Exclusive deals, faster deliveries, new products to bolster existing service
Amazon.com Inc said subscribers to its Prime service in China, the first-ever free cross-border shipping membership program, increased more than threefold in 2017 year-on-year, and it plans to introduce more tailor-made services and high-quality products to attract affluent Chinese consumers.
Jamil Ghani, vice-president of Amazon, who is in charge of Prime's international business, said he is bullish on the prospects of the service in China, adding that China has become one of the fastest growing countries in Amazon's membership business.
"By the end of 2017, Amazon has saved Prime members in China more than 500 million yuan (.6 million) in shipping costs, and the total number of Prime eligible items in its Global Store exceeded 15 million in November 2017," Ghani said.
Amazon is attracting a rising number of Chinese buyers to purchase foreign products with its Amazon Global Store, which covers top destinations among Chinese customers for cross-border shopping, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.
The Seattle-based company has brought this innovative model to Mexico, according to Ghani. "This is not the first time that we have duplicated the success in China in other locales. Both the Amazon Global Store and White Kindle were first launched in China and are now available in many other countries, making China an important pilot for Amazon worldwide."
He added that Amazon will introduce more high-quality international products, speed up its delivery service and bring more exclusive deals and entertainment benefits and digital content to Prime members in China in the future.
It will add more Prime eligible items as the Amazon Global Store continues growing its selection this year, especially those categories related to health and safety such as nutrition and groceries.
"We found 75 percent of customers spend more on the Amazon Global Store after signing up to Prime and 60 percent actually doubled their spending or more," Ghani said.
The e-commerce giant has shortened the cross-border shipping time from Amazon US to customers in urban areas of Beijing and Shanghai to three working days at the fastest. "We will continue to improve this service this year," Ghani said.
It is noteworthy that Chinese consumers like to shop using their mobile devices, and the penetration rate and usage of mobile devices is very high in China, which requires retailers to think mobile first when designing services, displaying products and simplifying customers' shopping experience, Ghani added.
"Moreover, Chinese consumers are sophisticated international shoppers with a high appreciation of authentic, high-quality products from all over the world, and always seek them out."
Market researcher eMarketer estimated that by 2020, a quarter of the Chinese population, or more than half of China's digital buyers, will be shopping for cross-border products, either directly on foreign-based websites or through third parties.