Taobao vs Tmall: What Fashion Brands in China Need To Know

If you’re a company looking at the Chinese eCommerce market, then chances are you’ve heard of Alibaba and its two main marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall. But what’s the difference between them? Which one is right for your brand? In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall platforms. We’ll also compare and contrast the two so that you can make an informed decision about where to sell your products. Read on to learn more!

What Are Taobao and Tmall?

With the country’s booming economy and many businesses trying to enter China, it can be difficult for foreign companies. The language barrier along with cultural differences makes this web-based market tough enough as is but those who succeed will undoubtedly make a killing!

That is where the two platforms come in. Both are e-commerce marketplaces administered by the Alibaba Group that allows businesses to sell their products to Chinese consumers. Taobao and Tmall provide an excellent online shopping experience for millions of customers in a wide range of goods categories, convenient payment systems, and even a cost-effective way for businesses to sell their products.

Taobao was created in May 2003, while Tmall was created in April 2008. They conduct an e-commerce deal between business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) retail. However, despite being run by the same company and being inter-connected, there are some key differences between the two platforms that fashion brands need to be aware of before they decide to sell on either Taobao or Tmall.

What Are the Main Differences Between Taobao and Tmall?

Looking at Taobao and Tmall, the two platforms show some similarities, but they have some differences that make both marketplaces unique. By understanding these key points, fashion brands will be able to make an informed decision on which platform is best suited for their products.

These are the main differences between Taobao and Tmall:

Taobao vs Tmall: Goods and Services

  • Taobao is a great resource for shoppers looking for anything, and it’s a great resource for young business owners that are getting started online as entry fees and requirements are a lot more achievable than on Tmall. Taobao is also Alibaba’s bastion of innovation. The app was the first one in China to play with the concept of social e-commerce with its integrated social media Weitao, and also one of the first ones offering sellers in-app KOLS and live-streaming. Taobao is exclusively open to brands with a legal entity in China.
  • Tmall is a one-stop marketplace for China’s most reputable brands. It differs from Taobao in that it only sells high-quality goods and services from brands that have been properly examined for value and authenticity. When it comes to their purchasing purpose, shoppers on Taobao are typically looking for the best and good deals, whereas Tmall has the intent to give you comfort as they are able to find you more branded items. Tmall offers a cross-border option that does not exist on Taobao.

Merchants Profiles

The types of merchants found on both platforms are quite different. For Taobao, you’ll find a lot of small businesses and private individuals attempting to sell their products. On the other hand, Tmall is mostly populated by well-known brands, with few exceptions.

In terms of the quality of goods, Taobao has a reputation for being lower quality because it’s easy for anyone to start selling on the platform. There is less regulation when it comes to what type of products are allowed to be sold. In contrast, Tmall requires all brands to go through an extensive verification process in order to sell on the platform. This results in fewer products but the higher quality overall.

Prices range on Taobao & Tmall

  • Generally, products on Taobao are going to be cheaper than similar products on Tmall. This is because the platform attracts a lot of small businesses and private individuals who are looking to undercut the prices of larger brands. There is also a wider range of pricing on Taobao since there are no restrictions on what types of products can be sold.
  • Tmall, on the other hand, attracts mostly well-known brands who are able to charge higher prices for their products. The platform also has a smaller selection of products overall since all brands must go through a rigorous verification process before being allowed to sell on the site.

Prices & Fees Structure differs widely on Taobao & Tmall

  • When it comes to setting up shop, Taobao is going to be the more affordable option as entry fees are quite low. However, commissions fees can differ quite a lot between categories of products. When renewing your store contract after a year, Taobao can decide to increase your commission fees. This usually happens with successful stores that Aliabab would benefit from having on Tmall.
  • Tmall is more expensive to get started with. In addition to listing fees and monthly membership charges, you’ll also be required to pay a deposit when you first set up your store. This deposit is refundable, but it’s still an additional cost that you need to be aware of.

What Are the Benefits of Selling on Both Tmall & Taobao?

