The Government Work Report delivered by the Chinese premier has mentioned cross-border e-commerce ten times in a row as of this year, indicating how important this sector is to China’s international trade. The cross-border e-commerce import and export in the country has enjoyed a boom in the past four years, increasing from just RMB 1 trillion (USD 150 billion) in 2018 to RMB 2.11 trillion (USD 310 billion) in 2022. Specifically, cross-border exports last year amounted to RMB 1.55 trillion (USD 230 billion), up 11.7% year-on-year.
Innovation in both technology applications and business models has been a driving force that brings new momentum to the cross-border e-commerce sector.
With the ending of the pandemic and the removal of travel restrictions, cross-border e-commerce marketplaces — home to millions of suppliers in the foreign trade industry — are making efforts to boost growth in the sector based on the major trends they have observed, namely social commerce, AI empowerment, and localization. DHGATE Group is one such example that illustrates this point.
An emerging social commerce and creator economy
Research firm Statista predicts social commerce will grow from about USD 724 billion in revenue in 2022 to about USD 6.2 trillion in 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate of 30.8%.
Behind this surge in social commerce is the rise of Generation Z, who can be content creators as well as social shoppers. There were around 50 million creators worldwide in 2020, according to SignalFire, a venture capital firm.
In a 2021 survey conducted among Gen Z and Millennials in the US, 62% said they made at least one purchase on their smartphone as a result of branded social media posts and/or content shared by content creators.
For example, Big Mouth, a major content creator in Asia, moves millions of products every year to buyers on social media platforms. Big Mouth, who works for T97, a coffee company, has moved USD 150 million worth of products through a partnership in months. She was the main marketing channel for this coffee company that made USD 1 billion in revenue.
To support this movement, DHGATE Group launched MyyShop, a cross-border social commerce platform, in late 2020 to help suppliers leverage social media content creators to sell more products and to allow creators to monetize their influence on social media platforms.
The company plans to connect 1 million online content creators to MyyShop, who are expected to promote and sell goods worth USD 10 billion in the next three years. In addition, DHGATE Group aims to recruit and connect 1,000 merchants who can supply quality goods to MyyShop.
AI optimization is the future
ChatGPT has become a buzzword since it was released in November 2022, and many are amazed at the AI-generated content (AIGC) it can produce.
Instead of being preoccupied with the potentially adverse impact of artificial intelligence, companies need to leverage the power of AI to enhance productivity. DHGATE Group’s AI capabilities can optimize the content for merchants with a simple click, recommend the trendiest products to content creators, and combine parcels ordered to the same address in one day to save logistics costs. The AI capabilities empower merchants and creators with a range of features for an ecosystem that encompasses buyers, merchandise, and market trends.
For any company that moves beyond its home country to seek success beyond borders, localization is unavoidable. However, it is never easy for a company to establish a subsidiary in a different country and build a local team.
DHgate is a marketplace, hosting mostly micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and localization in a foreign market is not on the agenda for most of the companies due to the complexity. Taking this reality into account, the platform has sped up its localization in the United States recently to allow its partner MSMEs to enjoy the benefits of localization as well.
In addition to a local warehouse established some years ago, which allows buyers at DHgate to receive their order within a few days (a timespan comparable to fulfilment from local e-commerce platforms), DHGATE Group also launched an operation in the US this year improve its understanding and relationship with content creator buyers, by recruiting local talents to help the company understand and serve its local clients.
MyyShop made its debut this month at SXSW Creative Industries Expo, one of the largest gatherings of entrepreneurs, innovators, and disruptors in a wide variety of industries, such as technology and entertainment, in Austin, Texas. The MyyShop booth attracted thousands of visitors and showcased how this all-in-one platform could allow creators to quickly discover viral products, build customized stores, and earn commission on any sales they make through their store.
MyyShop also held an in-depth panel discussion session at SXSW Next Stage, on how social commerce is affecting the retail landscape in the US. In addition, billboards featuring MyyShop at the Austin International Airport, and Times Square, New York City, one of the iconic locations in the business world, delivered the key message that people can sell effortlessly on social media platforms.
In addition to these moves, DHGATE Group opened a brick-and-mortar DH Showroom in Los Angles early this year to give online content creators a better understanding of the supply chain capabilities of MyyShop, and see in person what they can bring to their followers on social media platforms.
DHGATE Group plans to open 100 such showrooms in the next three years in the US, mainly in California, New York, Texas, and Florida, so as to push its localization efforts to a new level. This move will also benefit millions of suppliers on its platform.
This article was contributed by DHgate and edited by KrASIA.