Ep. 83 | Amazon Prime Day vs Alibaba Singles Day
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Today's show is about gaining global customers specifically in the context of amazon's prime day versus alibaba singles day eh and to help me discuss. This topic is allah sandra bruni. Allesandra joins us from italy where she is a web content editor at c i f news which if you haven't heard of this organization you can find them at e. N. dot c._i._f. News dot com and this is a chinese news publication russian and cross-border platform that is very helpful and understanding the chinese market allesandro. Welcome to the show. Hi thank you for having me here. Where can you tell us a little bit more about your background because it's clear you're based in italy but you're writing for a chinese news publication and yet you understand the western world. How did you get into this mix. Yes absolutely when it was a university. I actually grew <hes> saga of obsession with china so i i hey grab at it in chinese language and then i mustered in international relations with the focus on china so when i started working as a web content editor i knew i i wanted to talk about this country. So when i started writing for cis meals that you mentioned it before i was more than excited to write about china <music> actually and here is how i got in touch with the cross-border e-commerce oh china and this is how i got so fascinated by it is very fascinating. The market and i wanna start by talking a little bit about alibaba singles day but we are coming right off amazon prime day so we're going to start there era and then shift over to amazon. I know our listeners are very much obsessed with amazon in the market and how that's all shaping their retail world so let's start with. Perhaps perhaps you could give us a little background about what singles day actually is single day whose proper name is chinese global shopping festival is actually actually alibaba's day abc's and discount it lasts twenty four hours and it is important because last year managed to eclipsed amazon prime a they say you think ten minutes is so important to talk about it. It actually occurs on november eleven so it is also called w eleven and interesting fact is that it starts at midnight and last year time minutes after the stroke of midnight it already generated over four billion dollars so it exceeded the time they say expectation for two thousand eighteen and after twenty minutes it already exceeded the black friday sales and twenty four hours hours it managed to generate over thirty billion dollars so in comparison amazon d._c. Are rich dynasty mated seven billion dollars over forty okay towers two weeks ago so it's also people know very little about alibaba and single day. You can see that the comparison with overseas stay they. He's ruthless. It's amazing and is alibaba singles day just for the chinese market or is it a global you mentioned it's chinese global title shopping festival well. It is starting to reach every year. More countries actually started as a chinese shopping festivals but then it spread all over the world three other sounds like timo world lozada and l._a._x. And that serve the southeast asian market and the european markets so last year almost two hundred and thirty countries participate didn't even so actually today the trend is to copy what china is doing doing from facebook to amazon many u._s. Tech giants are coping with alabama's selling promoting strategies like the concept we taylor swift for less <unk> primed as just an attempt to copy the global shopping cecil countdown gallon so it is actually impacting how we perceive online shopping saw aw for sure i can say that it's shopping festival for everyone today since we are starting to know that its existence sexually and so the numbers that you excited at the beginning in ten minutes surpassing prime day does that include two hundred and thirty countries or is that alibaba in china alone surpassing saying no no no eating all the countries save and i think that's what's so interesting. You've hit on two points that i really think are fascinating. One is that we oftentimes think of amazon is a global platform mostly u._s. centric but oftentimes very easy to use and other countries but yet alibaba has made a very very strong concerted effort to go after the global audience so if i'm a retailer today and i want to sell to a global audience this volume volume that alibaba represents is quite compelling compared to the amazon volume yes yes it is it actually is a whole ecosystem system made of online retail and offline retail and this is what makes it so different from overseas platforms and the the reason that nobody else can reach what alibaba single they immesnse for china it comes down to from the from the mental differences between the two worlds westbound east actually ended two platforms like amazon and brian climbed is all about amazon but anybody who makes the single day revolve we both around brands that people love and around settlers it's chairman jack ma used to say that alibaba is not the chinese version of amazon but amazon imaging and ebay are economist firms but alibaba is not because it helps other to do ecommerce but it doesn't actually sell things on the platform that that is a really interesting point because i noticed the top products sold imprimis day this year were even more amazon products ranking up the top the echo other amazon fire stick these were basically like amazon takeovers and then all the other retailers were kind of following along but what you're saying is the philosophy. Alibaba is completely different so tell me as a retailer. Why should i care about the alibaba platform. We've touched on how it's different but maybe you could elucidate a little bit more about why it's different for retailers well why you should reach the tiniest platform. It's easy because china has the world's largest internet's population so reaching chinese customer base is a huge opportunity for foreign brands in fact during last single today forty percents of buyers purchased from international brands really yeah a lot and the event is also that save record year after year so it's impressing these it's still growing so it definitely is huge opportunity for everyone who chose to side done on the platform absolutely and when they sell on this platform. Can you help us understand a little bit about how it's different today. Retailers are really struggling with keeping up with the amazon platform because there's this tension where amazon is doing amazon essentials and they have their own products versus the retailer products and yet you just said a few