No sleep – from MHD

Paul Goepfert

Running a profitable wholesale business increasingly depends on how efficiently you can sell and deliver – this is perhaps more important than what you’re selling.
The adoption of e-commerce has changed not only the way retailers operate, but is having a significant impact on the way wholesalers do business. According to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, Australians spent $24 billion online over the 12 months to November 2017, representing a year-on-year growth of 14.4 per cent. This rise in online shopping has created new service expectations around order-to-dispatch time-frames, and consumers penalise retailers who perform poorly. To build loyalty, it is also essential that retailers have sufficient stock of top-selling items, ahead of their competition.
If there were any doubt on the relevance of e-commerce habits for wholesale distributors, you need to look only at Amazon and Alibaba. Two of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world now offer similar service levels on their business-to-business (B2B) platforms as they do on the business-to-consumer (B2C) side.

“The adoption of e-commerce has changed not only the way retailers operate, but is having a significant impact on the way wholesalers do business.”

For wholesalers, this shift means that traditional supply chain methods – relying on manual processes and labour-intensive spreadsheets – are no longer good enough. Retailers now demand their wholesale partners streamline their back-end processes and help them create opportunities to win new business, based on the strength of their service standards.
Great expectations from customer to consumer
The concept of ‘just in time’ inventory was pioneered by automobile manufacturer Toyota in the 1980s and quickly spread to all areas of stock delivery. For ‘just in time’ delivery to work, the wholesaler or supplier needs to deliver stock just as it’s needed, reducing overheads for the retailer. Of course, the timeline from order to delivery has become shorter and shorter over time. While major retailers in the United States are offering two-hour delivery services, in Australia the peak delivery guarantee in the fashion space is currently a same-day service – but I am confident this will change. To help retailers achieve this, wholesaler supply chains must be finely tuned so they recognise what is needed, it is delivered when required, and to a high level of customer satisfaction.
In the world of retail, as soon as an order comes in, the clock starts ticking. Wholesalers that rely on outdated, complex manual methods for order entry and fulfilment simply won’t be able to compete and offer the same speed as a business that is fully automated.

“Wholesalers also benefit from business intelligence (BI) that helps uncover insights and drive better performance through real-time monitoring tools and historical trend analysis.”

Warehouse efficiency separates a great wholesaler from a good one
To become fully automated, a wholesaler needs an intuitive system that will calculate the quickest picking route and direct the picker, define the best order allocation and automatically print dispatch notes, barcode labels and the invoice, if required. Many retailers use enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to automate these processes and track business performance easily.
Warehouse efficiency is another key area of distinction between a highly profitable wholesaler and a mediocre one. Metrics such as order-to-delivery time and picking accuracy of the order all have an impact on customer satisfaction, as well as financial performance. A wholesale business can’t improve its delivery times if it doesn’t know what those delivery times are in the first place. It also can’t measure the time taken for pick-and-pack if it doesn’t know what steps are involved.
Returns can also have an effect on the bottom line, and goods returned through inefficient processes touch many hands and departments on the way back to the warehouse, with each step incurring an additional cost.
By pooling together business data, powerful ERP systems deliver actionable insight that businesses can leverage to identify gaps and opportunities they can take advantage of. The cumulative effect of new efficiencies at each step in the order-to-delivery process will provide significant speed and accuracy improvements, all of which are felt at the customer level and the bottom line.

The rise of e-commerce has also had an impact on the way retailers source their suppliers. If an item is out of stock at one wholesaler, a retailer is also likely to shift their business. For the wholesaler, this ‘no second chances’ environment means that they must have deep insight into inventory levels. Using an ERP system combined with intelligent forecasting based on historical sales can help a wholesaler automatically generate the appropriate purchasing prompts to maintain stock levels.
Wholesalers also benefit from business intelligence (BI) that helps uncover insights and drive better performance through real-time monitoring tools and historical trend analysis. For example, BI insights could help a sales manager realise that some markets are being underserved, or that customer appetite for express shipping is larger than anticipated at certain times.
Taken together, a combined ERP and BI can help a wholesale business better meet the needs of retail customers. It can bring efficiencies to the wholesale sector, allowing wholesalers to ditch manual methods entirely and fully automate their supply chain to offer the rapid delivery guarantees that consumers and their customers are demanding. This provides the wholesaler with a solid differentiation that allows them to service and add value to the retailer, delivering a long-term and future proof solution.
Paul Goepfert is the chief marketing officer at Pronto Software. For more information visit www.pronto.net.
 

