The UK in particular is one of the most popular locations from which Chinese customers purchase items and this creates a real opportunity for UK exporters.
China is the world’s second largest and fastest growing economy, with annual retail sales growth of nearly 15% (FIG.1) in each of the past four years contributing to China now being the largest eCommerce market in the world.
The opportunity in the territory is undeniable and major Chinese third-party platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall can make breaking into this market much simpler. Further, with mobile penetration expected to increase dramatically over the next year, the growth of online shopping promises to continue long into the future. These elements make China an extremely attractive market to operate within as an online retailer.
Like any economy, China offers eCommerce opportunities that can easily be accessed with an understanding of the specific needs of the country. Within China, these particular needs range from governmental regulation, licensing and delivery requirements to language, payments and marketing considerations.
Looking specifically at delivery and logistics, China presents a range of challenges to those online retailers looking to export. Many difficulties stem from its underdeveloped delivery infrastructure and vast and widely distributed population, though importantly investments to advance this infrastructure mean that delivery capabilities are set to improve. This will result in online shoppers being able to receive a variety of delivery options designed to meet their specific needs, as well as full tracking and returns management.
At Royal Mail, we think of international as just another postcode, and aim to help online retailers understand and offer an excellent delivery service to China.
Managing online shoppers’ expectations of delivery is a very important consideration for any online retailer trying to build trust with their new customers. We offer a range of services and have a strong delivery partner with China Post, ensuring we have expert and local knowledge within China. We currently have strong partnerships with a range of online retailers exporting to China and so we are pleased to sponsor the 2014 Chinese Cross-Border Trading Passport, which is full of great insights into the challenges and opportunities faced in the Chinese eCommerce market.