Key Takeaways: 

  • Tmall Global is a specialized variant of traditional Tmall, with pros and cons
  • Inventory is stored offshore and transactions occur offshore
  • May be a better fit for some businesses, but is not a perfect solution
Last week we took an insider look at Tmall. This week we will continue the discussion by exploring Tmall Global

Tmall Global was launched in 2013 as a variant of Alibaba’s popular Tmall marketplace. In many ways Tmall and Tmall Global are the same, especially from the consumer’s perspective. Aesthetically and functionally, stores listed on Tmall and Tmall Global are very similar. Stores on both platforms require Chinese-language customer service teams for pre-sale inquiries and returns/refunds management. Products listed in Tmall Global will show up in searches in Tmall. Both stores accept the same payment mechanisms such as Alipay (Alibaba’s equivalent of Paypal).

An example of a Tmall Global store
An example of a Tmall Global store

However, there are some key differences between the two platforms. First, Tmall Global orders are fulfilled from offshore, whereas regular Tmall orders are fulfilled on-shore.  This means Tmall Global orders can be filled from a warehouse in the U.S., Australia, or any market, including Hong Kong or the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

As a result, fulfillment costs are higher and delivery time is longer with Tmall Global. Shipping from a regular Tmall store might only take 1-2 days, whereas ordering from a Tmall Global store could easily take two weeks.

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of Tmall Global?

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 2.15.57 PMInventory management is easier for companies, as orders can be filled from existing warehouses/fulfillment centers. Additionally, companies are able to avoid regulatory issues that might have otherwise prevented market entry.  On the downside, each order has extra delivery time and cost attached to it.  This could contribute to reduced consumer confidence and demand.

 Next post, we will discuss Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform and some of the key differences between it and the standard Tmall model.