E-commerce logistics market growth starting to slow

The latest report from Ti shows a market still expanding rapidly, but one in which competition, challenges and new entrants are raising questions over future development opportunities
The global e-commerce logistics market grew by 18.2% in 2018. Still a relatively nascent sector, e-commerce logistics growth is well above that seen in other logistics markets. Emerging markets are showing the fastest expansion, but even in developed economies, growth rates in nominal terms are usually in double-digits. Ti expects the global market to grow at an expected nominal 2018-2023 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8%.
Ti’s latest figures suggest the cross-border component is a significant driver of this uplift. Cross-border e-commerce is bringing supply chain stakeholders into direct contact and challenging the status quo. But while gaining access to millions, if not billions, of new customers is an attractive proposition for e-commerce companies, targeting purchasers in foreign markets is not the easiest of strategies.
The report also examines the trend for offering more omni-channel retail solutions, likely to be a key requirement moving forward. This is largely driven by the purchasing behaviour of consumers, who demand a seamless experience enabled by the use of different channels to order, pay, collect and return products. They demand more delivery and returns options and leverage retailers against each other to get the best value for their money.
In addition, Global e-commerce Logistics 2019 examines e-fulfilment and last mile cost structures, and provides analysis of structural variations by geography and retail sector.
The report authors spoke extensively with senior management and leaders at the largest e-fulfilment and last mile providers globally, as well as with niche e-commerce logistics providers. A common theme was the threat posed by global retail platforms managing their own logistics requirements whilst also offering services to third parties.
The entry of players such as Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com is forcing many to consider what the future of e-commerce logistics might look like. The report’s lead author, Viki Keckarovska, senior research analyst at Ti, said: “While some would say that Europe’s legacy infrastructure and market structures are unfit for the new e-retail world, it could equally be argued that Europe boasts probably the most efficient logistics and transport sector in the world. Ti’s discussions with logistics executives and leaders in the market suggest Europe’s legacy infrastructure is seen as a hindrance to the development of efficient e-retail distribution networks, with facilities in the ‘wrong’ place and markets which were more focused on B2B rather than B2C deliveries.”

Parcels save Australia Post profits

 
 
Performance highlights for the six months to 31 December 2018:

  • Group revenue was flat against last year at $3.6 billion, masking significant changes.
  • Group parcels contributed $1.9 billion, up 9 per cent, adding $25 million in profit.
  • Group letters at $1.1 billion, down 10 per cent, reducing profit by $102 million.
  • Group expenses contained at 2 per cent growth, including $121 million in productivity gains.
  • Reported profit before tax at $154 million, down 36 per cent, included positive one-offs. Profit after tax $118 million, down 45 per cent.
  • Australia Post is expected to make a modest full-year profit in FY19 given the continued impact of letter decline, economic headwinds and seasonality.

Australia Post has announced a profit before tax for the first half of $154 million, down 36 per cent year-on-year. This included $30 million of one offs. Underlying profit before tax was $124 million, down 38 per cent. Group revenue was flat at $3.6 billion.
The largest business segment, domestic parcels, performed strongly with revenue growing by 10 per cent, up $147 million, well ahead of the general retail market, which grew 2.9 per cent in the period. Group parcels profit grew by $25 million to $127 million. In December, Australia Post delivered a record 40 million parcels, up 12 per cent.
All Community Service Obligations were met or exceeded and customer service standards remained high for letters and parcels, including through extreme weather conditions across the country during the Christmas peak.
Group chief executive officer and managing director Christine Holgate said she was pleased with the continued strong performance of the parcels business, however, significant challenges remain for Australia Post with letters revenue now declining at the fastest rate in its history.
“Although we delivered 10 per cent growth in domestic parcels, well in excess of the growth rates of the economy and in a period of very strong competition, this could not make up for the profit decline in the letters business,” Ms Holgate said.
“Letter revenues are down 10 per cent or $125 million, which reduced profit by $102 million in the half.  This is after saving an estimated $50 million in delivery costs as posties carried 40 per cent of our parcels.
“Since the last increase in the Basic Postage Rate in January 2016, more than three years ago, our costs to deliver letters are up 10 per cent. The number of new delivery addresses has increased by 500,000, yet letter volumes have declined by 800 million.
“Australia Post will deliver more than two billion letters to almost 12 million homes and businesses this year. Although it is shrinking, letters is still viewed as a critical service by the overwhelming majority of Australians.”
Australia Post is an entirely self-funding business. Last financial year, Australia Post incurred an estimated cost of $404 million in delivering the letters service in accordance with its legislated community service obligations.
Group expenses were held at two per cent growth in the first half, underpinned by total productivity savings of $121 million. Independent research shows that Australia Post has improved its Total Factor Productivity at twice the rate of the overall economy and reserved letters at three times the rate.
Ms Holgate said the business was also making good progress on delivering on its strategic initiatives including:

