Shane Sondermann knows that getting SunRype’s fruit snacks and juices onto Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms is only the beginning when it comes to selling into China. The Canadian company needs to achieve brand awareness like it has at home to be successful.
But how does a foreign brand stand out in a market as hotly contested as China? For that, Sondermann turns to the Chinese technology giant as well. SunRype has been using Alibaba’s ecosystem to reach consumers.
Here are a few of the ecosystem tools SunRype has put to work:
First, there’s the online advertising and marketing platform, Alimama. Alibaba’s digital-marketing team has created features such as search- or display-marketing campaigns to help merchants target potential customers. Whether it’s paying for placement in search results or on specific pages within Taobao and Tmall, Alimama can get a brand in front of about 500 million Alibaba users.
Alimama can also connect merchants with bloggers outside the ecosystem. That allows partnerships with external websites that link back to the flagship store. In exchange, the blogger earns sales commissions.
SunRype uses Juhuasuan, Alibaba’s flash-sales site in two ways: for promotions based on product category, such as the baby and mother verticals where SunRype’s fruit snacks have been popular, and to push specific SKUs.
It’s a great way to quickly boost transaction volumes. The higher a merchant’s sales, the better the ranking in Alibaba’s search results. Therefore, Juhuasuan can deliver a marketing ripple effect: It drives sales higher overall, while also putting the company in front of more consumers, growing brand awareness.
Weitao is a social-media feature within Taobao that allows for engagement with consumers through micro-blogging, video and other interactive campaigns. SunRype leverages it to capitalize on one of the most popular ways to reach those consumers in China today: live-streaming.
On other e-commerce platforms, customer feedback and reviews may be a one-way exchange. But not with Alibaba, whose platform is as much about community as it is commerce.
SunRype pays close attention to comments. This allows realtime responses to suggestions or complaints. If there’s a problem with the packaging or the quality of a certain product, that information is relayed to SunRype as quickly as possible. The result: happy consumers.