What Is Tmall?
Tmall is a B2C Chinese ecommerce platform. It is owned by giant player Alibaba. China’s business mogul Jack Ma created Tmall in 2008 as a spin-off of Taobao. It has now become the main website where Chinese Internet users can shop for their favourite international brands. Tmall does not only operate in mainland China, but is also used by online buyers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
How Did It Become China’s Favorite Chinese Ecommerce Platform?
At the beginning, the platform belonged to Taobao –an e-commerce website just like Amazon or eBay, for Chinese consumers – and was called Taobao Mall. Its name was changed to Tmall in 2010, only two years after its creation, and it obtained an independent domain name: tmall.com.
It evolved pretty fast and became one of China’s major e-commerce players in just a few years. It already owned more than half of the Chinese Business-to-Consumer web sales in the beginning of the year 2013.
Its next step was to partner with brands and open dedicated flagship stores for them on the platform. The first high-end brands to do so were Burberry in 2014, and Coach in 2015. Nowadays, many different types of companies from different sectors open their own flagship store on Tmall Global; Ocean Spray and Macy’s are part of the newest extensions of the website.
In 2014, the Californian web traffic data and analytics specialist Alexa ranked Tmall.com 18th on the list of the most visited websites worldwide and 7th in China.
How Does Tmall Work?
How do online buyers pay for their purchase on Tmall?
Transactions on Tmall.com are made thanks to Alipay payment system. Alipay, China’s leading third-party Internet payment solution was also launched by Alibaba Group. Users can either use their domestic bank cards or scan a QR code on the webpage.
What if customers need to contact customer service when using Tmall?
Whenever online buyers need to talk to one of the merchants present on the Tmall platform, they can make their inquiry directly to them. An instant messaging application was developed by Alibaba for that purpose: AliWangWang. By using it, buyers can chat with Tmall sellers before making their purchase, in order to learn more about the products they are interested in and even engage in bargaining.
An entrepreneur in Beijing explains how Tmall is powerful in China “Taobao & Tmall are everywhere in China, in every smartphone and spirit of Chinese. It is the first reflex for Chinese consumers before any purchase. It is amazing what Alibaba has realized in China in less than 10 years”.
What is Tmall Global?
Tmall Global was launched in 2014 and is a platform which links Chinese online buyers with foreign sellers. The platform enables Chinese consumers to buy authentic foreign products: a very important element for them, as there is a trust crisis regarding the quality of products found online.
Moreover, Tmall Global helps international companies in the establishment of a cross-border Chinese ecommerce platform. The latter enables these foreign brands to push their products to Chinese consumers without being present in China.
An example of a foreign company opening up a flagship store on Tmall Global is Costco Wholesale Corporation. It is a membership-only warehouse club and the third largest retailer in the USA. Although it is restricted to members in the United States, the companies chose to open their offer – low priced bulk-packaged products – to the general public in China. They have set up this flagship store in October 2014.
When Is It Best To Sell On Tmall?
Singles Day or GuanggunJie 光棍节 is the busiest shopping day in China… and the entire world. It takes place on November 11th, or 11-11, and makes a connection between the number 1 and single life. It was actually created by Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s CEO, in order to increase Internet sales. In 2014, online purchases in China went over 9 billion dollars on Tmall and Taobao, which is even more than the combined Internet sales on Cyber Monday and Black Friday in the US. Their goal was reached.
In 2014, the best seller on Tmall was electronics company Xiaomi. According to its President, Bin Lin, 1.16 million phones were sold on Singles Day, representing a 1.56 billion RMB.
About the Author:
Olivier Verot is the founder of Gentlemen Marketing Agency, which is an agency based in Shanghai that focuses on Chinese travelers and tourism. Fluent in Mandarin and exploring the various Chinese digital Strategies, he helps tourism companies to develop their China strategy. Thanks to his analyzes of Chinese consumers’ behavior, he has been recognized as an expert on the subject of marketing in China and tourism.