04 Feb 5 Tips on How To Create An Ecommerce Store In Hong Kong
You have a marketable product and you are thinking about an eCommerce store in Hong Kong. Great idea! According to one global business data platform, Statista, eCommerce in Hong Kong is growing—currently over 8% a year!
And in Hong Kong alone, it is estimated that between 5 and 6 million people shop online. No wonder Hong Kong is considered the financial hub of Asia. Over 87% of residents are considered regular internet users, so you can be assured that you will have an audience.
And when it comes to a tax system, Hong Kong’s tax system is user-friendly too, and relatively easy to navigate.
But how do you get into this booming market? Here are some tips to guide you as you consider your own eCommerce business.
- Start a Blog;
- Connect on Social Media;
- Choose a Great eCommerce Platform;
- Ensure Quality Content and Ease of Use; and
- Set up Accounting Details.
- Start a Blog
The reasons to blog are many! Your words and pictures are a great way to get your product line out there. Let’s look at some key reasons a blog is essential.
One very clear reason to blog is that added content on your website boosts your SEO, or search engine optimization, meaning you will be found more easily in searches. Make sure your blog is filled with keywords to further boost your SEO and lead potential customers to your site.
Next, blog content builds credibility with your customer base. You want your customers to continue to come back to your website, so let them know the ways you can help them. Are you marketing beauty products? You can do feature blogs on skin conditions, the importance of organic ingredients, keeping your skin and hair healthy, and so on.
You can also include testimonials and even, with permission, some great success stories from other product users. These will help you connect with customers, and when people feel connected, they return again and again!
Photographs and videos can greatly enhance a blog, reaching beyond words and creating visual touchpoints. Include people in your pictures to strengthen the connection. However, especially if you are marketing internationally, make sure your photos are culturally inclusive and sensitive to local norms. Your photos also need to appeal to your targeted audience; know who is shopping for the products you offer!
Beyond awesome photos of your product, what about videos of how to use your product? These can further engage your audience and help with potential questions or difficulties before they occur.
2. Connect on Social Media
It’s called digital engagement, and it can multiply your connections and your blog’s effect! The links that are generated affect SEO too and give you yet another boost.
So how do you communicate on social media? Identify the real problems people have, and show them how your product addresses those problems. Great photographs and video clips are also key components because they are attention-getters.
Again, be sensitive to your audience. I know I have been totally turned off from a store for the use of what I considered inappropriate language. Both your language and your photographs should be appropriate for your audience.
And be present. Your helpful and timely responses to comments and questions will increase your visibility and connection. Not only will your customers feel connected to you, but you can also be the first to know if something is not pleasing to them, and you can fix it fast! If you can incorporate user-generated material, that’s great too.
You probably can’t be present on all social media platforms, but choose several and build a following! Post often; check comments; be responsive. Don’t overlook Pinterest; it is a great way to utilize your wonderful photos and get a following by pinning and interacting with other people’s boards. Notice how Red House Spice uses Pinterest to connect and market:
3. Choose a Great E-Commerce Platform
Quality design, user-friendly website builder, language versatility, marketing functionality…
There are some really important issues when choosing the right platform for your eCommerce store. It helps to know some basics:
- Is it a dedicated web platform; i.e. is eCommerce their purpose and specialty?
- Is it hosted or self-hosted, i.e. will you be responsible for acquiring a domain name, email accounts, payment gateways, back-up, security, and so on, or is it part of the package?
- Are there a wide range of features to meet your particular functionality needs?
I would like to give you a brief overview here, but I can also direct you to more detailed information for serious comparison help. Please see this article about 網店平台比較 for more information.
Shopify is a top contender that is fully hosted and has everything you need to set up your eStore, covering security issues, analytics, SEO, and payment gateways. As a dedicated platform, eCommerce is Shopify’s main focus, but the platform does provide an uncomplicated blogging option and has a special feature of story-presentation for your products. It is generally user-friendly, though deep customizations will require some coding.
A huge benefit is that Shopify offers both Traditional Chinese interface and customer support. While not inexpensive, Shopify is an all-in-one option that won’t leave you with missing pieces!
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce is an open-source plug-in created to pair with WordPress, the world’s premier blogging platform. WooCommerce allows you to get everything WordPress offers plus the commercial components needed for your eCommerce store. It will not be as easy to build, but WordPress developers are readily available globally. While you must put all the pieces together yourself if you go this route (it is not self-hosted), it could be substantially less expensive. And if your blog is a focal feature, WordPress will make it the best it can be. Do realize that you will not get technical support with WooCommerce, and you will have to find your own hosting and online storage server.
If budget and ease of building and launching are your primary concerns, and you do not have a huge product line, you might consider Wix. Like WordPress and WooCommerce, Wix is not a dedicated eCommerce platform, so you will be using plug-ins–specifically Modalyst–to build and optimize functionality in your store. But if ease of building and editing are essential for you, you should investigate Wix.
4. Quality Content; Easy to Use
Once you have invested in a quality web builder and a professional-looking theme; make sure you keep that professional aura in everything you do!
It feels great to launch your store or to post your content, but try it out! Try shopping at your store and watch for glitches, slow points, difficulties in searching, or trouble with payment gateways. Watch comments or emails so you can immediately deal with concerns that surface.
Use analytical tools well to know where your visitors are spending the most time and what seems to engage them. You can optimize content as you get to know your customers.
Ensure quality! Just because you are a successful entrepreneur does not mean you have honed writing skills. It may be well worth your time and money to hire a writer or a good proofreader to look over your content before posting. Consider if you are reading a vitamin and supplement blog and you come across several spelling errors and sloppy grammar. These will make the company immediately lose credibility in your mind. Will you trust that company with the health of your family?
This is especially important if you are translating into several languages. Most of us have had the experience of landing on a page with clunky translation. We may have just e left the page without giving it much of a chance. What sounds perfect in your primary language needs a careful check in the second language; not everything translates well when using widgets or translating software. I highly recommend hiring help with your translation edits before you post them. A well-translated site broadcasts care and quality!
- Set up Accounting Details
When starting an eStore, you need to have ways to accept payment, calculate shipping, and collect any tax that is due. If you are marketing internationally, this involves various currencies and country duties and tax variations as well as cross-border shipping.
Overall, Hong Kong is a very favorable market. For example, let’s consider taxes. Not only are Hong Kong’s tax policies favorable for business in general, but specifically for eCommerce. In fact, your eCommerce profits will not be taxable in Hong Kong if the business is operating outside of Hong Kong!
What exactly you will need depends on your business model and your company structure.
However, across the board, there are some basic requirements:
- Incorporate your business in Hong Kong;
- Check to see if your product demands a special license (like alcohol);
- Register for a local (Hong Kong) address;
- Obtain a Corporate Secretary to ensure that you are meeting all standards and regulations;
- Update your Business Registration Certificate on a yearly basis.
While the steps to operating a business across country borders can seem daunting, there are many helpful agencies to streamline your process.
So Why Not?
Now that you have some basic tips for starting and promoting your eCommerce business in Hong Kong, why not take advantage of this world marketing hub? Projections from Statista show steady growth through 2025 for internet markets. Is it time for you to act?