China’s e-commerce market is the world’s largest, and the country’s middle class craves imported goods. Yet selling online in this booming market is not easy, and many Western retailers and brands have stumbled when entering e-commerce in China.
Many companies have emerged in China to help foreign companies set up their own e-commerce sites or storefronts on online marketplaces, provide customer service with Chinese-speaking payment services, to offer local payment options, handle fulfillment and manage marketing through Chinese social media platforms, including Weibo and Wechat. Working with such a local company is a must, says Sebastian Kraus, the CEO of Bodyguard Apotheke, a German online retailer of pharmacy products.
“Without a local partner you have no chance,“ Kraus says. “The Chinese e-commerce market is big and is in great growth, but it also involves risks. Customers in China have different expectations than those in Germany and they demand a higher standard of customer service than a German customer. Because of the bad experience with Chinese online retailers they are rightly very distrustful.“
To meet the needs of Chinese online shoppers, the German e-retailer last year engaged Azoya International, a Chinese company founded in 2013 that assists foreign companies selling online in China.
Azoya helped Bodyguard Apotheke open a store on Azoya‘s online marketplace for imported goods, haituncun.com, and also created a Chinese section of the retailer’s German site, BodyguardApotheke.com.
Since working with Azoya, the online sales from China on Bodyguard Apotheke have increased twentyfold, the retailer says. Before the German company only sold to Chinese online shoppers who could provide an address within Germany; now the Bodyguard Apothek can ship to consumer in China.
Bodyguard Apotheke is selling 400 orders a day with an average order of 150 euros and is growing its sales in China by about 35% each month, according to Azoya.
Azoya provides a wide array of e-commerce operation services to international e-retailers, including site localization, marketing, local customer services and logistics. It also guarantees that the products are authentic, which eases the concerns of Chinese consumers concerned about fakes, Azoya says.
Several of the founders of Azoya came from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., a China-based multinational telecom equipment company. Its products have been deployed in more than 140 countries and have over 140,000 employees, according to Huawei.
Among the founders is Don Zhao, Azoya‘s executive director, who worked for Huawei in the United Kingdom.
“Several co-founders of Azoya are previous employees for Huawei and we know international markets very well,“ Zhao says. says “We focus on health, beauty and kids categories and now we have more than 20 e-retailers clients, including British e-retailer TLC pharmercy and Korean beauty brand L&P Cosmetics.“ He says Azoya is seeking more retailer clients, focusing on larger retailers with sizable product catalogs. Azoya has one U.S. client, Willner Chemists, a retailer of nutritional supplements based in New York City.Favorite