By November 12th, another 11/11 will have come and gone with the 2019 edition far eclipsing the already massive GMV and overall sales (30.8 billion USD) of the 2018 edition. Businesses participating in the shopping bonanza will be celebrating their successes; those who didn’t will clamor to be part of next year’s.
As Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC Marketing + Technologies, tells in a recent episode of The Negotiation Podcast, companies ought to have strategized their 11/11 plan by the middle of August. So, while this year will have come and gone, now is the time to plan for 2020. And finding the right Tmall Partner (also known as a TP) makes all the difference.
Here’s how the right Tmall Partner can help:
Let data paint the picture
The right deep dive into the available data (though often inaccessible in China without the right tools) will allow for valuable insights into the Chinese market that could make or break a brand’s penetration into it. Market and competitor data will provide clarity as to where your products will best perform, at what time of year, at what price, and- perhaps most importantly- how your competitors are performing. Consumers across the world place a high value on competitive pricing. And if that desire for low prices eats too much away at your margins, a different tact will likely be needed. What’s more, relevant data can paint a picture for Western Brands about the particularities of the Chinese market, like sizing and consumer preferences for particular colors.
All that paperwork
It’s no secret that China’s legal and regulatory system differs greatly from that of the West. As needs to be considered with any platform entry, there is a significant amount of “red tape” that comes part in parcel with the system. Luckily, your Tmall Partner may be an expert on these matters and how to navigate them. The right TP will be able to establish legal entities in China on your behalf, ensure compliance and liaise with Alibaba’s platform to swiftly move through paperwork and remove as many hurdles as possible.
An effective web presence
It’s one thing to get a brand activated on Tmall, but it’s another to have that happen effectively, driving conversions and revenue. That’s why having a Tmall Partner who knows the ins-and-outs of setting up such a web presence is critical. On top of creating a desirable e-commerce build and a storefront design that can grow market share, the right partner will also be adept in CSR training. The importance of high-level customer support among Chinese consumers cannot be overstated. Without it, the brand activation could be all for naught and your organization’s market entry could see weak results.
Warehousing / Logistics
For the multi-billion dollar conglomerates out there, purchasing a warehouse storage facility inside China is a no-brainer. For small and medium sized enterprises, however, that sort of investment of capital might be out of reach. Even if it were possible, financially, it may not be the wisest decision. A good operational partner will allow companies access to a secure facility with dedicated staff. Even if the Tmall Partner doesn’t have their own facility, then at a minimum, they should be able to identify a trusted logistics partner for the brand.
Peace of mind
In a market as large and dynamic as China’s, where regulatory, cultural and language differences are a reality for Western brands, leaning on the right Tmall Partner can mitigate all kinds of headaches. The right Tmall Partner is one that has significant on-the-ground experience in the market, takes seriously their responsibility to the client, and is responsive and adaptable to their client’s needs.
Liaising with Alibaba and Tmall
What is your familiarity with your “Xiaoer”? Also known as “category managers”, these Alibaba employees are responsible for the performance of brands in a specific area of the business and their goal is to ensure that your brand succeeds on the Tmall platform.
The right Tmall Partner will ensure that you are regularly engaging in a dialogue with your Xiaoer, and discussing- among other topics- major events that are coming up on the Chinese promotional calendar and how your brand can position itself for success; analyzing data so you can optimize future performance; category trends so that your company picks the correct product mix; and more.
Whether your brand is looking at market entry or is currently in China and considering growth strategies, ensure you are partnering with the right organization to get your products in the hands of Chinese consumers. There may be many Tmall Partners to choose from, but finding the right one can be the difference between celebrating your biggest year ever, or watching from the sidelines.