For about a year now, the biggest German drugstore chain is selling its products on TMall. The experiences are encouraging. Chinese customers love promotions, says Christoph Werner, Marketing & Procurement Manager at dm-drogerie markt, and explains why dm will now expand the cooperation.
dm drogerie-markt has started to sell its products on Tmall (by Alibaba) about a year ago. What are your experiences?
Christoph Werner: Business is developing at a tremendous pace and our product selection has found a very appreciative market. Our customers in China are highly motivated by deals and offers, and given that Tmall is driven by strong promotional activity, the sporadic spike in demand has proven quite a challenge logistically – but we've been coping fine so far.
Did you have to alter aspects of your original plans and strategies, i.e. concerning the range of products?
We want our Chinese customers to view us as a partner and expert in drugstore products that please their every need, and so we are consistently diversifying our range. Starting with only 22 products in March 2017, our dm online shop on Tmall Global now stocks some 140 products from nine dm brands and five brands from industrial partners.
Which products are the top-sellers in the Chinese market?
We currently offer our customers in China a product mix including the dm brands Balea, Balea MEN, Das Gesunde Plus, Dontodent, Sundance, ebelin, Jessa, dmBio and alverde, as well as other brands from industrial partners. The best-sellers to date are dm’s Balea care products, especially the Balea Beauty Effect Lifting Kur treatment, but also Aptamil milk formula.
How do you organize the logistics to and in China (home-delivery)? Which partners do you work with?
All orders are picked and packed at our German logistics centre and shipped to China by airmail, where they are distributed to the end consumer by local logistics providers. We are currently cooperating with DSV in Germany as well as Cainiao, Alibaba's affiliated logistics platform, for airfreight and local distribution. For Singles' Day on 11 November 2017 we also, for the first time, resorted to using a bonded warehouse in a Free Trade Zone to keep up with the huge demand while significantly reducing the delivery times.
Do you sell solely on T-Mall and do you have your own website for communications?
Our products are sold to customers in China only and directly on Tmall Global.
More about the retailworld China and trends from far east at the C-star 2018 on April 26th – 28th in Shanghai.