Cross-Border E-Commerce in India, China & the Middle East

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E-Commerce in India, China & the Middle East

A phenomenon in e-commerce that has gained a huge momentum since past 2 years is Cross-border e-commerce, where customers purchase products from across the borders. This type of e-commerce can be referred to as a B2C, B2B, and C2C online trade via popular marketplaces.

Emphasizing the scope of cross-border e-commerce, there are a lot of countries adapting to the cross-border e-commerce platform and few among them are China, India and the Middle East countries.

Spotlighting the fact of “how to sell in India, how to sell in China and how to sell in the Middle East”, there are few more aspects a seller will need to know before entering the cross-border e-commerce platform.

How to sell in China

How to sell in China, or how to start cross-border e-commerce in China are FAQs for the sellers neighboring China and also for the US and western European merchants. China’s National Bureau of Statistics claims that online retail in China is doubling the growth rates of overall retail sales.

And, in accordance to reports from the economic data, TMall is considered to have a large slice of pie and is dominant of all marketplaces in China. TMall and its global association can be the best answer to “how to sell in China” and also for startup of cross-border e-commerce in China.


Sell on TMall

Most of the selling of the U.S and Western European merchants have been via TMall, a cross-border e-commerce in China. It offers the sellers a storefront marketplace where they can have a fully branded flagship store within their marketplace; and, to do the same, the sellers will require to have an in-country agent or business entity.

The seller needs to provide the following documentation that should include:

– A copy of business license and corporate tax registration certificate from mainland China.

– A copy of bank account permits, organization code certificate, and legal representative ID card.

– TMall flagship store owner ID card, an Alipay corporate account authorization, and complete product listing.

And if the seller does not have any business entity or in-country partner, then he can switch to selling globally. Another option a seller can switch to is “TMall Global”.


Sell on TMall Global

To sell on TMall Global, it is not necessary for the seller to have a legal entity in China, and this stands as the biggest advantage. There are storage facilities in major parts of China, where brands can ship from in addition to the shipping orders from the country of origin.

Thus, saving the delivery time and logistical costs for shipment, and this policy is more of Amazon’s FBA-like one. Moreover, the applicable tax rates for purchases is reduced as compared to the regular import tariffs. The TMall Global allows the seller to open different types of stores such as flagship store, authorized store, and specialty store.


How to sell in India

Knowing how to sell in India and where to sell is a crucial factor for any cross-border e-commerce merchant. Reports from the statistical sources of India show that India is gearing up with the e-commerce revenue each year and the marketplaces are emerging with advancements.

If a seller is looking forward for a cross-border e-commerce in India, then the seller can start his game with the products from the categories like electronics, smartphones, footwear and apparel, appliances, and entertainment devices etc. These can help you figure out a streaming path, letting you know how to sell India.


Sell on Flipkart

Flipkart remains to be the market leader regarding the opportunities in cross-border e-commerce in India. According to the cross-border e-commerce logistics of Flipkart, the marketplace has over 7.5M registered customers and the service ships more than 800,000 packages each month to over 1,000 cities.

Similar to the marketplaces in China, Flipkart mandates the proof of having a business entity in-country to associate. But this can’t be considered to be a complete blockage for those who don’t have any business entity as an in-country partner that can provide documentation and residency can do as well.

The basic documentation needed to provide while signing up on Flipkart seller portal access are PAN Card (Personal PAN for “proprietorship” and Personal + Business for “Company”), VAT/TIN (not necessary, if selling books), bank account and KYC documents that shows identity proof, and a minimum of 10 products listing.

If a seller decides to merchandise on Flipkart, then here are a few favorable aspects and factors that can alleviate and better mitigate the risk when selling in India.

– When selling on Flipkart, all you need to do as a merchant is the pack the product and get things ready for dispatch; the rest will be handled by Flipkart. The logistics partners of Flipkart manage it all from picking the product up to delivering it to the customer.

– The seller is at complete fraud protection in the hands of Flipkart. Flipkart has set up SPF (Seller Protection Fund) to keep the sellers from fraud. The sellers when suspect the fault in the logistics can claim the SPF through seller dashboard and the seller may receive the due compensation.

– All the payments are made through NEFT transactions and are made directly to the seller’s bank account within few business days as per the seller’s membership (Gold sellers – 7 business days, Silver sellers – 12 business days, Bronze sellers – 15 business days).

Sell on Snapdeal

Snapdeal is considered to be India’s second-leading marketplace after Flipkart, and has quite a market share of around 300,000 sellers and delivers in more than 6,000 cities in India. Similar to the China marketplaces and Flipkart, Snapdeal mandates the in-country business entity for the sellers interested in selling to India via their marketplace.

