China is famous for its diversified e-commerce arena: the range of websites available to consumers for online purchase is extensive. In order to satisfy and to adapt to today’s 630 million Internet users, the online offer has slowly changed.
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According to ATKearney, the Chinese e-commerce market in 2013 was dominated by the C2C industry (mainly because of Taobao) but it slowly changed with an increasing market share for B2C platforms.
Another trend is gaining ground: from a C2C-oriented e-commerce market to a more balanced one between C2C and B2C offers, we can now say that more and more consumers turn to cross-border websites. From customer owned products to brand products, consumers are nowadays even more precise as they want foreign brand products.
Cross-border e-commerce platforms are already numerous, and we will talk about one in particular here: Ymatou.
Who is Ymatou?
Ymatou was founded in 2009, it is a cross-border e-commerce platform for C2C and B2C products. The latter are mainly high quality products … which attract a lot of customers: it is one the most popular cross-bording websites in China. The website declares recording at least 10,000 orders every day and having more than a million users. It reached a record on 2013 Thanksgiving: its Super Sale led to 20,000 orders.
Apart from its headquarters in Shanghai, the firm also has offices in the United States, Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. In order to manage the logistics part, the company has established xLobo Global Express. It is a company independent from Ymatou; it is in charge of customs and delivery clearance with logistics centers in Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia. This company also collaborates with Ymatou’s competitors, like JD.com.
The website is successful so far and has been through several rounds of funding: in 2010 it received 5 million yuan from angel investment, in 2010 10 million dollars from Series A financing and 100 million dollars of Series B funding in 2015. The latter investment seems to be the largest one in the overseas shopping field in China.
Among Ymatou’s latest news: on November 2015, the company claimed to plan a cooperation with Paypal. This project comes as Ymatou wants to provide a better user experience for both foreign retailers and Chinese consumers.
Angela baby Brand ambassador of Ymatou
A closer look at Ymatou’s website
Ymatou website looks just like any other e-commerce website: the design is very similar to what you would find on other platforms, with a scrolling banner and product categories on the left.
Looking at these product categories, you will see which products are featured on the site: baby products, beauty products, nutrition, clothes, shoes and bags. The order in which these are organised is not random: baby products are indeed the most popular products on cross-border e-platforms, closely followed by beauty products.
The site structure is very clear and you can easily and quickly find what you need. Here on this example, beauty products are organised in sub categories. Besides, since the purpose of cross-border shopping is to purchase foreign brands, you will always find links to popular brands: here on the right of the menu (Estée Lauder, Clinique, Lancôme and Origins obviously appear here), but also in the search examples.
In Ymatou results page, apart from usual information such as product name, brand and price, you will also find a little flag indicating the country it comes from: a useful tool for those consumers who are looking for something specific.
Also, like on any Chinese e-commerce platform, product descriptions are lengthy: you will find way more information than you would on a European e-commerce website. While the latter will only feature a few lines, Ymatou shows detailed product information, pictures and guidelines on how to use it.
When buying the product, you will have to create an account or use an existing one. Both Alipay and Union Pay payment systems are available.
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