  • Securing the historic Bank@Post agreement with CBA, Westpac and NAB, protecting critical banking services in Community Post Offices, particularly in regional and rural Australia. A further seven financial institutions have already committed to new Bank@Post terms: Suncorp, Resimac, Auswide Bank, AMP Bank, Maitland Mutual, Transport Mutual and ME Bank.
  • The first new major agreement with its important licensee partners in 26 years, providing technology and aligning payments to parcels and other growing services.
  • $64 million of investment in the operational network, including new processing equipment in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane enabling automated sorting of an additional 100 million parcels.
  • The fastest growing parcel product, Express, expanded in a trial to a further 500 postcodes.
  • Acquisition of remaining 60 per cent stake in Aramex Global Solutions, which provides end-to-end cross-border logistics and eCommerce solutions, supporting the international growth strategy.

“We have invested in both capability and capacity, without which our teams could not have delivered the Christmas Peak.  Our people were exceptional as they delivered through the most challenging weather conditions, including floods, bush fires and hail storms,” Ms Holgate said.
“Our Net Promoter Score with our customers is at a record high and complaints on Australia Post entities to the Postal Industry Ombudsman were down 31 per cent, although we recognise we still have much more work to do.
“The progress we have made against our strategic initiatives, coupled with the unwavering commitment of our extended workforce to serve the community, means we remain confident that Australia Post will play an important role for many years to come.
“Australia Post is on track to deliver a modest profit for the full year, in the face of ongoing market pressures in the traditionally quieter second half. Australia Post will release its full results in August.”

Online returns piling up in a warehouse.

Online returns: make it free or else

  • 53% of shoppers would not be willing to spend on postage or courier to return an item.
  • Only 13% are willing to pay more than $10 on postage or courier.
  • 37% prefer to return an item in store.

Consumers believe returns are an inevitable part of online shopping – so much so that a survey has indicated that more than half (53 per cent) don’t want to pay for it. The findings have implications for a number of online retailers who only offer returns by consumer-paid postage.
Parcel delivery service CouriersPlease commissioned a survey of an independent nationally representative panel of 1021 Australians who shop online.[1] Respondents were asked how much they were willing to spend for returns and what returns method would motivate them to return an online-purchased product.
After 53 per cent of respondents said they would not be willing to spend a cent returning an item they bought online, one-in-three (33 per cent) said they would spend a maximum of $10 an a return. Only 13 per cent are willing to pay any more than $10 to return their items.
Respondents were asked which returns method they preferred. 37% most preferred to return items in store. This was highest among millennials (47% of this age group chose this returns option) and lowest (23%) among 50-something shoppers.
29% preferred returns by courier. 27% per cent liked returning items to a post office or parcel drop off point such as a newsagent or petrol station. This was lowest (9%) among of 19-29-year-olds, and highest among over-60s (40%).
Head of commercial and transformation at CP Jessica Ip said: “The high return rate in the online shopping sector is here to stay. As consumers lose the touch-and-feel aspect when buying online, they can erroneously purchase the wrong size or colour, their expectations for texture or quality might not be met, or they might simply change their mind altogether once the product is in their hands.
“CP aims to make the returns process easier. We encourage online shoppers to take advantage of our network of POPPoints, where customers can post their returns in any one of our POPStation lockers or POPShop locations for free. This service enables Australians to conveniently return their parcels at any time and save them a trip to return the item in store during business hours.”
How much are you willing to spend returning an item you bought online?

