Service vendor website no pig in a poke
The industry also requires automation and standardization: This means that when buyers order or vendors bid, they have to deal with a standard interface, instead of people.
Unlike users in the West, Chinese users are terribly uncomfortable quite easy and straightforward. If we hadn’t set up a call center, these deals would surely have been lost,” Zhu said.
Zhu and his team also paid a lot of attention to overcoming the “trust gap”. They developed an online payment system that ensures buyers remit the money to Zhubajie before it’s transferred to successful bidders.
They established a rating system for vendors: the more deals they get, the higher their scores. Those scores are now a critical reference when buyers make decisions.
Also, initially, vendors had to compete against all other bidders for every deal. Now, they can have one-on-one project arrangements with longtime customers.
Zhang Yong, a veteran vendor on Zhubajie, said he earns more under this new arrangement. The website itself gets less.
Work offers on the website have boomed. Zhang’s design business has developed to the point where he’s hired about 10 people. His monthly income now reaches 200,000 to 300,000 yuan.
Zhubajie’s perseverance has attracted investors. In 2011, it received a $10 million investment from International Data Group Corp, a United Statesbased technology, media, research and events management firm. IDG is also engaged in venture capital investment.
Zhubajie plans to make an initial public offering within two or three years.
Looking to the future, Zhu said he believed that online goods trade has nearly peaked, while service trade will surge and make up half of the e-commerce market.
“For a platform website like Zhubajie, it must be a ‘slow business’ and seemingly stupid methods should be applied. You can’t assume your customers are too clever; neither can you assume they’re too stupid.
“You should treat them with integrity” and the business will grow, he said. “That brings economies of scale.”
Chongqing Zhubajie Network Technology Co Ltd has created the equivalent of more than 10,000 full-time jobs and many more part-time gigs.