Opportunities in cross-border sales

April 2020

As digitalization is increasing, world-wide cross-border eCommerce is becoming an even more interesting approach for brands that would like to grow on international markets.

As both the Chinese economy and average income per capital continue to grow year by year, there exists a strong purchasing power in China today that are looking for international brands. This is strongly reflected when looking at the eCommerce market in China. Today China is the leading market and accounts for over 55% of the world’s transactions. Therefore, China is usually a prioritized market for most brands that are looking to grow their business.

Why this interest of cross-border eCommerce then? The simple answer is that it is connected to lower enter barriers in terms of investment, time, regulations, and integration to existing fulfilment centres. At the same time it gives brand a first foothold and sales channel towards a Chinese audience.

The question for brands is to decide on which marketplace to focus on when starting with cross-border sales. Thanks to the Chinese tech-giants Tencent and Alibaba, there are two major marketplaces that could be good starting points for brands: Alibaba’s Tmall Global and Tencent JD Global. Depending on the product category and preferred target audience the brand has, one of these two marketplaces is preferred to start with. In addition to Tmall Global and JD global there are several other marketplaces that could be an option for your specific product. One fast growing option is the WeChat mini-program. This app-in-app solution allow a brand to customize a web shop. Easily accessible for the consumer with no downloads nor installations needed. Easy API integration for the brand with existing eCommerce and logistic setup in the West.