The Challenging Task of Selling Dishwashers in China

Marketing in ChinaA tough sell for any marketer occurs when their target market has preconceived notions of a product that leads potential buyers to feel a product is not right for them. The objections for believing a product is not right can cover many reasons, such as customers not believing they have a need for it or not understanding the benefits offered or presuming a product is just too expensive.

To address this, marketers must fully understand why tough-to-sell-to customers are resistant by conducting marketing research. Only then can a marketing plan be laid out to overcome customers’ objections.

A good example can be found in this Advertising Age story that discusses what Chinese customers think about dishwashers. According to the story, only 1% of Chinese households have dishwashers. Research suggests low adoption of dishwashers is due to cultural issues, such as kitchen products not being viewed as a status symbol. Research also discovered that customers’ believe dishwashers often create problems, and the cost of using them can be significant.

To address this, dishwasher manufacturer Siemens and detergent marketer Reckitt Benckiser have created a test apartment where potential customers, recruited via social media and word-of-mouth promotion, can hold parties. As part of the time they spend at the apartment, party guests receive a product demonstration and get to experience the products. So far the strategy appears to be working, at least in terms of attracting people to visit the party apartment.  Although it is unclear whether this promotion is yet to positively impact sales.

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