Tmall.HK’s offline shop can’t sell products directly to consumers

19/05/2018

Due to regulatory policy that prevents direct retail sales of overseas products, Tmall.HK’s offline shop is display-only. Consumers can view and touch products there, but have to go online to make the purchase. 

 

In 2013, during one of the most energetic periods for cross-border retail e-commerce, Alibaba launched Tmall.HK as a platform for Alibaba’s international business.

Tmall.HK’s offline store opened in Hangzhou, where it’s selection and display are all self-operated.

The store, spanning 300 square meters, capitalized on a strategic location: Alibaba is headquartered in Hangzhou, which is also the first comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zone approved by the Chinese government.

The area also has a strong relationship with other major e-commerce players, including Netease Koala and U.S. e-commerce giant eBay, which on April 17 signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Hangzhou pilot zone. The express purpose of the agreement was to facilitate the American company’s cross-border e-commerce export business.

 

 

In 2013, during one of the most energetic periods for cross-border retail e-commerce, Alibaba launched Tmall.HK as a platform for Alibaba’s international business.

 

 

 

Interestingly, due to policy factors and regulations that do not allow direct retail sales, the store serves only as a display to showcase overseas products. All cross-border products are borrowed from the bonded warehouse, and cannot be sold directly. In other words, unlike airport duty-free shops, consumers can only hang out, not buy.

Tmall.HK offline stores tend to offer standard products, with uniform packaging specifications and models, so the test products are not much different from the online products. This allows customers  to physically experience the things they want to buy online before they make the purchase — an activity that can still sway consumers to one product from another.

The purpose of the offline store is only an aid to online business, Tmall.HK’s main industry. Tmall measures the traffic volume of stores and the number of users who have converted to online after the offline experience.

 

 

Customers  can physically experience the things they want to buy online before they make the purchase — an activity that can still sway consumers to one product from another.

 

 

Tmall.HK users have been mainly females between the ages of 25 and 35, data shows. The young women tend to buy products at Tmall.HK before and after getting married. This a trend seen across the majority of cross-border retail e-commerce platforms.

Japan’s Kao diapers have become an indicator product of the cross-border e-commerce industry for industry players to track. Tmall.HK’s offline store also sells beauty makeup, mother and child, personal care, food and health products, which distributors report are best-sellers.

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