Be innovative is the key to be success on Chinese e-Commerce

E-Commerce in China is Competitive, Super competitive.

Shirley Song, head of the Tmall Innovation Center (TMIC) shared information about the retail innovation arm of one of China’s largest ecommerce companies and how it helps ecommerce merchants globally.

The Tmall Innovation Center, founded in 2017, is the retail innovation branch of Alibaba’s B2C marketplace Tmall. Using detailed market analysis, real-time consumer insights, and product concept testing, TMIC’s aim is to aid firms in identifying new channels and methods to penetrate the Chinese market.

TMIC’s spectrum of services includes collaborating with brands to incubate items specifically designed for the China market, as well as renovating their online flagship stores and curating marketing campaigns.

We have worked with over 2000 brands across the globe to date. During the fiscal year ending 31 March 2022, TMIC assisted brand partners in developing over 4,500 new goods. TMIC connects brands with Chinese consumers and helps them to receive rapid feedback as they transition from product concept to launch — the TMIC model requires only six months, whereas this process typically takes 18 months. Reducing the time of the new product’s incubation cycle not only cuts costs, but also raises the likelihood of a true victory.

How does TMIC support retailers in China?

Given the size of the market and the rate of change in customer wants and needs, product creation may be both dangerous and expensive. We help brands overcome these obstacles by providing them with consumer data and practical solutions to accelerate product development and increase their likelihood of success.

We achieve this through: trend detection – using our insights to form a bird’s-eye view of consumers’ preferences on everything, from ingredients and flavors to product packaging; consumer co-creation – leveraging the Taobao app to enable brands to directly engage with consumers, collect real-time feedback, and adapt products accordingly; testing tools – allowing brands to test new products, branding, or prices in a simulated shopping environment; and our ecosystem of straddle sellers.

What consumer insights does it deliver?

We provide insights on a number of product innovation trends throughout the Alibaba Group and via our partners outside the Alibaba ecosystem. This includes information on lifestyle-driven innovation, hobby-driven innovation, and design-driven innovation, among others.

In recent months, for instance, we’ve observed that Chinese customers are embracing camping and adopting new lifestyles. This first increased the demand for camping apparel and gear, but has subsequently spread to portable and self-heated packaged foods and portable refrigerators. By identifying these trends early on, we assist our partners in remaining at the forefront of the market.

Any examples of products that have been developed through TMIC?

We are really delighted to collaborate with big brands such as Nestlé, Philips, and Beiersdorf. These brands are genuine industry leaders, generating innovation on a global scale, yet each had its own difficulty in the marketplace.

In the United States and Europe, roughly 100 cups of coffee are consumed per capita yearly, whereas in China, only 10 cups are consumed annually per person. This may be related to the fact that Chinese consumers dislike coffee’s traditional bitter flavor. To expose customers, particularly Generation Z, to coffee, we collaborated with Nestlé to create a variety of fruit-flavored and immersive coffees.

This helped capture the imagination of consumers, enticing them into the category and inspiring them to try other coffee products and formats within their broader product portfolio.

Meanwhile, last year we worked with Nivea China, one of Beiersdorf’s brands, to launch two new innovative products – a tiger grass enriched male skincare product for consumers who are staying up late, and a female cleanser for sensitive skin. Both leveraged our insights throughout the entire NPD cycle, including our simulated testing platform. This enabled Nivea to efficiently validate ideas, options, product claims, and designs within just two weeks, rapidly accelerating the product’s speed-to-market.

Together with Philips, we released one of the first products utilizing a C2B model, which is a consumer-centric approach to new product development. This resulted in the co-creation of two new products, a shaver for Generation Z youth and a portable water flosser, that directly address the demands of local customers.

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How to sell your goods on Tmall?

In China, the ability to build a shop on an e-commerce website is contingent not only on your motivation, but also on the visibility of your brand and its potential on the platform. If you want the opportunity to sell your products on one of the most visited e-commerce websites in the world, you will need to demonstrate what you have to offer and persuade Tmall that you can draw the attention of Chinese consumers.

Which company can apply to register on Tmall China?

To establish your business on Tmall, you must be aware that Tmall needs its merchants to possess proper Chinese documentation and to register their products with local authorities. This is why the majority of foreign businesses on Tmall are international and Fortune 500 companies that already have a presence in China.

Open a Tmall flagship Store: required documents via TP

How can GMA help you with the Tmall registration process?

GMA is a digital marketing agency that can help you to grow your business with Tmall, China’s leading e-commerce platform through:

  • Register On Tmall & Create your Store

Let us help you with registering on Tmall. We will check your answers to Tmall requirements and find alternatives if you don’t. If your brand is allowed to be on Tmall we will take care of registering it and create a store that not only tells about your brand but also makes sure the design and UX are localized for Chinese consumers. Our goals: Make sure you have the highest conversion rate possible.

  • Shop Design

We make your shop attractive to Chinese buyers, putting your products in the best possible light.

  • In-platform Advertising

Tmall is more than a store. It is a product Search Engine. We use Tmall promotion tools and Ads to help you Sell.

  • Off-platform Marketing

KOL, e-reputation, Banner ads, we have experts for each of these promotional strategies.

  • Customers Service and Store Management

Keep your customers happy with great customer service and 24H chat to help consumers with buying an item. Your Tmall Store will have to be updated often with your new listing, a listing that should be visually appealing and informative. We also help you with prepping for the many Chinese festivals and make the most out of them.

  • Global Strategy & Branding

Selling online in China can be a challenge if your brand is unknown. To help you increase your conversion and ROI we help you with branding and storytelling. Remember that in China branding is everything, you may be the best in your field if no one is saying it then you are no one. Level up your game with an Omni-Channel marketing strategy.

  • Reporting & Analysis

We monitor your shops & ads results, and optimize them to get you the best ROI. Then we provide you with easy-to-digest reports.

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