Suning sets the date: 11.11 debut for US store
Updated: 2014-10-28 11:39
By Lian Zi in San Francisco(China Daily USA)
To satisfy a growing demand for Western brands, Suning, one of China's largest e-commerce giants, will launch the USA Overseas Shopping Flagship Store on Nov 11, for the "11.11" shopping festival, to bring US merchants and products to Chinese customers.
Abel Wang, general manager of Suning R&D center USA, confirmed the plan in an exclusive interview with China Daily on Monday.
The launching of the USA Overseas Shopping Store (usa.suning.com) is in line with Suning's global e-commerce program, said Wang.
He said that the company will continue its global business expansion by launching more overseas online stores, such as in Europe.
"To choose Nov 11 as our launching date, it doesn't mean that we want to declare 'war' with Alibaba," said Wang.
Nov 11, or 11.11, was called Singles Day because of the number of ones in the date. E-tailers offer discounts on that day to persuade people who are single to console themselves with online shopping.
The festival has already been one of China's and perhaps the world's largest shopping extravaganzas. It was created four years ago by Alibaba, Wang said.
Consumers who purchase products worth more than 200 yuan ($32) could enjoy the free international shipping services from Nov 11 to the end of December, said Li Xishang, deputy general manager of the Suning R&D center in the US.
Suning will offer door-to-door delivery in China through Shunfeng Express, said Li. Customers could get products in seven to 10 days after ordering online.
Many Chinese consumers use online purchasing agents to buy products from foreign websites but are wary of international shipping fees and can't track their shipping information clearly, said Li.
"By collaborating with Shunfeng Express, consumers could have details about shipping information, including estimates of when their orders will arrive," said Li.
Suning will insist on its O2O (offline-to-online) business model for the US site. The company will provide customers high-quality products, accompanied by diligent customer service, said Wang.
"Customers who purchase online could return their products to the closest Suning off-line stores, except for foods," said Li.
Merchants partnered with Suning in the US include global brands in the baby care, cosmetics and health products industries, such as Similac, Enfamil, Earth's Best, Burt's Bees, Maybelline and Revlon, said Yu Haixia, the US store's project manager.
Suning's purchasing team in the US also chose several US brands, such as Vitamin Shoppe, Yu said.
Suning also will help US merchants brand themselves in Chinese markets without going into China, said Li.
"Chinese consumers are increasingly shopping internationally over the Internet, and the new battle in the cross-border e-commerce realm was just launched," Li said.
According to a Suning survey, China's cross-border e-commerce sales will grow by more than 100 percent next year.
In October, Alipay, China's largest e-payment provider, launched ePass, a new e-tool that allows US merchants to sell and deliver products directly to Chinese consumers without translating their websites or setting up warehouses in China.
Costco Wholesale Corp also entered the Chinese mainland without a store. It will sell food and household items to Chinese consumers on TMall, Alibaba's business-to-consumer portal.
In August, US e-commerce giant Amazon announced it would set up operations in Shanghai's free-trade zone and signed an agreement to give Chinese customers access to products from its global supply chain.
Jonathan Li, CEO of Vibin, said the Chinese consumers have an insatiable appetite for overseas products, especially those from the US. Products bought directly overseas could be cheaper and safer because US consumer protection law is stricter.
"The fact that there is such a strong demand for US and foreign goods, e-commerce players would be foolish to miss this chance," he said.
The surge of cross-border e-commerce services could provide Chinese buyers more choices when buying products online.
(China Daily USA 10/28/2014 page2)