China’s booming e-commerce sector is attracting businesses from all around the world via the world’s largest retailer: Alibaba. This case study shows how a family-owned business used BPS Technology’s Export Plus program to securely export its products to China and sell them via Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, 1688.com – creating market expansion.
BPS Technology is Bartercard’s ASX-listed parent company specialising in payment and rewards platforms linking SMEs and consumers globally.
What's Export Plus?
A full-service program designed to export and sell Australian products in China while tackling logistical hurdles like quality control, tariffs and taxes along the way. Bartercard’s ASX-listed parent company, BPS Technology, launched this start-up initiative in 2016.
China’s multi-billion dollar e-commerce sector is the largest in the world and constantly expanding across different categories.
But exporting isn't a piece of cake - In fact it's a complicated space, especially for first-timers.
Carving out a market in any new country involves hoops and logistical hurdles like quality control, tariffs, taxes, translation and labelling. Lack of direct support in China can waver trust, and all of these factors combined can completely deter a business from breaking out of its country.
Export Plus removes these logistical hurdles through the full-service support of trusted Australian and chinese industry partners, across every stage of the export process.
To show you how, we spoke to Morlife’s Export and Business Development Manager Cheryl Stewart, about what it takes to succeed at the world’s largest retailer via Export Plus.
Her company is a Gold Coast-based producer of functional superfoods packing maximum nutrition in every bite. Already having built a trusted brand around the world, China was the next step of expansion.
What markets do you currently sell in?
“We’ve built up stockists around Australia and overseas in the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand and USA. China was the next step, but it’s a vastly different market which has its own set of importing regulations and processes.”
What does exporting really take, and how did Export Plus fast-track it?
“Exporting traditionally takes time, money, persistence and patience. It’s important to travel to the region first to get a good understanding of the market, where the opportunities lie, who’s who in the zoo, packaging, price points and so on. Export Plus simplifies the process through direct, on-the-ground support in Australia and China. I still travelled to the destination, but had a constant point of support taking me through every step of the way – from customs, tariffs and taxes to packaging and market positioning. It was a steep but valuable learning curve!”
What exporting hurdles have you experienced and did Export Plus remove them?
“In the past I‘ve made exporting mistakes and refined and repeated processes. Exporting takes lot of persistence and having a trusted partner like Export Plus is invaluable. China has lengthy import product registrations which can take up 12 months to approve. Amongst a list of things, Export Plus connected us to 1688.com and let us export through the e-commerce channels where the export rules and regulations are a little more flexible.”
What was the lengthiest part of the process?
“We spent a lot of time slightly altering our Australian marketing product pitches for the Chinese market and their demographics. Our top sellers in Australia aren’t necessarily the right fit for Asia because markets vary so much. For instance our fortified herbal tea bags sell well in Australia but not as well in China, and we are still trialling and testing. We’ve also spent a lot of time showcasing Morlife’s point of difference to this new market – mostly through a customised Chinese website and on 1688.com, where you can have listings featured front and centre to really get cut-through and exposure.”
What's your expected growth?
“We are currently doubling the size of our Gold Coast-based facility to cater for growth in the local and international markets. We’re striving to double our export sales in the next financial year.”
What products have especially worked in the Chinese market?
Morlife’s signature product ‘Alkalising Greens’ is a superfood powder which sells well in all markets because it works to nourish on so many levels. Consumers all want more energy and improved health, regardless of where they live.”
Want to sell products in China via Alibaba’s cash e-commerce platform 1688.com? We’re looking for Australian businesses in health and wellness, food and beverage, specialist apparel, agricultural products, technology, agriculture, education, travel and real estate. Visit bartercard.com.au/exportplus to find out more and express your interest.
For more business tips, visit blog.bartercard.com.au