minutes ago. Alibaba is not the amazon of china. How is it different for sellers on alibaba well if the friend because sellers can differently from amazon they can market on the platform they can also benefit from cross promotional and we know how to say like they can promote on different channel on the same day leveraging both online platforms like multiple ecommerce websites websites or messaging apps but they can also leverage the off line experiences made of pop up stores and exclusive events and behind behind the alibaba's record. There is actually a wise use of new technology like roberts out of the warehouses big data artificial intelligence so alibaba is leveraging the most innovative technology of the future to set new marketing trends that are now spreading in the whole world like if you think about the live streaming aiming shopping it all started when alibaba broadcast on ten different platform the fee now. It's you know by now. Fashion show where customers could buy clothes in in real time while watching the livestream facials show so this is something that started in china and it's a trend that is now spreading all over the world and in an absolute opportunity for brands to gain visibility and to gain engagement moreover is the only shopping in china is not just an act of purchase. It's rather our way to engage in entertainment or what alibaba is building an engaging environment where customers are always entertained and the fact that more u._s. Such the network like facebook are producing economic speeches shows that it's not just a chinese trend but people starting to ask for more shopping actually chilly so i can add that retailers can yeah as i said before actually retailers benefit from a mentor ecosystem supported by on apps and of land experiences and jack ma the chairman new retail. It's the combination of offline and online and retail and this is something amazon is not offering right now and when you talk about that online and offline that beautiful synergy doesn't necessitate that shot that retailers who sell on alibaba <hes> are able to directly communicate with the buyers we the buyers i think they can benefit from the tools that chinese any splat forms offer that they need a deeper understanding of the chinese market because i know just running loaning this slobbering of platforms and experiences confusing but chinese companies have many tools to help the sellers winning their market so but i wanna come back to this particular point because one of the points of friction for western sellers on amazon is they sell the product but they get no data back or very very little data back about who bought the product and basically they get a shipping address and then they're not allowed to communicate it directly very much with that buyer and what i think i'm hearing on the alibaba platform is not only. Are you allowed to communicate with person who's purchasing focusing your product but ali baba's platform is specifically designed to help you create these online offline events. They have the tools that basically lee smooth this interaction and help people purchase more yeah yeah yeah absolutely retailers on alibaba are allowed to markets within the platform and i would say also outside platform because all the apps and wet side they are connected among them so all the ads ads like messaging eps are communicating with each other so what the retailer does alabama actually on its marketplace like talal is creating relationship with the buyer though not only he can offer discounts after sale for the buyer but he can offer into the customer like promotions and events like if if it if the seller decides to launch a livestream in another up that apy probably connected with the first op the fire used so the bayou managed to follow them the brand over in each platform and and over the platform the brand us actually so. I think what you're saying is through alibaba's tools and marketplace technology. There is a alabama ah benefits from the interconnectedness underneath of empowering the retailer so whether the retailer is offering a discount on the sale or offering offering promotion and event they're still benefiting because the actual transaction might take place using alley pay or using another messaging system so even it's not that they're losing the sales so an amazon. There's a strict you can't sell offline because amazon has no payment technology well. I shouldn't shouldn't say doesn't have a payment technology. It doesn't have a massively integrated payment technology so if i sell my website amazon doesn't see that sale. They don't benefit it from that sale but alibaba has a platform. That's powering retailers off the alibaba platform as well. Is that fair yeah yeah. It's just a place were valorous can the product sexually so they're not forced to do their sellers on alibaba platform but they can switch from when apte whenever like we've being the ecosystem the chinese eco-system like using we chat there are many meany programs where brands can also opened their flagship stores is different from the amazon way of selling and so it's complicated to explain but actually it's more inter connected yet and engaging so alibaba to is like allie experts if you ever used it. It's like going on such network or about as well we we did live streaming platform as well so it's not just selling on alibaba eats just using alibaba to sell on about team on <music> an older platforms available. I got it yeah so there's more of a partnership avenue powering type of relationship that alibaba is using in the market for retailers and if we compare that to amazon what we saw on prime day was other retailers nike best buy other companies running running their own promotions at the same time to essentially compete with amazon and try to get the same uplift from prime. I'm day and is it. Am i right to assume that you don't see that kind of competition in china when singles day happens because it's so integrated yeah yeah. It's not considered a competition well. There is but it's not considered competition. Actually the single day is the global shopping festival of every kind of platform but it is sponsored by alibaba but even the other tech giants like j._d. Dot com has offered discounts on singles day so they all participate to the event. It's not like considered competition and every lap from has its own online shopping festival actually doing doing the year and they also participate to the prime day they sexually in this year. It's a growing trend who offer discounts for the day of the prime date right. