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Douyin EC Global: Your Key to Prosperity in the New Era of Cross-Border E-Commerce

Douyin EC Global: Your Key to Prosperity in the New Era of Cross-Border E-Commerce

March 22, 2024
9 mins read

Ten years after the first wave of global brands joining traditional e-commerce platforms in China, Douyin EC Global is now assisting brands to succeed again in the new era of omni-channel and interest-based e-commerce.

The Chinese cross-border e-commerce market has undergone a profound transformation since the initial influx of global brands a decade ago. This includes the rise of video-based entertainment apps and seismic changes in how Chinese consumers discover and purchase products online.

Despite these shifts, China’s cross-border e-commerce industry remains vibrant and is continuing to grow, providing fresh opportunities for brands that embrace interest-based and omni-channel e-commerce as part of their China e-commerce strategy.

China’s cross-border e-commerce market shows no signs of slowing down

China’s cross-border market is growing rapidly, with the volume of e-commerce imports growing almost 10-fold since 2017, according to a recent whitepaper published by Deloitte and Douyin EC Global.

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Reflecting the ongoing surge in e-commerce imports, the penetration rate of cross-border e-commerce users in China has expanded from 12% to 20%, with significant room for further growth.

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With deeper penetration of China’s massive consumer base and the implementation of favorable government policies and improvements in supporting cross-border infrastructure, Douyin EC Global and Deloitte expect strong growth to continue, with the overall market set to double over the next three years.

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To both support sustainable growth and unleash the industry’s full potential, the Chinese Government will enact a series of ongoing stimulus policies and optimize regulations in relation to taxation, import lists, free trade zones, as well as payment and order settlement.

Content consumption drives cross-border e-commerce

Following the widespread adoption of smartphones and social media in China, social apps have become the primary channel to discover, understand, and cultivate user interest in cross-border shopping.

Among cross-border e-commerce consumers, approximately 53% are considered to be power users, spending an average of over 3 hours on social media each day.

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In relation to social content, both power users and general users prefer and value high-quality and authentic content when learning about products and brands, while influencers’ explanations can help to enhance trust and sway purchasing decisions.

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Omni-channel e-commerce combines with interest-based e-commerce to unleash sales

As consumers in China transition from the traditional ‘search to buy’ approach to the new ‘watch and buy’ approach, livestreams and short videos are now the most attractive content format for consumers. These two channels not only inform their purchasing decisions but also create the foundation for omni-channel e-commerce on platforms like Douyin.

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Omni-channel e-commerce refers to an online retail approach to providing customers with a seamless and integrated shopping experience across various channels and devices.

On Douyin, for example, users can browse and discover video and live content related to imported products and then follow links on the app to purchase those products directly on the platform. Through watching livestreams, searching for products, and ordering, users experience one-stop shopping that takes them from attraction to purchase, establishing new consumption patterns.

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Social entertainment apps like Douyin also cater to users’ existing shopping demand with more traditional product-based mall scenarios, allowing in-app searches to facilitate easy purchasing. On Douyin, for example, there are over 400 million product searches on the app each day.

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As an interest-based platform, Douyin’s recommendation algorithm also helps to match consumers with content and products that fit their interests and viewing habits.

Thus, rather than users directly looking for products, products now attract users, with interest-based content feeds igniting users’ latent interests and facilitating transactions via creator content and checkout links.

Overcoming the cold-start problem with Douyin Global EC

For global brands, launching products on a new e-commerce site in a highly competitive market like China can be challenging, especially for emerging brands.

Known as the cold-start, navigating this initial phase and leading customers through the four stages of awareness, acknowledgment, recognition, and willingness to buy can be a slow path to growth on traditional e-commerce platforms.

The rise of omni-channel and interest-based e-commerce, however, offers an alternative and faster path for global brands to reach their target audience and drive explosive sales.

To enable brands to take advantage of this new e-commerce model, Douyin has launched its own e-commerce arm known as Douyin E-commerce, and a special unit for global cross-border sellers called Douyin EC Global.

Since launching in 2021, Douyin EC Global’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) has achieved rapid growth, becoming a leading destination for cross-border shopping in China.

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The number of global brands operating on Douyin EC Global has grown rapidly during this time and across a variety of popular categories, including those listed in the following four quadrants.

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To assist global brands, Douyin EC Global offers access to a variety of unique marketing and e-commerce solutions.

From holiday marketing events and seamless cross-border logistics to leveraging influential KOL resources and ensuring authenticity guarantees, we’ll delve into these four offerings in the upcoming sections.

