The co-founder of WebshopinChina.com, Angela Tabak, has recently been interviewed by BLUEBIZ (KLM’s China Business Club). In this interview, she shared her vision and understanding of China e-commerce.
Over the years, Webshopinchina has paved the way for western brands to sell their products in China. Setting up shop is just one step, but growing a brand’s market share is harder and requires more sophisticated tools, services, and support. “The trend we see is that foreign companies are looking for real insights from data analysis about how their brand performs in China. Brands swap the ‘quick and dirty’ approach for proper steering their presence in China”, says Webshopinchina’s CEO Angela Tabak.
Tabak’s young company – staff of seven, offices in Amsterdam (staff: 7) and Shanghai (staff: 6) – has opened many online stores for several European clients and their brands in China. Online success can come in many forms and shapes. Some clients prefer the shorter route of entering the market via an importer/distributor. Other clients want to stay in full control and choose to build their own online store on platforms such as Tmall (Alibaba) or JD.com. “Both approaches can be successful but have their pros and cons”, says Angela Tabak.
Limiting and costly
“Building your company’s presence with an importer/distributor may be the faster and easier way, but after a while, some brands tend to see the partnership with an agent as somewhat limiting and costly – hurting their margins. A local partner will generally not invest much in building the brand or in marketing. Developing your own independent online store on any platform definitely requires deeper pockets and perseverance but offers more room to move and make your own decisions. We cater for both approaches.” Moreover, Webshopinchina prides itself on getting shops truly going, including the fulfillment part. The agency has partnered with logistics companies to ensure prompt customs clearance and timely delivery of the products to the Chinese consumer.
Angela Tabak is convinced that her company has an edge over many Chinese competitors. “Our team of European and Chinese designers, marketing experts, Chinese customer service and social media experts and data-analysts serves our European clients from Amsterdam, so we communicate with them in the same time zone and eliminate any cultural or language barriers.”
The challenge: building market share
WebshopinChina has been successful with its cost-effective package to open stores. The e-commerce expert finds that clients increasingly value e-commerce strategy consultancy and marketing and data-analysis services that help find the way to success in this huge and exciting market.
One way or the other, western brands will need sound advice and guidance to be successful – and to grow the brand and its market share in China. “Doing business in China’s e-commerce arena is often complex and challenging. Establishing a presence is a challenge, but gaining and winning market share is an even bigger one. To do that, you need to know exactly what pricing, branding, wording, and positioning will work in China. You need to know how your brand is performing, what buttons to push to influence your brand awareness and reputation in China. The TP’s, the Tmall partners that help brands open and maintain a store on the well-known Tmall platform, tend to underestimate this strong need. At Webshopinchina, we have clearly identified this need and are shaping our offering accordingly.”
Offering invaluable insights
WebshopinChina increasingly services its clients by offering invaluable insights that help steer their activities. “They want to know about the actual performance of their brand and products in China. We continuously track their progress and offer much-wanted benchmarking towards the industry. We deliver insights into the position of important competitors and monitor a brand’s reputation on Chinese social media channels. This is the kind of information that is hard to come by on your own. With the demand for this type of data and information growing, we feel we can attract a whole new range of clients. And help their brands and products perform better and become successful in China!”