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. It's growing but i don't know. Have we seen that on the western side. Have we seen u._s. Retailers offering discounts on singles single-story no not outside the single day. Actually i only saw brands leveraging the chinese single days actually marketing <hes> for chinese buyers now so but i think it's a trend that it will change because the more we get to know the single day the more the brands will address to western customers like this year. I was one of the western customer but and i think next year some grants will address their their sales to the italian market. Maybe so i think this is where we are going actually even though now it's they just address the chinese market and well well. The southeast asian is love. It's not so popular like them some prime gay do we know the percentage of u._s. Customers who participate -ticipant in either singles day or the global shopping festival or in alibaba as a whole on. I don't have the exit percentage percentage but i know that u._s. Customers where the second largest customer base of the last alabama single day and it was only japan went first and then on the second place. There were american customers actually interesting so if a u._s. retailer is not participating in singles singles day for alibaba. This is perhaps a big gap yeah thing so even because as i mentioned it before china's population is the largest internet population in the world so it's <hes> huge opportunity and a big get to feel if someone is not marketing in china <hes>. Let's talk about the sectors for a minute. You <music> oftentimes in amazon. There's thinking that certain types of products perhaps the more unique the product the better it will perform on amazon on and the less it's subject to cannibalization from amazon's essentials. I think that might be true today but in alibaba are there certain certain sectors that perform better than others when retailers thinking. How should i sell in this category or not well. I thought i according to <music> research last single day food and drink where two of the most popular categories to buy from like australia milk was both ota lot and chinese hairy crab also sold over one million of payroll and during the first hour of festivals wow yeah meat myth powder as well but these nutrients usually on single day people prefer to buy makeup and beauty products especially from south korea and they usually by useful things for themselves or family compared to amazon buyers. I guess about the food and drink goaty has been a nobody here their popularity and so i have to ask especially since i'm living here in oregon one of the fastest growing categories in the startup space particularly in the u._s. Market has to do with cannabis in c._b._d. Products c._b._d. Products have to do with marijuana derivatives are those is also sold on alibaba. No i've even read anything about it but i don't think he would become popular any sworn in china because they're regulation ocean about light trucks as well is very straight and i'm not aware about any discussion on a governmental level about legalizing won't exceed anything like that. I'm not willing formed about that. Okay good to know another difference in the market so i want to circle back to something that you alluded to in the beginning and then we've kind of been dancing around a little bit and this has to do with an article that you just put on the front of c._i._f. News news about connected marketplace technology or really technology that china seems to be meeting with and this is not the first time i've heard this. I've seen in some other stories in the last the last two or three years about silicon valley starting to take its cues from china instead of the reverse where china used we used to come over and see what was new silicon valley and then replicate that paradigm has changed so can you talk a little bit about some of the innovation that's happening. Thank in the chinese market particularly for retailers that might support their growth well. Are you talking about the technology innovation china. Yes well actually china's going through a lot over the last years. It started well from the factory of the world. It actually became the innovation country tree for excellence investing a lot in new technologies like five g. r. robotics artificial intelligence and even blockchain being and so it's achieving a lot in technology right now so of course both the online platforms and buyers and retailers now l. can benefit of this researching new technologies for retailers. It's very important because as i said before they now can leverage whole ecosystem <hes> that can allies on new technologies like in the case of alibaba the y. Y use of big that it's lot allows plus latte from to perform better and retailers as well and artificial intelligence and robotics is driving like the switch to outweigh the warehouses so even delivery time processes now is even faster than before like there are many brands like nyc this year that are relying lying on drums deliveries so it's a big change because now they can serve rural customer faster than before oh wow yeah so i think they <music> are benefiting a lot from the chinese switch worth new technologies and all the investments because of course these are the technologies of the future so they just had both the customers and retailers to better performing better relief are there other examples of brands innovating in china china and then maybe thinking about that for the u._s. Or just taking advantage of chinese innovations like you just mentioned with nike drone delivery well actually even i could mention to brands that performed particularly well in the last single day in addition to nike is also lancome that feature turn thanks to the new technology it. The french medic sows vitually brought eight chinese bias to perry's. I mean that it feels sixty two feet long paper plane near the n._f._l. Tower and then it open it pop up store in beijing and both the c._d.'s launched a livestream to offer an interactive and exclusive. We've experienced just the day before the single day so this is probably a good example of leveraging new technologies during the global festival. I do of an well. It's not just a good example of new technology but it's also a good example of the entertainment combined with shopping there obviously selecting adding certain buyers perhaps their best buyers or people they want to become their best buyers and bringing them into this store to give them a special experience. Is that fair yeah. Of course there is like a research before these kind of events and i think that since the start of the idea the new technologies he's have had a lot in creating this kind of experience