In-depth: JD Worldwide - Connecting Chinese Customers to the World’s Top Brands

In-depth: JD Worldwide - Connecting Chinese Customers to the World’s Top Brands

by Vivian Yang

For many Chinese customers, direct shopping for overseas products from foreign online platforms or Daigou (a.k.a. overseas purchasing agents) poses a number of risks, including lack of source control, untraceable shipment process, payment difficulties, and lack of after-sales services, etc. To tackle these issues upfront, JD Worldwide, JD.com’s e-commerce platform for imported products, launched five years ago.

As of today, JD Worldwide has become the most recognized and trustworthy e-commerce platform for imported products in China, bringing tens of millions of SKUs from more than 20,000 international brands in 100 countries and regions to Chinese customers. This allows them to shop globally with ease and convenience. In addition, JD Worldwide serves as an effective platform to connect international merchants with no local physical presence to access the Chinese market. JD Worldwide targets well-known overseas brands, brand agents, and well-known retailers and B2C websites that have not yet entered the Chinese market in the following categories: maternal & child, health, food, clothing, handbag accessories, and cosmetics.

According to company data, beauty, maternal & child and health supplements are the most popular imported categories for JD Worldwide’s consumers. Products from the U.S., Japan and Australia were the top three best-selling origin countries in 2019, and Aptamil, Mead Johnson, Schiff, Swisse, and Shiseido were among the best-selling brands. Top-ranked supermarket brands are also featured on JD Worldwide for Chinese customers, including Walmart, Rakuten, 24Shopping, Woolworths, Attent, Mannings, and Isetan.

What makes JD Worldwide different from other cross-border platforms?How can the platform ensure authenticity and deliver services? And will COVID-19 affect imported product supply in the coming months? Here are some key factors to consider:

 

Global buyers –guardians for quality

Mark is a snack buyer at JD Worldwide. His desk is always filled with snacks from around the world, dubbed as one of the most food-rich places in JD headquarters, only second to the company’s cafeteria, which spans five floors.

“For every single product, its selling points need to be convincing enough for our buyers so that we can recommend it to our customers. We only want high-quality products, and it is our responsibility to ensure strict quality control,” said Mark.

Like Mark, JD Worldwide buyers are composed of veteran industry experts who have a deep understanding of the market. They understand the supply chain in other countries, the pricing, and marketing techniques. They use this knowledge to find the best products at the most competitive price.

JD Worldwide buyers always need to identify the most suitable foreign products to meet Chinese customers’ demand. This is done by analyzing JD’s big data dashboard, which includes customer feedback on different products.

David, a buyer for personal care products, mentioned the Dyson hairdryer as an example of what JD Worldwide can offer: The product types, designs, and colors vary in different markets.

“Through a cross-border market, we can present many more options from the U.S., Europe, and Australia to Chinese customers,” said David. “We are also looking out for innovative products, such as new types of electronic toothbrushes, water flossers, massage devices, etc. We always test these new products ourselves and write an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses before launching them online.”

Global snack products buyer Mark at his desk, photo source

 

Valued-added services – a worry-free shopping experience

After earning the endorsement of experienced buyers, most of JD Worldwide’s products are imported via the B2C business model. In cross-border commerce, this means all imported products will go through bonded warehouses under the scrutiny of Customs officials and JD’s quality control inspectors, ensuring all the product details are accurate and in line with import regulations.

Using JD’s blockchain technology, JD Worldwide works with brand partners to show every step of the product’s journey to the end-user, ensuring customers are confident about transparency and quality control when they make a purchase. In addition, products are chosen at random for additional testing by independent parties, adding another layer of quality control. JD Worldwide has zero tolerance for counterfeit products and levy significant fines for those in violation of its standards.

At the same time, JD Worldwide offers a worry-free shopping experience, including a dedicated online consultation service, to guide customers through the process. For instance, its buying team prepares guides for electronics that include information about voltage and adapters so that JD Worldwide’s customer service staff can quickly assist customers.

In case customers need to return products for various reasons, pick-up services and a timely refund can be arranged. Our after-sale service makes customers more comfortable with shopping for products that are imported from overseas.

 

Impact of COVID-19 – guaranteeing global supply chain in uncertain times

In the short term, the import business will continue to be affected by COVID-19. A disruption in manufacturing capacity could result in a shortage of certain inventory in the coming months. There will also be an effect on introducing new brands to customers since trade shows have been cancelled and face-to-face meetings are harder to arrange. Transportation logistics have also presented a challenge as sea freight and air cargo costs keep rising, and countries have implemented border restrictions.

To ensure the stability of the supply chain, since the outbreak of COVID-19, JD Worldwide has been active in coordinating global supply chain efforts and strengthening collaboration with traders to ensure product replenishment. On the platform merchants side, JD continues to provide supportive resources to help them overcome challenges. In this process, more merchants saw the value of JD’s logistics solutions including its overseas warehouses, which are currently available in Tokyo, Osaka, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Incheon, Melbourne, London and Jakarta, as well as its fast order fulfillment ability in partnership with international logistics companies such as KUEHNE+NAGEL, Agility, APEX, PANTOS and its proprietary nationwide logistics network.

In the longer run, Chinese customers are revitalizing the need of imported goods. Quality continues to be the top priority customers considered when purchasing imported goods. Meanwhile, novel products are now gaining popularity. In 2020, JD Worldwide aims to create 1,000 new hot sellers. To achieve this, it has accelerated brand recruiting via online channels. For example, since March, JD Worldwide has collaborated with the Korean International Trade Association (KITA) to host online business development conferences twice per month. As of now, the growth rate of international brand recruiting maintains the same level as last year, whereas sales of new brands have increased by 40% compared with the same period last year.

JD Worldwide’s first Korean brands online recruiting event in March 2020

 

Shift to online shopping – more selections, lower costs and greater network

Compared with offline stores for imported products, JD Worldwide is much less affected by COVID-19. In fact, driven by monthly sales events during the epidemic period, such as the Imported Products Day on the 15th of each month, the number of orders in the first quarter has increased by nearly 100% in total, and growth of over 50 secondary products categories was up over 100%. On Women’s Day in March, sales growth was close to 150%, which almost beat the results from the Singles’ Day (November 11th ) shopping festival.

Since there is no limit to shelf space for e-commerce platforms, customers can find more product selections and more merchant choices from JD Worldwide for global products. Thanks to its B2C model in large scale, customers can also enjoy more competitive prices and discounts through the platform.

Fast delivery is key to the shopping experience. It only takes one minute for JD Worldwide products to finish the digital process of customs clearance. Not to mention, JD has an unparalleled nationwide logistics network, which ensures that orders from JD Worldwide are delivered to customers at their doorsteps within 1-2 days. Same-day or next-day delivery has been achieved in 159 Chinese cities, while two-day delivery is standard for the rest of the country. As a result, JD Worldwide has become the go-to place for more and more Chinese customers to buy global products in these travel-limited circumstances.

On the first day of this year’s 618 grand promotion event, sales, user numbers, and PLUS membership numbers from JD Worldwide all achieved a year-on-year increase of over 300%. In terms of categories, alcohol, home furnishing, toys and musical instruments, suitcases and leatherwear, footwear, and digital products on JD Worldwide all saw over 300% growth. In terms of origin countries, sales of products from 22 countries doubled compared to the same period last year.  Sales of products from niche markets such as Chile, Poland, Israel, and Monaco increased by more than 500%.

 

(vivian.yang@jd.com)

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