I only return an item if it is free to return53%
Under $1033%
Up to $156%
Up to $203%
Up to $301%
More than $303%

 

Returns method that would most motivate consumers to return a product they bought onlinePercentage of respondents
Being able to return the item instore37%
A courier picking up and returning the item29%
Returning the item to a post office or parcel drop off or collection point such as a newsagent, petrol station or retail27%
Being able to return the item to a parcel locker7%

 

Australia Post to go it alone

Australia Post has decided to secure full ownership of Aramex Global Solutions (AGS), which provides end-to-end cross-border logistics solutions to a portfolio of iconic global e-commerce merchants.
Australia Post has reached in-principle agreement to purchase from its joint venture partner Aramex PJSC the 60% of AGS it does not already own for approximately US$20 million.
AGS has grown strongly since it was established by Australia Post and global express delivery and logistics company Aramex two years ago, with revenue up more than 60% since 2016 to approximately A$138 million* in 2018. Australia Post’s exclusive delivery of parcels for AGS in FY18 generated A$40 million of revenue.
AGS enables Australian consumers to shop online globally, connecting international retailers directly with Australia Post’s last-mile delivery and customs clearance capabilities. In addition to delivering significant parcel volumes inbound to Australia, AGS has an established presence in key global e-commerce trade lanes, including Asia, the UK, Europe and the US, providing a valuable platform for continued expansion.
Executive general manager international services Annette Carey said: “As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australia Post, AGS provides an established platform to accelerate our international growth strategy.
“Combining our postal capabilities with AGS’s bespoke e-commerce capabilities enables Australia Post to engage directly with international retailers, providing unique customer service to capture strong growth in cross-border e-commerce markets.
“Today’s agreement with Aramex reflects changes to the strategic direction of both organisations, including Australia Post’s commitment to positioning itself as a global provider of cross-border e-commerce.”
The strength of cross-border e-commerce markets and a highly regarded management team, led by CEO Nabil Zaghloul have underpinned the growth of AGS, which is now handling more than two million international parcels a month.
“At AGS, we’re very excited to benefit from Australia Post’s culture, long-term vision and ongoing investment” said Mr Zaghloul. “Through partnerships with China Post and major Asian e-commerce marketplaces, we can leverage our platform into new markets.”
Transaction completion is expected to occur in the coming days. Australia Post has plans to rename and rebrand AGS to reflect the change in ownership in the near future.
* Reflective of revenue generated in the eleven months ended 30 November 2018 and an estimated revenue for December. Full year revenue is expected to be US$99m or c.A$138m. (AUD/USD = 0.7194 at 18 Dec 2018).
 

Australia’s biggest parcel delivery day

Australia Post is expecting Monday will prove to have been the biggest parcel delivery day in the country’s history, with its team of posties, drivers and mail and parcel sorters delivering close to three million parcels on the day.
Since October, Australia Post has experienced an unprecedented number of deliveries, with more than 10 million parcels delivered in one week alone. The surge in volumes follows popular online shopping festivals such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with parcel deliveries growing more than 30 per cent during the sales.
Australia Post group chief operating officer Bob Black said more and more customers are turning to online shopping ahead of a busy Christmas because it offered more convenience.
“[Monday] will the biggest delivery day in Australia Post’s history, with close to three million parcels moving through our network, as Australia’s love for online shopping continues to grow,” Mr Black said.
“The most popular Christmas gifts among Australian online shoppers include toys and games, fashion and jewellery, and homewares and appliances along with health and beauty products.
“As well as record parcel numbers, Christmas cards are popular too, with posties delivering millions of Christmas letters and greeting cards during December.”
Mr Black said Australians were shopping mainly from local retailers, with the falling Australian dollar helping increase the proportion of domestic online purchases to more than 70 per cent of delivered parcels.
Overall, Australia Post is expecting to deliver over 40 million parcels this December, exceeding the 37 million parcels delivered in December last year.
To help customers get their Christmas gifts in time Australia Post

  • Is keeping over 170 retail outlets open longer.
  • Installed a further 13 parcel lockers taking the total to 343.
  • Has 13 air freighters operating every night for Express services and 16,000 vehicles operating daily.
  • Has hired close to 3000 extra people to deal with record volumes.

