Today in China 90% of online sales are made thought the big platforms such as TaoBao-Tmall, Jd.com etc. TaoBao and Tmall are the two faces of the same coin. Why Tmall is the preferred choice of foreign Brands? Because it is more exclusive, it is not that easy to get into and provide them with benefits. Let’s see how it all works.
First Step: Understand Tmall
Founded by Jack Ma (CEO of the Alibaba Group) in 2008, Tmall or Tian Mao (as it is known in China) is the most emblematic e-commerce platform in the country. The Alibaba Group original purpose was to use the web to connect Western companies with factories and suppliers in China.
In 2003 eBay was then the leader of the then small Chinese e-commerce market. The young Chinese company then had an idea. Create its own platform, based on the Chinese belief that “Everyone is a trader.” TaoBao C2C platform was born. A few mistakes from the American company later, they were the only ones left standing.
Tmall came about when the group realized they needed to create a platform that put the emphasis on quality. Consumers could buy with confidence to buy real products (especially for major brands) and or the brands would know that they are not not competing with hundreds of counterfeit dealers.
Why Tmall is a Necessity for your Business
Why indeed do not start your own online store? This ensures after all full control of your brand. The reason is simple: You’ll make 100 times fewer sales. People are used to shop on Tmall, they have their habits there, in particular regarding payment. They also feel it is safe. Why try to go against the current?
2/Your competitors are already there
Tmall covers a very large scope of products: clothes, beauty products, electronics, etc. If you are doing business to consumers, you can be sure your industry is there and so are your competitors. Do you really want to let them enjoy this large audience all by themselves?
3/Tmall has much to offer
finally, it is important to sets it is not simply about listing your product. It is about joining an ecosystem. You can only develop your branding and sales but also learn more about your customers. And then use it to provide them with a personalized shopping experience.
The comparison with a shopping mall is actually quite relevant. You can give your store a unique style and feel. And you renounce on controlling the outside, you are in the same location as your competitors, but you benefit from a very large traffic of potential customers.
Opening Toward Foreign Brands
Branding is not the only thing you will need to pay attention to once joining Alibaba. You will need to be visible among all the other sellers. For a given product (not brand specific) the user will have a wide range of products to choose from.
This is where the SEO joins the game. Usually limited to search engines such Google and Baidu, it also applies to huge ecommerce platforms as the number of listed products is skyrocketing. You must optimize your shop content and choose the right words to rank for.
But you can also advertise what you have to offer within the site itself. If you are familiar with Search Marketing, then PPC/CPC campaign will be no trouble. If not it stands for the cost-per-click advertising, usually in ads in text format.
Banners (billed for each 1000 impressions on the site) are also available within the platform.
Use Outside Resources
Of course, all these tips are most effective when they are combined with a wider communication campaign. For the latter are the two tracks that our experience gives the best return on investment:
KOL: “Key Opinion Leader”. These are users with a wide audience. They often work in collaboration with brands for promotional purposes. They are perfect for Buzz marketing campaigns. see more here
Social Networks are now an obvious choice when it comes to communicate in China. WeChat and Weibo are your two best tools for communicating with your customers. Post valuable content, interact with the community and grow your audience. see more
Keep in mind that your e-reputation is a very important matter. With sites like Baidu Zhidao where (and ill-intended competitors as well…) can discuss about your brand.