The vitamins and supplements category is extremely popular in China, but also highly competitive. Thorne, a Western supplements and wellness brand dedicated to quality ingredient sourcing, clinical research, lab testing, and sustainable business practices, wanted to expand into Asia, without any official stockists in the country.
The cards were stacked against Thorne—no distribution infrastructure, no brand awareness in China, and they wanted to launch on Tmall quickly, ideally before the peak ecommerce festival in China called Double 11.
Pattern’s China ecommerce consultants helped Thorne establish and effectively grow their Chinese ecommerce business at an accelerated pace, and with such success that the brand continues to generate YoY growth due to extremely high customer loyalty.
Thorne Overcomes Two Major Hurdles to Launch on Tmall
1. Getting Products into the Chinese Market
Pattern’s Greater China ecommerce team worked with Thorne to launch its store on Tmall Global and sell cross-border from Hong Kong, as its products would need to meet local standards and be tested before they could be sold within the market. By understanding importing rules, regulations, and marketplace fees, Pattern applied its global logistics and regional expertise to assure Thorne did not run into any customs roadblocks.
2. Compelling Product Listings and Tailored Customer Service for Chinese Consumers
The Thorne Tmall store was created with the utmost attention to detail and strategy, with much time and effort put into the product content. With Pattern’s intense tactical focus on the images, copy, listing design, and product descriptions, all designs give Chinese customers peace of mind that they are buying from a highly-regarded Western brand.
In addition, customer service is extremely important to Chinese customers. Pattern worked with Thorne to provide customer service agents specific in-market consumer and product training, so they understand all the unique features, benefits, and details to accurately assist and advise customers using Tmall’s Live Chat feature. The brand set up customer service support from in-house nutritionist and food scientist advisory who provided educated, certified suggestions on what the customer should take in different scenarios as well. This dedicated approach and individualized service helped convert initial sales, which established high brand equity and customer lifetime value.
Thorne Sales Skyrocket on Tmall Starting on Day 1
At launch, Thorne had 200% MoM sales growth (October to November 2019). Despite the lack of awareness and no brand penetration in China, Thorne’s Tmall Global store had sales starting on its first day of trading because Pattern used data-driven insights and marketplace experience to generate its own traffic . A sales accomplishment few brands achieve on Tmall due to the high competition and exhaustive customer service required to convert a sale.
One year later, Thorne was still seeing 290% MoM sales growth (October to November 2020) on its Tmall Global Store. Pattern’s Chinese ecommerce team approached Thorne’s debut on Tmall with an annual, holistic pricing strategy that did not rely exclusively on the promotional periods. And, with Pattern’s proprietary insights and technology, Pattern doubled Thorne’s sales projections based on the performance during its first few weeks of sales, and never looked back.
Bonus: Thorne is Invited to Coveted Double 11 and 618 Shopping Festivals. Daily Sales Increase Beyond Events.
Post-launch, the marketplace was impressed with Thorne’s initial sales performance, it officially invited Thorne to participate in Double 11. In addition to an increase in sales, Double 11 promotions garnered new and different consumers for Thorne who are interested in untapped products on Tmall.
Together with Pattern, Thorne also crushed sales in the annual 618 Shopping Festival, which is the second-largest online shopping festival in China, with Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) YoY growth rate at around 103%.
More importantly, beyond strong sales momentum in the event windows, Thorne’s daily sales still increase every day. Effectively leveraging the event traffic, Pattern was able to drive attention during the campaign and build loyal, high value customers.
Pattern Delivers Globally for Brands
Pattern’s presence in most international regions and expertise on all global marketplaces provides the necessary local market and cross-border experience to drive traffic and conversion for a brand. From establishing trust in Western brands with creative, images, and product copy on listings and ads, as well as dedicated, specific customer service, Pattern is able to create a brand story any customer can trust. Leveraging its global network and local market knowledge across distribution logistics and fulfillment, Pattern can take any brand from one to many marketplaces.
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