Will online exporters save the nation?

Australian exporters are riding the global e-commerce wave into new international markets, with plans to invest in online marketing and the workforce to optimise this opportunity. Research from the 15th DHL Export Barometer 2018 shows that export confidence among Australian exporters is at an all-time high – a new record since the study began in 2003.
E-commerce continues to dominate the agenda – the DHL Export Barometer 2018 shows that 61% of exporters reported favourable growth in actual orders over the past 12 months, the highest record in the last decade. 75% of them also expect to record an increase in international sales over the next 12 months, a rise of 8% from last year’s result.
Commenting on exporters’ confidence in the international export market CEO and senior vice president for DHL Express Oceania Gary Edstein said: “This year’s positive sentiment among the majority of exporters is a significant sign that the Australian export market is close to peak performance. Australian exporters have demonstrated a real tenacity that sees them pursuing further expansion in the face of global political and economic developments. Undoubtedly, e-commerce has been a positive force for this continual growth, contributing significantly to the confidence of Australian exporters and equipping them with the platforms necessary to go global.”
New Zealand remains the top export destination and Asia Pacific markets hold promise
Australian exporters are continuing to find strength in historical trade partners, with New Zealand remaining the most popular export market at 66% (up from 61% in 2017).
JW Nevile Fellow in Economics, UNSW Sydney and Host of The Airport Economist Tim Harcourt commented: “New Zealand continues to be an attractive export market for Australian business, thanks to the close bilateral ties shared under the long-standing Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement. Among exporters who have been exporting for more than 20 years, 80% of them continue to show confidence in trade with New Zealand – a testament to the enduring strength of the Trans-Tasman relationship.”
North America comes in at second place at 54% with growth of 6% on 2017, followed by Europe (42%), and the UK (41%). This is consistent with the findings from the study last year.
In the last 12 months, Australian exporters have also looked beyond traditional trade partners, with a focus on Asia Pacific. China leads at 41% (compared to 6% on 2017), with other countries and territories following close behind:

  • South East Asia at 38% (up 10% from 2017).
  • Hong Kong at 35% (up 8% from 2017).
  • The Pacific at 28% (up 4% from 2017).
  • Taiwan at 22% (up 8% from 2017).

Australian exporters remain optimistic amid global political developments
Australian exporters remain unshaken in the midst of the current global political and economic environment, opting to remain mostly positive or neutral towards these changes and developments.
This year, close to half (49%) of exporters believe that US foreign and economic policies will have limited impact on their export orders in the next two to three years, but 21% of them are cautious about the impact of US and China trade tensions on their export business.
On the flipside, exporters are positive about the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (34%), China’s Belt and Road initiative (27%) and emerging export technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain (31%).
Mr Harcourt commented: “What history has taught us is that political and economic events do come in peaks and troughs, and this may explain the record high level of confidence among Australian exporters despite these ongoing developments. They recognise that trade will inevitably continue, and there will be new growth opportunities to explore further. Australian exporters have developed exceptional skills in assessing their competitive position in the international market, adapting to regulatory changes and implementing innovative strategies to take on new challenges.”
E-commerce continues to drive growth
This year’s research indicates that Australian exporters have decidedly taken to e-commerce as a selling channel, with 4 in 5 exporters (79%) now generating orders or managing enquiries online. Pure e-commerce businesses are also on the rise, evident from the 12% increase, over the last four years, in exporters who generate 100% of their export orders through online channels. Amongst them, exporters in the fashion sector are reaping the most benefits from e-commerce, with 68% of sales generated from online channels – higher than the average of 47% across all other sectors.
“E-commerce, with its global accessibility and affordability, has been the real driver for growth among the consumer goods sector and particularly for small businesses. Tools like e-commerce plugins and social media have provided small Australian businesses with the opportunity to reach the international market with relative ease and within a shorter set-up timeframe. The traditional barriers to international trade, such as finding local distributors and negotiating partner contracts, are significantly lowered when a business adopts e-commerce as a channel to directly reach the customer,” Edstein commented.
Exporters plan to tackle new markets with growth strategies
In the coming year, close to 50% of Australian exporters are seeing potential in new markets, making plans to expand:

