The latest online retail web development trends in China are influencing website design and development in a big way. Websites as well as ecommerce platforms in China are looking to be customer-centric in their focus. Consequently, Western companies looking to expand their presence in this Asian powerhouse need to do their research, because ecommerce trends in China are constantly evolving.
The structure and design of the Western website is not successful in addressing consumer needs and cultural differences typical of this market. Here’s how Chinese growth is changing ecommerce web development in multiple ways:
- Complexity or Minimalism?
Chinese ecommerce sites are crowded with links and text. The reason for this is the nature of the Chinese language and its unique response to search functions. The search algorithm is extremely effective in English or associated languages. This is because when a single word is typed, the algorithm can draw related content and make the search for the data efficient and simple. Each word is not a character sequence, in Chinese language, however.
So, each word is actually represented by the shape of the character. Consequently, in order for the search function to be effective, ecommerce website development is focused on displaying as much content on a single page as possible. But despite the complexity, this year has seen an increase in minimalism for web designs in China. For example, IT and computer retailer Lenovo redesigned the platform with minimalist approach. This has signalled a massive change from overcrowded web pages to more relaxed designs.
- Value of User Experience
User experience is as relevant in China as it is in the Western world. Navigation is intuitive, easy and quick. A Chinese ecommerce site also focuses on being well thought out, so that it gives quick access to as much information as possible. This focuses on creating multiple navigation levels that redirect to shorter, rather than longer web pages. Chinese sites also make use of sub menus and sub-sub menus as a result of this. The trend towards horizontal navigation in ecommerce web development also comes from China. This is because horizontal structure is easier to scan in the Chinese language.
- Use of Colours
While Western websites in 2018 have made an extensive use of gradient, bright colours and 3D design have injected innovation into design, web design in China also focuses on using captivating as well as engaging visual elements.
- Integration With Apps
Another trend website design and development in China has propagated is a strong WeChat presence. WeChat is a widely used social network in China, so that websites are connected to it. Every successful Chinese business has a WeChat account to connect websites with social network platforms. This remains a key web design trend in China.
WeChat in China is extensively used for buying products and QR codes are commonplace. This makes it easier for users to access functionalities, register for services, make quick payments or download materials. Online businesses even come with WeChat apps or mini programs running along with the official website with the aim of boosting user experience. These features attract more visitors to the site and promote customer and company association, which is a highly prized form of relationship marketing in China.
- China’s Tremendous Ecommerce Boost
Online retail sales in China have reached 5.16 trillion yuan or around USD 752 billion in 2016 alone and the numbers are rising. This represents a 26.2 per cent growth from 2015 which is more than double the growth rate of overall retail sales as per the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics. The ecommerce sector in China leads over the US with the growth rate in the east now 4 times more than seen in the US. Brands need to understand best practices and trends, therefore.
China’s ecommerce growth is being driven by 3rd and 4th tier cities, surpassing 2nd tier cities. This trend points to how ecommerce growth is expanding in cities which lack the physical infrastructure. Investment in ecommerce sites is leading the growth of Chinese giants like Alibaba.
- The Rise of Mobile Payment Systems
China’s mobile or smartphone based digital payment systems via Alipay and WeChat are an important starting point for secure ecommerce transactions online. Ease and security of online payments is the key reason for increased ecommerce spending, at the swipe of a screen. Due to Chinese ecommerce website development innovations, mobile payment systems are accepted online as well as offline and highly integrated into consumer lives making them the go-to payment of choice. Close to half a billion businesses within China use Alipay. Online shopping has transformed with features like face payments, where payments are authenticated with a selfie. Speed of purchase and convenience are where the modern Chinese ecommerce development scores.
- The Rise of VR & Social Shopping
VR shopping has also grown with consumers being able to explore products digitally through VR simulations. The virtual VR storefront was demonstrated by Alibaba recently. Approximately 50 percent of ecommerce is driven by social media in different parts of Asia. This trend is the ability to purchase directly from social platforms. Social media in China is huge. With TenCent’s WeChat leading the way by incorporating stores into apps set the tone for a new era of socially tracked shopping experiences. WeChat stores also allow for instantaneous payment through the mobile wallet system, while being connected to groups, IM and detail sharing of the purchase.
Weibo, which is also known as China’s Twitter, has also fuelled the ecommerce drive. With Weibo posting for brand influencers, direct promotions are an emerging trend in ecommerce web development. Brands are even offering customer services through social networks like WeChat with QR codes and IM services.
- The Importance of Mobile Commerce
M-commerce or mobile commerce is the key to a digital landscape which harnesses the ease of online transactions. In 2015-2016 alone, China’s mobile commerce reached RMB 2 trillion or about USD 289 billion. This is a remarkable 2000 percent increase as opposed to 2012. In 2016, mobile commerce was pegged at two-thirds of desktop sales. The numbers are only growing bigger.
The massive success of mobile store creators like Youdian and Youzan stress this trend. The focus is on moving from convenience, price and assortment to service, quality, experience and value, according to Kantar Retail. Rich top-of-the-funnel user experience is a trend that is spreading from Chinese consumers to the rest of the world. Ecommerce is advancing further than you think and Chinese growth is clearly fuelling the growth momentum of this revolutionary retail innovation.