Royal Mail launches shop front on Alibaba’s Tmall Global e-marketplace

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Royal Mail announced today that it is joining the Chinese e-commerce boom with the launch of its shop front on Alibaba’s Tmall Global e-marketplace, providing Chinese consumers with increased access to premium, authentic and high quality British products.

Royal Mail Group chief executive officer Moya Greene unveiled the new initiative at the GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai, China.

The solution will offer British retailers and exporters an accelerated opportunity to access the China market. It will remove the challenges that many companies would otherwise face in getting their products into the hands of Chinese consumers, including promotion on Chinese e-commerce sites, local customer support service, customs duties, documentation, shipping and logistics.

For China’s 302m online shoppers, Royal Mail’s new shop front on Tmall Global will offer a selection of distinctive products for purchase by renowned British brands including Brompton Bicycles, with delivery to the doorstep. The platform is expected to go live towards the end of March.

Greene, said: “Royal Mail’s new shop front will help support British retailers and exporters expanding into the China market, fulfilling the strong demand of Chinese consumers for authentic, high quality British goods.

“Online shopping, and the connection it facilitates between retailers and consumers is a key channel to develop sustainable trade between China and Britain and we are excited at the prospect of offering UK companies a new and streamlined way to increase the accessibility of their products to Chinese consumers.”

Brompton CEO, Will Butler-Adams, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to sell a range of Brompton Bicycles on Royal Mail’s new Tmall Global Storefront, which will provide easy access into the China market and a direct connection with Chinese consumers.”

China is the largest economy by purchasing power parity and the biggest internet user base in the world. Online shopping has grown exponentially in China, with e-retail sales increasing by 42% in 2013 to $305.2bn. Almost half of the country’s internet users – approximately 302m people – purchase goods online, with 75% of online shoppers in China buying products every week. Online shopping now accounts for just over 10% of total retail sales of consumer goods in China, with the overwhelming majority of these online purchases being made through e-marketplaces, like Tmall and Taobao.

The rapid growth in online shopping has also mirrored the increased demand from Chinese consumers for authentic, high quality goods. Chinese consumers represent almost one third of the global market for personal luxury goods and spend three times more abroad on high quality, designer goods than they spend locally. There are also rising concerns in China over authenticity and safety of goods, with the ongoing issue of fake items being sold within the country. Together, these factors have helped boost dramatically the appetite for brands and products sourced from British suppliers. China is now the biggest overseas consumer of British products online, accounting for 25 per cent of overseas online shoppers purchasing goods from the UK.

Greene announced the launch of Royal Mail’s TMall Global shop front at the GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai, a UK Government-led initiative to showcase the innovative and creative edge that British businesses bring to markets across the globe. The company is also celebrating the event with a special postmark, which will appear on items delivered to addresses nationwide from 2 March to 4 March 2015.