Alibaba is China’s biggest online commerce company that offers consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales.
Meet the Product: Royal Mail Tracked China Service
China represents a massive opportunity for Western retailers, but too often they are deterred by logistics and the difficulties of trading in China. To assist online sellers, a new Royal Mail Tracked China service has been introduced covering the whole of China with full in country tracking.
Royal Mail are also providing help to marketplace sellers of all sizes so we spoke to James Timberlake, Head of International Marketing and Communications at Royal Mail, to find out more about both services.
Royal Mail Tracked China Service
Tell us about the new Royal Mail Tracked China Service
We are really excited about the new Tracked & Signed service into China. It is a really affordable service with a maximum weight of up to 2kgs and prices starting from £8.65 online for one off purchases with further discounts available for Business Account customers higher volumes. We aim to deliver between 5 to 7 days after despatch and delivery in China is 7 days a week too. It includes full tracking events on China Post’s website or on RoyalMail.com. With £100 compensation included with the option to increase to £300 it offers lots of flexibility. The service is available on Click & Drop, other shipping tools and also via Post Office branches.
What makes this unique to other carriers Final Mile China Tracked Services?
It has all the attributes you would expect. Track you parcel online (China Post or Royal Mail.com) from collection through to delivery, email notifications keeping you informed of the progress of your item. The real win is the coverage. We partnered with China Post to deliver this tracked service. Their operation reaches the four corners of China for the same price, that is great value for a fully tracked service.
Who are you competing against?
Traditionally there have been few routes into China. You would get a tracked service if you pay for an Express service from one of the major couriers which often attract a surcharge for out of area destinations/ locations. Or you had to set up a logistics solution to build a supply chain into the country meaning that options for smaller businesses were limited. Until now.
Why is using China Post important?
As I said, coverage is the primary benefit, however as we are tapping straight into the China Post network we aim to deliver into Beijing in 3 days and they deliver 3 times a day in major cities, so the chances of your customer being at home are increased. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of the postman or woman either our parcels will be delivered with their regular mail by a familiar face delivering their normal post.
How do I access the tracked service to China
Really simply through all the channels we provide today. Click and Drop, other shipping platforms and Post Office.
You also support retailers on Tmall, how can you help here?
We know that entering a market like China can be very daunting especially with a different language and culture to understand. Royal Mail already has a well-established digital marketplace presence in China on Tmall, operated by Alibaba.
Royal Mail helps retailers to enter and grow their ecommerce business in China. Big UK brands like Waitrose and Tiptree are already benefitting from Royal Mail’s Tmall store and ecommerce solutions. Tmall is the most popular marketplace, with 78% of online shoppers saying they have made purchases there. UK retailers can take advantage of these marketplaces as an effective way to get products in front of millions of Chinese consumers without facing the challenges of cultural differences, translation or set-up costs.
What size and shape retailer is Tmall suitable for?
As you will probably know unlike marketplaces in this country the main Chinese marketplaces will assess how attractive your product is to the marketplace and decide if you are a good fit. In terms of size it is not really for those that are just starting out, but more for sellers who are running an established business and are looking to grow through exporting in new markets. We are keen to talk to marketplace sellers looking to sell in China of all sizes as there may be a newer service that we can provide leveraging our in country team.
Who do I speak to about Tmall
Please visit royalmail.com/chinaexport and complete the web form for more details.
The biggest issue with China has been address format / character sets.
Unlike say Russia, where Latin or Cyrillic characters will do, the orders I’ve had (and lost) previously from China have only ever been in Chinese characters; these have simply not been accepted at the PO counter.
Unsurprisingly I soon gave up trying to sell to China!
Is there any change to this situation with this new service?
going by the dire performance of royal mails UK based tracking… i have little faith in them with regards to China. It will proberly come up as delivered while still in transit over the ocean….
Will it be the same price as the Chinese pay to ship to the UK?
So many doubts..
1. Consistently poor RM tracking for international services
2. Terrible RM APIs (nobody uses XML in this decade!)
3. Far too expensive
4. Chinese customs
This just seems like a shot in the dark to me.
It’s great to see Royal Mail a 500 year old heritage brand being innovative and trying to help British small and medium size exporters into the world’s biggest marketplace.