E-commerce gaining ground as online buying habits deepen
Shopping habits have been shifting away from physical retail and toward online shopping for some time.
Data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development further shed light on this trend. E-commerce's share in global retail increased from 14 percent to 17 percent from 2019 to 2020.
As the pandemic halted work and disrupted supply chains in many regions, China－as the first major economy to resume the bulk of its production－had an early start in normalizing business operations.
Consequently, digital retail is picking up steam in exporting Chinese goods overseas, where calls for easier and safer access to diversified merchandise are definitely on the rise.
To ride such a wave, AliExpress, the business-to-customer site of Alibaba Group, has unveiled a grand initiative－G100 Global Selling Plan－to help local brands extend their business presence abroad.
The site, connecting sellers with buyers from more than 200 economies, plans to nurture 100 of what it calls "super brands" by utilizing consumer data insights, sales channels, and branding resources.
The company also aims to incubate some 10,000 fledgling Chinese brands to gain an early foothold in overseas markets.
AliExpress General Manager Wang Mingqiang believes the time is ripe for Chinese suppliers to move beyond just "manufacturing" to actually create brands after the country's superior supply chains were proven resilient enough to weather storms such as the pandemic.
Wang identified two driving forces needed to catapult Chinese online vendors to the forefront of global sales. AliExpress has mapped out two approaches to bolster companies' overseas ambitions.
For brands boasting robust supply chains and maintaining a fair level of brand awareness, AliExpress plans to devote more marketing resources and craft a country-specific strategy for brands to navigate a specific market.
At the same time, AliExpress will also provide local logistical support, including supply chain finance and after-sales services, so that companies can stay laser-focused on R&D and marketing.
Ugreen, a manufacturer of electronic devices, had a bumpy start when expanding overseas. While the category itself is rather standardized, sales data and customer insights are still needed for the company to better navigate unfamiliar markets.
The second pillar targets brands that are still in their infancy but have exhibited huge growth potential. AliExpress offers a one-stop package for brands to expand abroad. Global e-commerce, according to an eMarketer study, is forecast to surpass $6 trillion by 2024 from $3.91 trillion in 2020.