Strict requirements and guarantees are key to maintaining customer trust

Douyin EC Global employs various strategies to cultivate a trustworthy image for the platform, ensuring that consumers can confidently purchase authentic imported goods.

These measures encompass full traceability, stringent standards, labeling, vendor endorsements, and compensation for counterfeit products.

  1. Full traceability and strict supervision

Brands can enhance the transparency of their products with a “traceability code,” uniquely assigned to each item. This code meticulously captures the lifecycle details, encompassing trade, logistics, and customs clearance. This meticulous tracking ensures authenticity, reliability, and a clear trail from source to destination.

  1. Stringent requirements

To become part of Douyin EC Global, brands need to secure brand authorization, receive a direct invitation from Douyin, and make an initial deposit of at least CNY 50,000.

  1. Labeling

Labeling authentic products with labels such as “Global Shopping Selected” dramatically strengthens recognition, helping merchants overcome a cold start and enabling them to achieve explosive sales growth.

  1. Vendor endorsements

The platform’s self-operated business team strictly examines the enterprise’s background, qualifications and reputation, and selects suppliers with excellent credit to purchase directly from overseas. Most products are shipped directly from duty-free warehouses to enhance the guarantee of authenticity.

  1. Compensation for counterfeit goods

If a merchant is proven to offer fake goods, the platform will impose penalty measures such as deducting the deposit according to the platform rules and the merchant is required to compensate consumers 10x the amount of the fake purchase.

Regular marketing events offer brands a boost in e-commerce sales

Throughout the year, Douyin EC Global holds a variety of festival promotions, themed activities, and industry-related activities aimed at driving sales growth.

These marketing activities enable merchants and brands to achieve regular spikes in sales through multiple cooperation models including elevated exposure, marketing promotions, and mall traffic.

During last year’s Double 11 sale, for example, Douyin EC Global helped the Australian vitamins and supplements company, Swisse, to increase its daily GMV by 58% YoY (year-on-year), reaching 6.4 million exposures, with store livestreaming GMV increasing 92% YoY.

Beyond single-day surges, merchants can also experience an increase in daily transaction volume following promotional events, with increased visibility and sales during the festival spurring future growth through exposure to more long-term customers and more sales data to feed paid advertising and organic traffic recommendation models.

The KOL advantage: turbocharging your brand with the trust of influencers

Trust is an essential element in e-commerce, and key opinion leaders (KOL) play a crucial role in connecting and forming new relationships between users and brands.

KOLs employ interest-driven content and their distinctive authentic style to engage potential customers, executing precision marketing on behalf of the brand or merchant they represent.

While navigating the selection process for finding a lineup of KOLs for your brand may seem challenging, Douyin EC Global’s KOL Alliance simplifies this by bringing together millions of KOLs in one convenient marketplace. The network includes a diverse range of elite-level KOLs, long-tail, and niche category influencers, along with overseas influencers representing Chinese KOLs residing abroad.

By leveraging KOL resources aligned with their brand marketing/sales goals, brands can quickly initiate business operations, drive sales, and bolster their reputation with the support of trusted creators on popular social apps.

Importantly, KOLs use interest-based content and their unique and authentic style to reach potential customers and carry out precision marketing on behalf of the brand or merchant.

End-to-end China logistics support for cross-border imports

Establishing a successful cross-border e-commerce presence demands more than just a digital storefront. Recognizing the importance of a well-rounded infrastructure, Douyin EC Global takes a holistic approach, assisting merchants in building an ecosystem that spans the entire spectrum of commerce.

From comprehensive delivery solutions to streamlined customs clearance, efficient transportation, and secure payment processes, Douyin EC Global is dedicated to providing a one-stop shop for merchants.

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This includes dual support for bonded storage of goods and direct mail. The typical logistics timeframe for cross-border products is 2-5 days, which greatly shortens the waiting time for delivery and allows consumers to receive their purchases earlier.

Douyin EC Global is also committed to offering care-free shopping for customers by providing service guarantees such as SF Express’s fast delivery, non-closure during the Spring Festival, fast refunds for undelivered products, and guaranteed allergy-related refunds, covering pre-sales purchases, in-sale contract fulfillment, and worry-free after-sales services, allowing consumers to shop with peace of mind.

Learn more about Douyin EC Global

To learn about how Douyin EC Global can assist your brand overcome a cold-start or grow your sales in China through omni-channel e-commerce, please feel free to reach out to us via the Contact Us form on our website.

Before you go, you may also want to check out Douyin EC Global’s growth strategy in the new era of cross-border e-commerce.