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Alibaba passes the torch to its counterpart      Alibaba.com passed her torch to her India counterpart as part of its global expansion plan. The international B2B marketplace struck a deal with  Informedia India Limited yesterday to form a multi-year partnership after 6-month on-and-off discussion.

The partnership will bring mutual benefit to both parties.Alibaba.com is expected to take 600,000 offline memberleads online and turn them to be paid members. While Informedia India Limited  can take advantage of Alibaba’s strong online capability to build up online presence in India.

Alibaba.com made her first move by setting up an India channel  late last year. The Open Sesame event in India was hosted on 14 December with 300,000 registered users. In her press release issued yesterday, Alibaba.com now has 400,000 members in India.

India has more than 8 million SMEs, which account for almost 40 per cent of India’s industrial output and employ around 30 million people. It is estimated that 3 million SMEs are engaged in B2B trade and around 1 million are in the export business. 

For full story, visit  Alibaba.com and Infomedia Form Strategic Partnership in India

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Chinese exporters may feel the pinch by experiencing a sluggish trading atmosphere in the 103rd Canton Fair Yet, it may also be the right moment for them to rethink of their online marketing strategy. 

Tough year for exporters at 103rd Canton Fair!

From what we’ve seen in the last session of Canton Fair, we found not as many buyers from the U.S. and the European countries as it used to be. Instead we’ve seen Indians, Pakistans and some other South Americans seeking for bargains.

The show has so far secured 128,155 foreign buyers in attendance,  a 5.8 percent decrease than the last spring fair. The number of US importers slipped 23.3 percent and those France, Germany fell 11.8 and 9.5 percent, respectively. 

Time to map out a new online marketing strategy

B2B partner

Some sophisiticated suppliers admitted that they should look for additional channels to promote their products other than using offline promotion in trade shows. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a collection of B2B marketplaces springing up in the China territory, which help removing hurdles in global trade by taking advantage of online community and trading platforms.

To use an analogy, the situation the Chinese exporters are now facing is like a glass filled with half water. You can tell it’s half empty permissively  or you can be positive enough to say there’s still another half need to be refilled. It’s a matter of how you think.

Stronger yuan and weaker world market soften the export growth 

Besiegned with the rising yuan and unfolding credit crisis in the U.S., it’s widely expected that there’s a slowdown of purchasing orders and buyers’ turn-out rate in the trade fair.

China’s exports to the United States rose just 5.4 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year.

Exports to the European Union, which overtook the United States last year as China’s biggest trading partner, rose 24.2 percent in the first quarter, while shipments to Vietnam, Brazil and Russia leaped by 89.5 percent, 77.6 percent and 51.6 percent, respectively.

“External demand from Western countries, including the United States, Britain and Europe, is very sluggish, which does not support such a fast rise in export growth,” said Zhao Qingming, an economist at China Construction Bank in Beijing.

Early in April, the World Bank cut its 2008 forecast for China by 0.2 percentage points to 9.4 percent — its second reduction in as many months. The Asian Development Bank also lowered its 2008 forecast for China’s economic growth to 10 percent from 10.8 percent.

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In our last post, we talked about products are the content as well as the focus of buyers searching for in suppliers’ websites. It’s the key component that allures them coming back. Buyers will simply abandon a site for another supplier’s website not because of the price differences but for incomplete product information.

A research done by e-tailing group inc reveals that 52% of shoppers spend 6 minutes or more on a product page. The information they are looking for include

  • Product overview
  • Merchant’s guarantee
  • Stock status
  • Image quality

They also provide tips to help increase conversions:

  1. Provide easy access to products through search engine optimization and guided navigation
  2. Categorize and segment content for accuracy
  3. Create content to set your site apart from others
  4. Use visuals such as video and virtual modeling
  5. Allow customers to generate content for the site

Take note if your are running a supplier’s website.

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What’s the first thing that will come across your mind when it comes down to search in the sourcing world? Most users will essentially look for “products”.

Alibaba.com’s latest move to swap the products and selling leads tabs in the search box will make some differences. It helps users to find suppliers’ products more easily. Users don’t need to press on the Product tab in order to start searching. With that changes, they don’t need to think – a move to echo with Steve Krug’s ultimate rule – “Don’t make me think!”.

Product tab

To suppliers, they should be proud of having a flurry of their own products marching across their websites or the B2B trading platform. In fact, the more exposure their products get in the marketplace, the more likely they get business.

What’s the differences between selling leads and products? According to Alibaba.com, they are the same except one thing: product posting does not have a limited lifespan. Selling leads will expire and be removed from search result pages.

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While sending product information to buyers, most buyers would like to acquire the following to review the feasibility of doing business with suppliers

  • Product Name
  • FOB Price & Location
  • Minimum Order Quantity
  • Stock Quantity
  • Payment and Shipping terms

In a recent campaign hosted by Alibaba.com, suppliers who fall under the categories of Apparel, Consumer Electronics, Gifts & Toys and Textile are invited to showcase their products in the B2B trading platform.

The “SuperDeals” promotion takes place during the period of 13-30th April, 2008.  The initiative can be completed in 2 steps:

  1. Display products with appropriate information and
  2. Send Alibaba.com the product URL.

Selected suppliers will be announced on 24th April and 7th May, 2008 in  Alibaba.com’s forum. For more information, suppliers can visit their landing page.

 Alibaba.com SuperDeals promotion

 

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