11.11? Just a time before the holiday rush. But in Asia, this has been a special day for the last nine years. Thanks to the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the 11th of November, since 2009, it’s also THE shopping event of the year called »Singles Day«. Not only is it the most successful, best-selling deal day of all time, it has also spread internationally and far beyond Alibaba.
In addition to sales records, the immense number of customer interactions, and parcel shipments, there are other aspects that are worth analysing.
Cross-border e-commerce is booming. Consumers are increasingly buying online and are increasingly attracted to foreign brands and retailers. Cross-border retail is, therefore, a great opportunity for brands and retailers looking for growth. But entering this market is not easy and requires a lot of preparatory work.
One of the questions that you should ask in advance is: Which channel offers the greatest opportunities in the target market? Do you start with your own localised version of the online shop or do you test marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Tmall (Alibaba) oder JD?
Getting started with international e-commerce via the marketplace is not only worthwhile because of the lower initial costs. There are also countries where marketplaces are worthwhile because of user preference. In China, where Tmall and JD are the market leaders, online retail takes place in marketplaces primarily. In fact, brands like Burberry, Estée Lauder, Swarovski or RayBan, and others have opened stores on Tmall. In addition, retailers multiply their customer base via international marketplaces.
China is booming in every way. The Chinese e-commerce market is the largest in the world and one of the most innovative. The Middle Kingdom is a role model in terms of internationalisation. For brands and retailers who want to continue to grow, China holds the opportunities par excellence. At the same time, Chinese consumers are strongly attracted to foreign brands and products. This enthusiasm is particularly easy to attract even when travelling.
Even when travelling Chinese people like to learn about the mobile Internet. The growing number of Chinese tourists in Europe makes it attractive for retailers and brands to adapt to the mobile preference of their potential customers. What strategies should they pursue in order to pick up the digitally affine consumers from the Middle Kingdom?
Shopping behaviour is slowly changing with the application of new technologies and the growth of the internet. Products and services are always available, wherever the potential customers are, while the online and offline worlds are merging. This proves that today’s consumers are »omnichannel«. They surf the Internet on their cellphone, tablet, or laptop, on the road and at home. The final purchase (or click) then takes place in the store or on the go through mobile devices. The choice depends on the convenience.
This reality is recognised by online giants and pure players. Lately, numerous pop-up stores, smart stores, and flagship stores equipped with the newest technologies have opened up. Some good examples of this are shops from Mymuesli, Mister Spex, Amazon, and Zalando. Traditional brands such as Adidas and Ikea are also reinforcing their physical presence as a strategy to provide customers with a comprehensive and enhanced shopping experience, while also expanding their digital business.
Internet is a free channel; however it does not mean that anything goes. For many years, the largest e-commerce platforms of the world (Amazon and Alibaba) have been looking the other way when fake products issues started to arise, undermining the reputation of online retailers and threatening the viability of many honest businesses. However that tendency has changed radically.
After Amazon gave the first moves against IP infringements, Alibaba has found the perfect formula to clear their e-commerce sites from intellectual property pirates: the use of advanced technologies (big data analytics and AI, among others) in combination with close collaboration between them and genuine brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Huawei, or Samsung, and relevant authorities.
Will this promising recipe redefine the way we are fighting against fraud, scam, and IP infringement? To what extent are companies adopting big data solutions and in which segments has big data taken off?
As every year, November is here to kick off a new Christmas shopping season, which promises to break all the records online once again. 31% of German shoppers start their Christmas shopping in November, while 34% will do so during the first two weeks of December. This season will be especially challenging for logistics as it is expected to reach a new record of shipments, but also rewarding for those retailers who place big bets on offering seamless and consistent omnichannel shopping experiences.
In the most remarkable season of the year (Google estimates 20% of the annual sales depend on the Christmas campaign performance), the smartphone cannot be forgotten, as it is a decisive touchpoint that enables other multiple interactions along the customer journey.
As a result, the customer journey is more complex and the competition extremely fierce. The race has just started for both buyers and sellers. Will consumer expectations be met? Who will be fully satisfied with the decisions taken? What is clear, whatever the answers to these questions are, is that the most important battle of the year for trade is played online!
With over 650 million internet users, China is one of those countries for which the future holds a lot of potential when it comes to e-commerce. In an attempt to counteract the economic turndown, the Chinese government has introduced a programme which should supply the internet to rural districts and network traditional industries.
The campaign “Internet Plus” is supposed to bring China back on course. Alibaba has already shown that East Asian companies are not to be underestimated. But there chances for foreign companies in China too. For instance, Windeln.de’s largest market is the People’s Republic. At the same time, technology companies have to battle with censorship and IP blocks. Will China still manage to take the next step and become a digital nation?
While Amazon rules the e-commerce market in the western hemisphere with virtually no competition, the US American company still has some problems in the Asian market. Especially Amazon.cn doesn’t seem to be doing as well as Amazon expected. Online trade in China will grow more strongly in the next few years than in any other country: The Chinese are supposed to spend at least a trillion US dollars online in 2019. It’s not good for Amazon that Alibaba is already there as branch top dog, dominating multiple marketplaces in China.