The required documents an interested seller has to provide when signing –up to access the Snapdeal seller portal are PAN card, VAT/CST number, and Bank details.

The favorable factors a merchant needs to know to associate with Snapdeal are:

– Flipkart and Amazon may be the market leaders, but Snapdeal has gone an extra mile to provide the customers with a sophisticated shopping experience. From category landing pages to product detail pages, the platform’s marketplace has done a very good job and developed an easy interface allowing the communication more in the B2C way.

– This marketplace allows cross-border sellers to ship from their domestic distribution centers and mandates the in-country inventory investment. This can be considered as an advantage when penetrating the market by with a low initial investment.


How to Sell in the Middle East

Getting started in the Middle East and figuring out ways on how to sell in the Middle East is again an uphill journey, in accordance with the 2016 Digital Middle East report that claims that the Middle East is on the verge of a massive digital disruption with significant untapped e-commerce potential, and the key driver for this is said to be the Muslim market, that is expected to flare up to $484 billion by the year 2019.

For western merchants, the “how to sell in the Middle East” or cross-border e-commerce gets easier if the seller belongs to the growing in-market category that is luxury and premium priced apparel, footwear and beauty products.

So, here is how to get launched in the Middle East!!


Sell on Namshi

Being a part of an online fashion retailer with more than 40,000 brands and exclusive in-house collections is again an uphill journey. Namshi, a Dubai-based online e-commerce platform, created by Rocket Internet, is a part of the Global Fashion E-commerce Group.

Over the past two years, the platform has seen a significant growth and massive market adoption and penetration as well for both the mobile commerce and cross-border e-commerce.

The platform spotlights the fact of easy access to the mobile version of Namshi, as over 80% of the Namshi shoppers use the smartphones or tablet devices to gain access to Namshi. And, the reports claim that the mobile traffic tops 175 million pageviews leaving the desktop figure at 18 million. The selling on this platform is through an App.


Sell on Souq

In 2017, Amazon’s acquisition of regional leader was making headlines for being an e-commerce platform with a huge user base.

Souq has more than 8.4 million products for sale over 45 million visits per month. It is the largest e-commerce company in the Middle East, founded in 2005 and started as an online auction model (eBay-like) and transitioned into more of an Amazon-like set-price retailer.

Selling on Souq will require an in-country partner to show the support documents that allow selling in each specific country. The requirements will include the local shipping location, which will be used by Souq to pick up and deliver the orders and a trade license and ID, which is required to ensure that you are allowed to sell in a specific country.


Sell on The Modist

Another newest challenger called the Middle Eastern Market jumped the bandwagon and has made the competition tough since 2017. The Modist, a Dubai-based e-commerce site has an aesthetically pleasing shopping experience and is shaping up in the fashion market.

The platform offers 75 contemporary designer brands that significantly lean towards the tastes of women who are religious, cultural and come with modest tastes.


Analysis before getting into a Marketplace for Cross-Border E-commerce

There are a few things a merchant should make proper research of before getting into a marketplace for cross-border e-commerce, such as:

– Cross-border e-commerce platforms

– Cross-border e-commerce market size

– Cross-border e-commerce enabler

– Cross-border e-commerce logistics of the marketplace

– Cross-border e-commerce reports of the marketplace

– Cross-border e-commerce statistics of the marketplace

– Cross-border e-commerce aggregator

It is important for a seller to check up on the above-mentioned aspects before getting into any marketplace for cross-border e-commerce. Checking up on the cross-border e-commerce market size, cross-border e-commerce enabler, and cross-border e-commerce aggregator is important before getting stepped up while checking upon the cross-border e-commerce logistics, cross-border e-commerce reports, and cross-border e-commerce statics is vital before and after entering in the cross-border e-commerce to maintain a good result of sales.

Having a thorough and detailed information on these pointers helps a great deal in taking your cross-border e-commerce business a step ahead and reaching your goals faster.


Take Away

For the brands that are seeking multiple options of expansion of business and selling in the luxury market, the Middle East will be an ideal option.

For the merchants looking to sell in India, the products from the categories like electronics, apparel, and footwear will do best and for the seller looking to sell in China can belong to any category as just about anything and everything goes in China while having an in-country presence.

The region a seller chooses to sell a particular product should be based on the brand and regional audience interest. The seller must first understand the market before going about selling.

So, Good Luck with the venture into international and regional cross-border e-commerce in regions like China, India and the Middle East.