  • Europe tops the list as the most desirable new territory (17%) among exporters
  • South East Asia (15%), the UK (11%), Indonesia (11%) and Japan (11%) follow in close stride
  • New businesses which have been in operation for less than 5 years, are at the forefront of this trend, with 63% of them indicating that they plan to expand in the next 12 months

To support these growth plans, 39% of exporters are looking to increase their online marketing spending and looking into social media to enhance their marketing mix. More than half of exporters (58%) are employing social media to market their products. Among the favourites are Facebook (45%), Instagram (30%) and LinkedIn (20%). Newer platforms are also growing in popularity, with exporters beginning to introduce Instagram Stories (10%), Facebook Messenger (8%), WeChat (6%) and Snapchat (3%) into their marketing mix. Online marketplaces, such as eBay, are also gaining traction with 23% of exporters utilising them to generate orders.
Other growth strategies include an emphasis on fulfilment and delivery (37%), customer service (29%), website design (27%), and to make available more localised products (24%). 70% of exporters also indicate that they will increase employee wages to drive retention and 51% of them will make new hires.
Mr Harcourt commented: “Rising wages and the creation of new jobs are positive news for both Australian businesses, employees and the local economy. This year’s results show that growth on the international stage does bring investment back into the local economy, further strengthening the confidence of Australian businesses to continue with innovative strategies for international growth.”
 

100 million parcels delivered in 2.6 days

Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao Smart Logistics Network said the first 100 million parcels generated during the record-breaking 11.11 Global Shopping Festival orders were delivered in just 2.6 days, nearly five hours faster than a year ago.
The new speed record comes even as the total number of 11.11 orders processed by Alibaba Group’s logistics arm topped one billion for the first time, significantly higher than 812 million at last year’s shopping event. Both are milestones in Cainiao’s drive to improve logistics sector efficiency amid ever-present consumer demand for faster delivery.
All told, the 10th anniversary of 11.11 resulted in over 1.04 billion orders generated within 24 hours. Prior to the shopping festival, Cainiao said it had upgraded its systems and technology to be able to handle over one billion 11.11 orders. That kind of capacity is important, because the societal and economic change may lead to one billion orders a day becoming the norm in the future.
“We handled 152 million parcels during the 11.11 festival in 2013. Today, the industry is now delivering 150 million parcels every single day in China. With this pace of change, we believe that the one billion parcels handled in this year’s 11.11 will become the daily average within the next decade,” said president of Cainiao Lin Wan. “Through non-stop technological innovation and open collaboration, we want our smart logistics network to serve as a robust infrastructure to help the industry meet future needs.”
In 2013, it took nine days to deliver the first 100 million parcels. This year’s record shows how Cainiao has steadily cut delivery times, even as the number of orders it processes has surged.
The steady improvement in delivery speed reflects Cainiao’s broader efforts in building a smart logistics network, which looks to handle the peak of 11.11 – a single day – to create a foundation for handling that volume every day in the future.
For this 11.11, Cainiao updated its technologies throughout its network, including opening the largest robotic warehouse in China. From planning routes to matching inventory allocation with consumer demands, the technologies have effectively deployed resources to maximise utilisation, avoid bottlenecks and accelerate deliveries.
For the first time, new logistics systems such as a high-speed, local-to-local delivery network, made it possible for goods ordered during 11.11 to be delivered directly from stores to customers. For example, the first cup of Starbucks coffee during the 11.11 promotion was delivered by Ele.me to a customer in Shanghai in just over nine minutes after the festival’s midnight start. Delivery within minutes offers consumers a brand-new customer service standard.
Just as technology has improved significantly from last year, so has the capacity for cross-border logistics. In this year’s 11.11, five million import parcels were processed through customs clearance within less than five hours, compared to around eight hours and 57 hours to process the same number in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
To achieve this, Cainiao has worked closely with the customs in China to upgrade their systems, which can now finish clearance of some items within a matter of seconds.
Cainiao and its partners have also arranged bonded warehouses covering over one million square meters nationwide. This bonded warehouse network, which is China’s largest of its kind, has enabled international brands to store the right goods at the closest point to consumers, thereby cutting delivery time. Consumers in over 251 cities in China received their 11.11 overseas orders within same-day or next-day.

