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Advertising and Retailing on Internet Channels in China

(June 12th, 2014)

By Richard Hoffmann,  ECOVIS Beijing

In 2012 Starbucks started advertising QR codes in its nearly 1,000 stores around China. Customers scanned the code with their cell phone cameras and sent Starbucks a message with an emoticon and customers received a song in response that reflected their “mood”. Over the next few months, Starbucks had interactions with 130,000 unique customers over app developer Tencent’s WeChat. Starbuck’s sales of fruity drinks increased over these few month—while the correlation does not always mean causation, Starbucks was definitely on consumers minds, increasing Starbuck’s Sina Weibo users by 9% during the same period.

Tencent’s WeChat is part of the new landscape of Chinese electronic marketing tools and channels ranging from online retail giant Taobao to the ultra-popular micro blog Sina Weibo. Out of China’s 1.3 billion citizens, 40% use the Internet, and the proportion is growing every day. Growing even faster is the number of Internet users who leverage online shopping. In 2012 over 40% of Internet users used the Internet to shop at least once a month.

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Richard Hoffmann
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