Dazhong Dianping has been called the Chinese version of Yelp. However, its services go well beyond its counterpart, incorporating elements of Groupon, social media, delivery apps, and more.
Starting out as a movie and restaurant review platform in 2003, by 2015, Dianping merged with Meituan, one of China’s largest food delivery networks, integrating the functions of both companies while retaining separate apps. With backing from Tencent, Dianping has also become part of the WeChat super eco-system.
In 2021’s Q1, Meituan saw food delivery business growth of 99.6% year over year to RMB142.7 billion. With the close connection between the two apps, Dianping’s influence in China’s F&B and entertainment industries will only continue to grow. The app has also become more and more popular overseas among Chinese tourists, asserting a growing influence on businesses abroad. With that said, let’s take a look at how to grow your business on Dianping.
How to Open a Business Account on Dianping
Account Types on Dianping
When registering your business on Dianping, you will have two options, to have a FREE and PREMIUM account. Now, the first thing to know: in China (unlike other locations) you cannot list your business by yourself, you must call a hot line (China hotline: 101 00 011) and have an operator register one for you. After the simple FREE account will be done (2-3 working days), the operator will provide information for PREMIUM package, which will include various promotional activities, and the price will vary by your location.
Registration Process on Dianping
- Download the Dianping app or go on 大众点评网-快速注册 (dianping.com) to create an account
- After creating an account:
Registering Your Business Account on Dianping I Mobile
For mobile users, click on the hamburger menu on the top right-hand side of the homepage and click on 添加商户 “Add Merchant”.
Registering Your Business Account on Dianping I Desktop
For desktop users, on the homepage, click on 商户服务 “Merchant Services” and select 商户合作 “Merchant Collaboration”. Follow the prompt and select the type of business you are registering.
Fill in the relevant business information according to the prompts. For the mobile version, you will be able to first register your storefront and then separately choose the “Merchant Collaboration” option granted criteria are met for the type of business you operate. “Merchant Collaboration” allows your business to access Dianping promotional advertising services outlined in the Advertising on Dianping section below.
6 Best Marketing Practises on Dianping in 2021
Dianping at its core is a review platform for customers. As such, the goal of any business on the app is to garner as many positive reviews as possible to drive visibility on the app.
For a successful marketing strategy on Dianping, businesses need to understand what drives positive customer engagement from offline to online. This will involve optimizing online presence in tandem with offline customer experience to effectively increase growth at both points of customer engagement. Below we have listed some tips to expand your business on Dianping to create a strong pipeline between your business’s online and offline presence.
Optimize Page Design
As your business’s digital storefront on Dianping, your business’s page should reflect the branding and packaging you have worked to implement at your business’s physical location(s). Aside from ensuring all store information is filled out accurately, visuals and text should work to drive engagement. For example, header images/video should include text providing customers an active call to action, while different sections of your page can offer various campaigns and promotions visually coded to stand out from each other.
Improve POI (Point of Interest)
While you may have attracted users on the app to your business, getting them to your physical store may be challenging if your storefront is located in a less conspicuous location. Ensure your POI data, otherwise understood as location information, is correct and up to date, with detailed information on how to get to your store.
Update Activities/New Store Opening Activities
Store openings and events are a big driver of foot traffic to brick-and-mortar shopfronts. Online promotional activities should be planned ahead of time to increase hype leading up to the event. Make use of your header banner space and business profile picture to promote your events.
In addition, consider driving offline to online interactions at events by encouraging reviews on Dianping during your events.
Increasing Data Points
For online sales numbers and reviews, more is more. High sales and review volumes reflect well on your product, encouraging more users to buy from and engage with your business.
On Dianping, in-app promotional coupons display half-yearly sales volumes. By ensuring quality and offering good deals on these promotions to drive sales, transaction volumes will be directly reflected on the app.
Reviews are another data point on Dianping. As user-generated content, this sort of organic engagement gives potential customers a third-party perspective of your business. Other than ensuring good service and products, businesses can offer rewards for visiting customers to leave reviews.
Promotions through back-end Dianping is one of the ways businesses can pay to attract traffic on the Dianping platform. Merchants can set advertisements to appear within certain timeframes and distances from storefronts to maximize effectiveness.
Attract KOC (Key Opinion Customers)
For review platforms such as Dianping, KOCs are the equivalent to the much-hyped KOLs (key opinion leaders) of social media.
On Dianping, users are rewarded by other users for quality reviews and are also assigned a level based on how often they review. The top reviewers or KOCs are known as V达人or “V experts”. Their reviews are often featured and appear on Dianping’s homepage.
By attracting these “V experts” to your store, you can increase your store’s visibility on the Dianping app. Such product seeding can take the form of eye-catching storefronts, gifts for reviewing, and photo-op worthy décor backed up by quality products and services.
What are other apps in China that can help you promote your business? Check this guide out!
How can you measure your success on Dianping? Read our guide about back office of Dianping!
