Tmall Global isn’t just a Chinese ecommerce platform that lets retailers host an online store. It also offers a comprehensive set of tools and promotional features to ensure that sellers can get their products effectively in front of the right audience. The store layout itself can be chosen from 55,000 different templates in 30 industries that allow store owners to:
- Customise logos
- Customise colours
- Customise fonts
- Embed videos
- Animate icons
- Host interactive features.
The following is an overview of Tmall Global’s top 5 most powerful and popular features.
1. Reviews and detailed seller ratings
According to research conducted by Data Driven Marketing Asia (DDMA), both male and female Chinese consumers pay close attention to online reviews when making purchasing decisions. In a market known for its issues with fake and counterfeit products, integrated customer store ratings and item-based reviews reinforce customer confidence in the authenticity and quality of the products on offer.
Each product listing shows detailed seller ratings in three categories:
- Item as described
- Service and communication
- Shipping time
These are benchmarked to create an average score that ranks sellers in the same product category. Not surprisingly, these store ratings serve as powerful conversion tools and are often one the first things consumers will check when looking to shop online in China. For example, a customer on the hunt for a Kate Spade wallet, would first search for the item on the platform. From the list of search results, the user will then click through to the products with the highest store ratings.
For store owners it’s important to understand that the product search results will display all customer review and feedback regardless of whether they are positive or negative. This means that they need to manage their ratings and item reviews carefully and ensure an excellent customer experience from start to finish to influence consumer decisions and maintain a positive online reputation in China. What’s more, receiving good customer reviews often pays off doubly as Tmall tends to feature stores with the best customer reviews for special promotions.
2. Onsite promotions
One of the biggest promotional tools brands can leverage to their advantage are Tmall Global’s monthly themed promotions that are run across the entire site. For these promotions, Tmall invests heavily to drive external traffic to its site and then organises the display of the online merchandise to drive traffic to the stores participating in the promotion.
The much cited Singles Day Sales is just one example of this type of promotion at work. Other promotions include Spring Festival Supply Zone (年货节) for Spring Festival and JuHuaSuan (literal translation: gather for cheaper deals) which is daily a group buying flash sale comparable to services such as Groupon or CatchOfTheDay.
Especially for brands new to Tmall, these forms of promotions are the easiest way to gain some initial traction, drive traffic to the store and convert to sales. To be eligible to participate in these promotional drives, stores are usually required to offer big discounts. However, if the campaign is planned and executed well, brands will be able to reap the rewards in the form of heightened brand awareness, positive customer reviews and increased sales long after the promotion is finished.
In addition to the monthly special promotions, stores have the ability to run their own ads and promotions on the platform. There are a number of different options to go about this:
P4P or Express Train
This form of paid promotion is comparable to Google paid search advertising, allowing stores to bid on keywords for Tmall searches. P4P is charged on a cost per click (CPC) basis.
Flagship Store Banner or MingXingDianPu
A form of banner advertising only available to flagship stores. The banner will be displayed upon brand searches on both Tmall and Taobao and is charged on a CPM basis.
CPM or Diamond Booth
There are many different ways to get products in front of the right audience via banner ad on Tmall. Options include banners on category pages, shopping cart cross-selling and ads within Aliwangwang messenger. Banner display advertisement are charged on a cost per thousand basis (CPM).
CRM or Address rental plus email / SMS marketing
A form of direct marketing offered via the Tmall ecosystem. Stores are able to choose a segment of active Tmall users based on their demographic data and historic purchasing behaviour to target them with special offers and promotions. These kinds of campaigns are typically charged on a cost per email / SMS basis.
At this stage, Tmall does not offer self-service for their paid promotions. Retailers will need to work with a Tmall Partner to set up an account and manage the campaigns for them.
4. Livestream broadcast
The popularity of livestreaming has exploded in China. On Tmall Global, merchants can leverage the content format by organising livestream broadcasts. Vitamin brand GNC recently took advantage of the feature to ‘invite’ Chinese consumers into their store in Pittsburgh. The host talked about the company’ history and their products. The event was so popular that it 122,000 people tuned in.
If combined with discount promotions, livestream broadcasts can be an effective way for brands to boost conversions.
5. Alipay cross-border payment solution
Alipay is China’s leading online payment solution, offering a convenient and secure way to make and receive payments. It allows customers to pay in their currency and the vendor to extract in theirs.
Understanding and utilising Tmall Global’s most popular and powerful integrated features helps sellers get their products effectively in front of the right audience. But to build a sustainable Chinese eCommerce presence to reach Chinese digital consumers more is needed, including a dedicated China digital marketing strategy.