There are definitely benefits to selling on both Tmall and Taobao – two of the largest e-commerce platforms in China. For one, you’ll have access to a massive market of potential customers. And, because each platform has its own distinct user base, you’ll be able to tap into different segments of the Chinese consumer market.

Another advantage is that you can tailor your B2C strategy to fit each platform. On Tmall, for example, which is geared more towards luxury and branded goods, you’d want to focus on creating a high-end user experience.

Some benefits of selling on both Taobao and Tmall include:

  • Increased Online Presence = Increased Credibility:

Building a strong online presence in China can help your brand to develop a good reputation among Chinese consumers. By creating a well-recognized and respected brand, you’ll be able to connect with more consumers, establish trust, and generate more loyal customers. As Taobao and Tmall are two of the most popular online marketplaces in China, it is a good way to increase your online presence, especially since both Tmall and Taobao listing tends to rank on Baidu.

  • Reaching More Consumers

As mentioned earlier, Taobao and Tmall have huge potential in the Chinese market. Being present on both platforms will allow the fashion brands to reach out to more consumer groups and tap into the growing market. They can also expand their businesses to other countries as well.

  • Increasing Sales and Profits

Of course, one of the main benefits of selling on both Taobao and Tmall is that it can help to increase sales and profits. As the platforms have a large number of users, it is a great way to boost the sales and profits of the fashion brands that are selling on the platforms.

  • Better Branding Opportunities

Both platforms can provide better branding opportunities. The platforms offer a variety of features and tools that can help to promote fashion brands. For example, the platforms offer banner ads and other marketing tools that can help to increase the visibility of the fashion brands and create a good image for them.

What Do Fashion Brands Need To Know When Selling on Taobao and Tmall?

Establishing a good business relationship with the platform is essential. As the world’s leading e-commerce platforms, Taobao and Tmall offer fashion brands a unique opportunity to reach Chinese consumers. With this opportunity comes challenges, as the platform is different from others in many ways. In order to be successful on Taobao and Tmall, fashion brands need to understand these differences and tailor their approach accordingly.

Here’s what fashion brands need to know when selling on Taobao and Tmall:

  • Chinese Consumer Is Different

The Chinese consumer is more price-sensitive and value-conscious than consumers in other countries. They are also much more likely to research a product online before making a purchase. To be successful in both markets, fashion brands need to focus on providing good value for the price. This means offering quality products at competitive prices. It’s also important to provide detailed product information and clear product images.

  • Different marketplaces = different target audiences

While both platforms are owned by Alibaba, they each have their own unique features and functions. Taobao is a more general marketplace, while Tmall is geared towards branded products. As a result, the two platforms attract different types of shoppers. For fashion brands looking to sell on Taobao or Tmall, it’s important to understand the difference between the two platforms and choose the one that is best suited for their products.

  • Good Relationship Is Essential

One of the most important things to understand about Taobao and Tmall is that they are not simply shopping platforms but rather communities.

To build a good relationship with their consumer base, fashion brands need to be responsive to them and the platform’s requests and needs. They also need to be proactive in promoting their products and ensuring a good customer experience.

  • Finding a Local Partner Is a Must

Since Taobao and Tmall are Chinese platforms, it’s important to have a local partner who knows the platform and how to navigate the Chinese market. A local partner can help fashion brands understand the nuances of the platform and make sure they are complying with all the necessary regulations. They can also help with marketing and promoting products on the platform.

  • Rapid Growth Can Be a Big Factor

The Chinese e-commerce market is growing rapidly, and Taobao and Tmall are leading the way. This rapid growth provides a big opportunity for fashion brands to reach Chinese consumers, but it also comes with challenges, as the platform is constantly changing. To be successful on Taobao and Tmall, fashion brands need to be flexible and adaptable. In particular, they need to be willing to experiment and try new things.

Wondering how to get started on Tmall and/or Taobao?

Contact us, we have solutions for you!

We will guide you through the maze that the Chinese eCommerce landscape is and help you get started on the best marketplace for your goals and your budget

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