Advertisement on Dianping
Dianping has its own system of native advertisements, with varying prices depending on industry. To access advertisement functions on Dianping, businesses must register for “Merchant Collaboration” on the Dianping platform.
Dianping’s advertisements offer tight integration with app functionality to complement brick-and-mortar operations. The four main types of advertisements on the platform are keyword promotion, group buy promotion, targeted advertisements, and digital membership cards.
Much like other search engine-based marketing, Dianping’s keyword advertisements push your business to the top of keyword related searches. This allows your business to accurately target ad spend on customers who are looking for your services.
According to Dianping, 60% of a business’s in-app visitors are directed to the page through searching keywords, while businesses who have paid for keyword promotion see an average of 4.2 times more exposure.
Group Buy Promotion
Much like Groupon’s promotions for group buying, Dianping’s group buy promotions offer discounts when a group of people are buying together. These are displayed prominently on business’s Dianping page. By lowering the cost barrier for larger groups of customers, these in-app coupons allow businesses to attract new customers. Dianping’s group buy promotions allow businesses to explain their offerings with text and visuals, while also displaying half-yearly sales volume to users.
According to Dianping, 83% of sales of group buy promotions went to first-time customers. The average volume of first day sales for the group buy promotions is 100, while the highest record is 30,000.
With vast troves of personalized user data from reviews and purchases, Dianping has a robust system to help businesses place effective targeted ads. These ads are displayed natively in-app as Dianping recommendations. By analysing user generated data, the platform algorithm is able to identify both the unique specialties of businesses and the personalized tastes of individual users to facilitate effective discovery.
Digital Membership Cards
As it is based on Dianping’s own infrastructure, Dianping’s digital membership cards allows businesses implement membership systems without having to create and maintain their own from scratch. Membership cards allow for businesses to conduct a more accurate survey of their customer demographics and execute personalized promotions through in-app notifications and text messages.
According to Dianping, the average business has 1000 customers with membership. Businesses that have implemented membership cards see a twofold increase in in-app exposure. Membership cards also allow businesses to see a distribution of customers by age, gender, and membership tier.
Can You Use Dianping to Promote your Business outside of China?
As stated at the beginning of this article – Dazhong Dianping is available to use outside of China. Let’s look at it from a Chinese tourist perspective.
Slide one tells us that we have picked Paris as a destination of interest.
The main orange menu will provide options on sightseeing destinations, shopping spots, restaurants and hotels. One can also get a map and a city guide provided by Dianping.
On the right side of the main banner, one can check the most popular experiences, or the experiences that might interest Chinese tourists, like cruising on the Seine, some shopping or even napping outdoors!
Scrolling down on the same page, Dianping will bring you to the hottest topic of Chinese culture – dining choices!
Here we have all the typical French foods – foie gras, snails, macarons etc.
Straight after you have the restaurant list. The top restaurants are the ones that been voted for by users of the app, as well as those that are just famous for other reasons. Right here you can also search for a hotel (menu on the right).
Below are a few fun options.
So let’s click on one of the hot eating topics – Snails or L’escargot.
After the main description by Dianping writers, one can check all restaurants that serve snails, their rating (number of stars), and the first few words of the last visitor’s review. Of course, there is also a map.
Want to know if Chinese tourists are already talking about your business online on Dianping? Ask us and we’ll check that out for you!
So let’s go to the first restaurant and see how are they’re doing.
L’escargot Montorgueil has 732 comments, the average price per person is 289 RMB (37 Euro), the taste score is 7.8 out of 10, Environment 8.2 and Service is 7.4. These are the average numbers right next to the stars, and are calculated taking into account all voters.
On the first page you can see the menu – and photos of the dishes taken by app users themselves, for anyone can add a photo and a review. This section also displays all the dishes most recommended by visitors.
Next is the environment – one of the top criteria of any dining experience. In this case you can see the photos of the interior, and the view from outside.
And last but not least – the bill! Yes, people talk about money openly in China, and will show exactly how much their dining experience cost. This section also serves as a preview of the menu.
So that’s more or less it for the restaurant information, now it’s time to review and vote! In the section below we can see the visitor based experience overviews and photos. Anyone can react to the review (even a restaurant manager), click to “like” this review, add this advice to favorites or even report it.
Respectability and trust is highly valued on Dianping, so the more Dianping is used by one person and the number of reviews grow, the higher the user’s rank in the app community will be. This is shown in diamonds, hearts or medals.
So that’s it for the restaurants. For hotel reviews it is quite similar.
In any case, being on Dianping will dramatically increase your business visibility and bring tons of curious people your way. Ask us how can you start your journey on Dianping, install WeChat Pay or Alipay or anything else you found interesting on our blog!
HI-COM is an international communication and localisation agency with over 10 years of experience in the Chinese market. With offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, HI-COM serves its loyal customers in more than fifteen industries, including tourism, hospitality, e-commerce, and retail.