and of course the technologies because it was livestream in two different countries into different uh-huh continents in real time i think those two examples are great examples and certainly iconic brands whether its land comb or nike and sure there are plenty more or who are looking at interesting ways to sell on social media or to sell with live streaming and experimenting with us and the platform makes it just easier for them so let's say that i'm convinced and i barely knew retailer or maybe i've been around for a couple years in the united states marquette and i wanna try alibaba or parts parts of the alibaba platform. I realized when we alibaba there's really quite the ecosystem here. What should i do. I in order to explore this market well. I i would suggest to go and check the chinese tech giant's because there is a whole exit out that and it is led by the two chinas titans like alibaba but also tents listen so i would suggest also starting be familiar with their platforms like reach out to start in addition to the other ecommerce giant which is j._d. Indeed dot com but other important social commerce platforms cannot ignore anymore and such a commerce refer to those marketplace with social media features and and those social networks with e commerce features and two examples are bingoed law or seattle shoe and also live streaming platforms like tick tock now have become very crucial so moreover i would say the single day is not the only big city then in china because there is also j._d. Dot com meet year shopping. I've been festival which is the second most important in china and it's called six eighteen then there's alibaba's double twelve in december about six six festival in june and and so it shopping festival in china are real culture phenomenon so knowing them and understanding them very well is extremely important right now saw aw here comes the c._b._s. news to have because i know it can be confusing so i would suggest to go and check news the company iraq for because says it is the first chinese media bache allies in cross-border commerce particular for over sixty years it has been connecting chinese manufacturers and brands with global markets and it became the largest service lot form right now in china's crossbow industry because it's working with sixteen district tricks in china and it connects down with global players like google facebook amazon we end that's also offices in china and europe so so it's very easy to reach and it also organizes conferences workshops and forums and last year it opened at its business centering many china china and it provides facilities for international cross-border companies that want to the chinese markets so it actually had chinese companies to enter the chinese and he's market and the other way around. I would suggest to check that. That's what i thought you were saying because it sounded like originally this platform was helping chinese. I need companies moved to the global market and then perhaps helping u._s. Manufacturers find industrial working district but now that paradigm seems to have changed a little bit and in addition to doing that. They're also helping u._s. Retailers enter the chinese retail market yeah of course and could you go back to to to social networks that you mentioned. These were chinese words that i don't think our listeners would naturally here or would naturally now you mentioned there. Were too strong strong chinese. Yes social networks. Could you say those again yeah. It is our to social columnist top firms bingoed royce young show <hes>. They're very popular dr in china. It's combination of actually they are to see hong. Shu started as a social network and then it combines ecommerce fitters while pinged war was born as a group buying deals for customers anything particularly popular in lower tier cds so it's actually join a lot in china. It is very new social commerce and it also overtake the other ecommerce giant j._d. Dot com in chinese sales so it's important to know them because they're growing and they're gaining wide consumer base in china and they also knew for western <hes> retailers because they offer both chung networks features and e commerce features as well as the other platforms. I mentioned it before great. We we will link to those in the show notes as well as to c._i._f. Nears now if there are ways that people wanna get in touch whether they want to explore the a platform or whether they want to reach you personally. How would you suggest that they reach out. I can be reached at my linking profile and i would be more than happy to engage engage with people interested in this topic to talk about it even more and or you can either complex cis news directly on the website or social media profiles for an in depth study of cross-border e-commerce environment in china in particular excellent so alcindor bruni is on linked in. It's not hard to find her. There are a couple allesandro boonies out there so make sure you look for the one that says web editor c._i._f. News and that will get you right to her. As is always everything we discussed is going to be at ambition. Data dot com slash podcast almost wonder. I've really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you i love to your perspective is so valuable. It's very unique and it's not something that we often here in the u._s. Market where we're kind of in our own bubble so really appreciate your sharing that with us today thank you again. Thank you appreciate the chance you gave me to talk about. China and this incredible event <unk> on the china's point of view could remember everyone when you use your data effectively you can build customer equity. It's not magic. It's just a very specific journey earning that you can follow to get results. Thank you for joining today's show. This is your host alison. Hartzell and i have to few gifts for you. I i've written a guide for the customer centric c._m._o. Which contains some of the best ideas from this podcast and you can receive it right now. Simply text ambition data one word to three one nine nine six and after you get that white paper you'll have have the option for the second gift which is to receive the signal once a month. I'd put together a list of three to five things. I've seen that represent customer schumer equity signal not noise and believe me. There's a lot of noise out there things. I include could be smart tools. I've run across articles. I've shared word cool statistics or people and companies. I think are making amazing progress as they build customer equity. I hope you enjoy the c._m._o. Guide a. and the signal see you next week on the customer equity accelerator.