The de­mand for good prod­ucts, good ser­vice, is so pow­er­ful. … We need more Amer­i­can prod­ucts.”

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

who said Taobao is her No 1 choice for shop­ping online be­cause of the af­ter-sales ser­vices. “I can see the store and talk to the owner. On other plat­forms, I can only call cus­tomer ser­vice in­stead of the store it­self. This way, I feel more as­sured.”

Zia Daniell Wigder, vice-pres­i­dent and re­search di­rec­tor at For­rester Re­search, is op­ti­mistic about small US re­tail­ers on Alibaba, es­pe­cially those who would be deal­ing with in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers, ship­ping, cus­toms, and lo­cal cur­ren­cies for the first time. She said the Chi­nese com­pany can help stream­line these pro­cesses be­cause of its mar­ket dom­i­nance and vast in­fra­struc­ture net­work.

“There cer­tainly are dif­fer­ences (be­tween US and China e-com­merce), but a lot of them are sur­mount­able is­sues,” she said. “Cross-bor­der online shop­ping is grow­ing in­cred­i­bly quickly. It’s not just be­tween the US and China, but be­tween a large num­ber of dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Alibaba’s op­por­tu­ni­ties in Brazil and Rus­sia, and other places like that, have grown sub­stan­tially, so they’re look­ing to pen­e­trate what is the other ex­tremely large e-com­merce mar­ket in the world, which is the US.”

Michael Tu­dor, CEO of Ripen eCom­merce, a con­sult­ing com­pany, told Forbes last year that Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao, along with Ali­pay, its third-party online pay­ment plat­form sim­i­lar to PayPal, can help small busi­nesses in the US “who don’t have the re­sources to meet the chal­lenges of the Chi­nese mar­ket”.

For a small US re­tailer to be suc­cess­ful in China’s e-com­merce mar­ket­place, Kosha Gada, prin­ci­pal at AT Kear­ney’s media, con­sumer and re­tail prac­tice, said they will need un­der­stand the mar­ket de­mand, build a brand, and have a firm grasp on lo­gis­tics and oper­a­tions.

“It’s a dif­fer­ent mar­ket from the US, and com­pa­nies will need to ac­cu­rately as­sess the com­pet­i­tive land­scape,” she said, warn­ing that elec­tronic pay­ment is not as de­vel­oped in China as in the US, rais­ing the risk of fraud, while ship­ping can be a has­sle due to un­de­vel­oped in­fra­struc­ture out­side of ma­jor cities.

Teng at the Cheung Kong Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness of­fered one more piece of ad­vice for US com­pa­nies: Watch what Chi­nese tourists buy in bulk abroad. “Chi­nese are see­ing the world,” he added. “They know what the good prod­ucts are, they aren’t easily swayed by nov­el­ties.” Con­tact the writ­ers through yangz­i­man@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Jack Ma,

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