Australian start-ups, SMEs and regional businesses selling natural and organic products face huge opportunities both domestically and internationally, specifically in China.
Recent weather events including the fires, drought and floods have really impacted Australian producers. A lot of people are getting behind Australian businesses, buying their products to help and support them to get through this difficult period – more so than ever before.
As a result, the demand for Australian natural and organic brands from regional centres is on the rise. Aussie consumers are actively looking for and choosing to buy products made by Australian owned businesses.
Chinese consumers, especially the millennial generation, are also looking to purchase “newer, smaller brands” as they have grown bored with the larger established brands that their parents have used. This consumer shift provides an opportunity for Australian companies.
Australian start-ups and businesses need to understand that all of these recent events are putting the spotlight on, and increasing demand for, quality Australian products. Australian businesses need to ensure they are ready and prepared for these opportunities as they arise – often without much notice.
Here are some tips for emerging brands and small business owners on how to maximise opportunities in 2020.
1. Interest is high for Australian natural and organic products so don’t be afraid of this category
Local shoppers and international shoppers are searching for products made with quality natural and organic ingredients. Highlight your ingredients including where and how they are sourced. Make sure this information is included in marketing and promotional activities and campaigns wherever possible. The type of person seeking out these products cares very much about the provenance of the item.
2. Maximise online presence
Increasing numbers of shoppers search and learn about products online these days. Ensure your products and their attributes are highly findable online.
Depending on the location of the international buyers they may use different search engines, such as Baidu in China. You need to understand the nuances of the audiences you are looking to reach.
3. Build a body of positive online reviews
Not only do consumers research products online. They also do their product validation or due diligence online too. This is very important as well for buyers who rely on reviews to make their buying decisions.
Ask your customers to give you reviews on your social media pages and also on Google and other review sites. Include links to these sites on your website so they are easy to find.
4. Make the purchase process easy, especially for Chinese shoppers
If you are targeting international shoppers in mainland China, then you need to understand the payment options (like WePay and China Union Pay), shipping options as well as how to provide customer service in Chinese.
Ensure your website is responsive as almost everyone in China is accessing the Web via a mobile phone. It must have Chinese language, be user-friendly and have a shopping process that is consistent with the way Chinese buy online in China. Where possible, make sure your products are listed on larger shopping sites depending on your target audience.
5. Offer reliable delivery and tracking
Whether you are receiving orders and delivering in Australia or overseas, you need a good affordably priced delivery service and ideally one that includes shopper tracking.
This is one of the key areas that I assist many businesses with as the timeliness and cost of delivery is something that can boost or kill return business.
Dr Mathew McDougall, Founder, BuyNatural.com.au