Sydney’s first Alibaba Expo expecting 10,000+

The Alibaba Group’s inaugural Sydney eCommerce Expo was held on 21-22 September with the launch of the event at the International Conference Centre (ICC Sydney). Over 175 exhibiting Australian and New Zealand brands and retailers took part in the two-day event focused on helping local businesses tap into the e-commerce enabled Chinese economy. The organisers expected 10,000+ visitors through the expo over its two days.
Australian and New Zealand exhibitors experienced first-hand the retail technology developed by Alibaba Cloud, which allows them to build relationships with Alibaba and its ecosystem of partners, meet with Chinese buyers, and engage directly with Chinese consumers who livestream product demonstrations on Taobao, claimed to be China’s largest mobile commerce destination.
Managing director for Alibaba Australia and New Zealand Maggie Zhou said the Expo’s aim was to provide value to Australian businesses large and small: “The 2018 Expo has been designed to engage big businesses already having great success with our online marketplaces like Tmall and Tmall Global, as well as SME who are looking for knowledge and support to tap into the Chinese market.”
Augmented reality technology powered by Alibaba Cloud was on display at the Expo including the ‘Magic Mirror’, through which real-time personal images can be combined with beauty product to drive sales conversion for brand merchants. Artificial intelligence on display included the ‘cloud shelf’, where Chinese retailers include virtual products on the shop shelf that are available to order online.
A select showcase of Hema supermarket features was also available at the Expo, where attendees experienced the future of grocery shopping in China. QR codes enable Hema shoppers to access product information while customers can pay for their purchases through their mobile devices.
General manager of Alibaba Cloud in Australia and New Zealand Raymond Ma commented: “Retail and technology trends in China are continuing to change the way consumers, sellers, service providers and producers buy and sell. Alibaba Cloud underpins much of this technology, and organised this expo to share it with Australian industry over the two days.”
Executive general manager international services Annette Carey said Australia Post was delighted to participate in the Expo for the second year in a row (it was held in Melbourne for the first time last year). “We’re proud to use our trusted brand and international reach to help Australian businesses grow locally and overseas. We recognise the importance of global trade to local businesses and economies, and we’re committed to helping grow cross-border e-commerce through new international products, services and partnerships with global players like Alibaba.”
The Alibaba eCommerce Expo will return to Melbourne for the second consecutive year at the Melbourne Convention Centre from 18-20 October.
 

Chinese shoppers deliver 80,000 customers to DHL

Joshua Zhou, Managing Director, AuMake International Limited with Denise McGrouther, Managing Director, DHL eCommerce Australia.

DHL eCommerce, a division of logistics company Deustche Post DHL Group, has partnered with AuMake, an ASX listed retailer connecting Australian suppliers directly with Chinese consumers, to enable deliveries direct from Australia to China. AuMake’s growing database of over 80,000 members will now be able to ship direct to China with DHL eCommerce Parcel International Direct, a tracked service with transit times of 5-7 days to 90% of China.
“We’re proud to partner with AuMake to offer Parcel International Direct China to their customers and provide reliable and high quality direct shipping. We understand that trust is highly important for Chinese shoppers, particularly in the delivery process. Our shipping service offers great transit times, high quality handling and tracking visibility to connect Australian brands to Chinese consumers,” said managing director of DHL eCommerce Australia Denise McGrouther.
Australian products are highly sought after by Chinese online shoppers, contributing to 20% of cross-border purchases into China in 2017, up 9% from 2016. In addition, there are an estimated 400,000 ‘daigous’ operating in Australia who act as an overseas personal shopper to buy and ship products from Australia to China.
Through its growing footprint of showroom-style stores, AuMake and Kiwi Buy across Sydney, customers can make purchases and arrange a pick up by DHL eCommerce for international deliveries from AuMake’s retail stores with the launch of the new service.
“The demand for Australian products from China is insatiable and through AuMake’s retail stores and the collaboration with DHL eCommerce, we are making it easier to ship from Australia to China. AuMake’s customers can shop and ship with the additional choice of using a well known and trusted logistics provide like DHL eCommerce, providing peace of mind that their purchases will be safely and quickly delivered,” said managing director of AuMake International Limited Joshua Zhou.
 

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