Pattern research shows top Western brands excel at meeting Chinese customers’ expectations on cross-border marketplace Tmall Global

OutReach – 27 January 2022 – Global marketplace accelerator Pattern
has analysed 40 consumer brands selling on Tmall Global, the cross-border
platform of China’s largest online marketplace, to understand and create
benchmarks for best practice on the platform. The analysis has been published
in the company’s Tmall Global Benchmarking Report that is available for free

The report highlights how top brands in three
key product categories – Baby, Beauty, and Vitamins & Supplements – are
managing the customer experience delivered on Tmall Global to maximise sales of
their products and delight Chinese consumers.

Two brands
tied for the top-performing position in the benchmarking ranking, namely Jellycat
(Baby) and OUAI Haircare (Beauty), both with a remarkable score of 90.8%. The
results highlight how brands selling on Tmall’s cross-border platform must work
hard to utilise the features and functionality of the platform to meet the
expectations of sophisticated Chinese online shoppers.

Global owner Alibaba says that there are 100 million active shoppers on the
and it has a fast-growing cohort of younger Generation Z shoppers which
provides a huge opportunity for Western brands to sell cross-border.

The brands were assessed against a set of criteria
that measures how well their Tmall Global flagship store and top three listings
performed, including product information, product imagery, branded content, seller
proposition & customer service, and brand awareness.

Beauty was
the top-performing category averaging a score of 79.7% of the possible marks, while
the Baby (77.3%) and Vitamins
& Supplements (75.9%)
categories closely followed.

14 brands achieved the top five scoring
positions, with 83% or higher. They were: Jellycat, OUAI Haircare (90.8%); Jamieson
(86.7%); ISDIN, Obagi (85.8%); PhD, StriVectin, Swanson (84.2%); Augustinus
Bader, Dr. Dennis Gross, Mederma, OLAPLEX, Pixi Beauty, and Replenix (83.3%).

sees this result as a testament to Western
brands being very capable of achieving a strong presence on Tmall Global by
adapting to local customers’ requirements and behaviour. However, the scorecard
analysis shows that even brands with a relatively strong presence on Tmall
Global can improve their sales performance further with minor changes.

Below are highlights from the report:

  • Off-platform marketing: The assessed brands had the most varied performance in building brand
    awareness, each brand’s presence on top social platforms in China was reviewed. Brands can’t rely on on-platform marketing alone to acquire
    customers, as a strong presence on social channels is critical. While the
    majority of the brands had accounts on the key social platforms in China, they
    could do more to increase their followers, leveraging social channels to
    complement their marketing on Tmall.
  • Customer service: According to our analysis of the Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score
    for each brand’s flagship store, the quality of customer services is the
    weakest link, compared with the accuracy of product information and delivery
    proposition. Only 10%
    of the brands had their customer service agents replying to all written
    comments on the listings we evaluated. Brands scored much better on another key
    customer service criteria, with 92.5% of brands replying to Live Chat questions
    from customers within just 30 seconds.
  • FAQs as content: Once customers find your product listings pages it’s crucial the
    information there converts them to buyers. A Frequently Asked Questions section
    can help to build confidence and trust from existing and future customers of
    the brand, but only 32.5% of brands had such a section for all of their
    products we reviewed.
  • Video: Most of the brands did well in creating localised imaginary for
    their products, but only two-thirds of them provided video thumbnails to show
    that a product video was available. Product videos help products stand out as
    they educate and entertain consumers, demonstrate the product in use and answer
    consumers’ product questions.
  • SEO: There was clear room for improvement on product titles,
    particularly their length, as just 45% of the brands achieved best practices
    for all their products reviewed. Maximising keywords used in product titles is
    crucial to appear in search results and help new potential customers find your
    products when they may not search directly for your brand.

“Tmall Global
is a marketplace with abundant opportunities but also stiff competition. To
thrive there, western brands need to excel in varying aspects; from product
content to brand awareness, from customer services to shipping timeframes.
Pattern recommends consumer brands take a data-driven approach to trading on
Tmall, leveraging insight to support strategic and tactical decision-making at
every stage of their Tmall journey.” said Pattern’s General
Manager, Asia, Arthur Cheung

You can download the full report here:


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