A new mindset

In the build up to the 2019 World Post & Parcel Awards, we take a look back at some of our previous winners and look at what winning at the Awards has meant to them and their businesses. In this post we talk to Carlos Suárez and Carlos Rodriguez, heads of the TMall Store project at Correos, which won the Cross Border Growth Category in 2018.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 edition of the Mail & Express Review Magazine. Subscribe to MER for free today.

Cross border ecommerce is growing at a rapid pace. According to IPC´s Cross-Border Ecommerce Shopper Survey 2017, 70% of total parcels in this market were delivered by postal operators.

In order to access this market, in 2016 Spanish post and parcel operator Correos came up with the idea of Tmall Store – which provides a window to China for Spanish small and medium enterprises. This June Correos won the cross border category at the World Post & Parcel Awards 2018, recognising the success of its concept.

Carlos Suárez and Carlos Rodriguez, heads of TMall Store project at Correos tell Mail & Express Review about the obstacles the company overcame in establishing the Store, the experience the company has gained and how Correos has reduced the cost of reaching consumers overseas, simplified the export/import process and brought original and authentic Spanish brands to the Chinese consumer.

“Correos Tmall Store enables Spanish companies to reach the Chinese consumer without the need to have a physical presence in the country, all through a B2C cross-border e-commerce platform in China.

China was one of the first countries in developing a specific platform for cross-border ecommerce (Aliexpress). Nowadays, outbound parcels from China accounts for more than 30% of the global cross-border ecommerce traffic. Likewise, it has been one of the first countries in developing several platforms for inbound parcels coming from overseas. The Chinese government has promoted this form of trade issuing a specific regulation for cross-border ecommerce, which allows certain types of products to enter the country through a more flexible import regime.

For Correos, it was necessary to adapt its mindset from a logistics company towards an online seller, facing the technological, legal, financial and commercial challenges of setting up a store with a backend connecting Chinese consumers with companies across Spain.

As for the Chinese market, the most difficult part was to acknowledge that the Chinese ecommerce landscape is much more developed than the Spanish, and even the European markets. Therefore, the Chinese consumer is much more demanding in terms of logistics, taxes and commercial guarantees.

Apart from the demands of an excellent service, the market for imported goods in China is very competitive, the marketing investment required for highlighting the products of our clients in the platform is rather high and has to be monitored in a daily basis. Although Correos had experience in this field, through our marketing solutions, this was a completely new set of tools and strategies, which had to be adapted to the Chinese consumer.

To this date, cross-border ecommerce in China exhibits the most advanced platforms, technologies and regulations in the world, a landscape that is allowing Correos to learn how this market is going to be in a few years in Western countries.

Thanks to this project we have gained a very useful experience on how retail businesses work, especially in the cross-border ecommerce market. In addition, we have learnt how to manage large digital marketing campaigns in ecommerce platforms, aiming at Social Networks, paid ads, online media and cooperating with influencers to reach the Chinese consumer efficiently.

On the logistic side, we have been constantly improving our processes in order to lower the lead time, given the tight transits demanded by Chinese consumers. Also, we have gained experience in dealing with export and import formalities and simplifying the process in order to reduce the cost and the time involved. 

Selling to China through cross-border ecommerce requires a very different perspective than selling to a local/European market. Not all companies have the resources and the products to sell in China and not all categories are demanded by the Chinese consumer. First of all, we carry out a first filter in order to analyse the potential of the company and its products, if it is successful, along with our partner in China, we recommend a selection of products, pricing, packaging advice (which is very important for the Chinese consumer and the international logistic process) and an annual marketing plan. In addition, we communicate with our clients on a daily basis in order to optimize sales and reduce incidents.

It has been a great honour to been recognised by the World Post and Parcel Award´s panel. We believe postal operators are essential for a cross-border e-commerce development, especially among SMEs. For us, working on Correos T-Mall Store has been a very challenging and fruitful experience, setting up a system for connecting companies across Spain to customers everywhere in China. We find it valuable as one small step further for Correos in its business process transformation.”

Entries for the World Post & Parcel Awards 2019 open from 3 December 2018. If you have been inspired by Correos’ story, why not enter your organisation for the Awards in 2019? Visit www.wppawards.com and share your success in mail and express!

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