China. For more information see his marketing website and blog here.