In July last year, following months of meticulous market research, Australian pharmaceutical brand Amcal launched an online sales drive into China’s competitive e-commerce market.
That decision is now paying off in spades.
After the first six months of operations sales are booming, exceeding business case expectations by over 200 percent.
The Chinese version of the Amcal online store enables Chinese customers to choose from its range of products and place orders, which are shipped from Australia.
Claire Pallot, general manager of Multi-Channel for Amcal, who is responsible for the brand’s online strategies, was always confident their high-quality Australian made products would be well-received by China’s discerning consumers.
“But I didn’t expect the growth to be as fast as it was,” Ms Pallot admits.
“We’re very happy with the results.”
Key to success
Amcal was the first of the Sigma Pharmaceuticals brands to go live with a Chinese e-commerce site.
Ms Pallot says the key to success in China’s massive e-commerce market is to find the right partner.
“We spent a lot of time trying to find a good partner that we could trust to guide us through and assist with digital marketing and help with government policy and regulations in China.”
Eventually they chose Azoya, a leading turnkey e-commerce solutions provider, specialising in the healthcare market.
Azoya was able to provide a fully managed online platform combined with a local social media marketing campaign.
They created brand awareness and gained sales traction for Amcal in China through mega social media networks WeChat and Weibo.
And Amcal is also trialling the SMZDM social shopping platform which features product reviews by key social media influencers.
Through its online store Amcal offers Chinese consumers a broad range of healthcare products.
Popular items include:
- Baby formulas
- Speciality skincare products (Natural and organic)
- Manuka honey
- Insect repellent
- Feminine hygiene
- Men’s personal care
Ms Pallot says Amcal is now looking to expand its sales in China even further by increasing local community awareness of its products.
It is also investigating the possibility of selling direct to Chinese consumers through retail outlets.
And new technology is helping the brand to improve supply chain efficiencies and cut delivery times.
Quality and safety
It is vital for exporters to understand the local market before trading there, says Ms Pallot.
You must have a detailed knowledge of local sales channels and to use those channels to promote your business.
“Don’t assume that the sales channels in your market are the same channels as they are using.
“Chinese consumers are looking for quality and safety – so it is very important to highlight that.
“They want to be able to trust the retailer they are purchasing from.”