As online overseas shopping gets popular, e-commerce platforms that provide such services also become hot among consumers. Some business professionals within the e-commerce industry actually see it as the last ‘sweet cake’ that the industry has to offer. As such idea grows more widely-accepted and the market and demand grow larger, a great number of cross-border e-commerce platforms emerge in the country to strike for their fair share of the online overseas shopping sector.
Such e-commerce platforms as haitaocheng.com, kjt.com, and ymatou.com which has its own logistics team, were almost all based on C2C model, resembling the very e-commerce giant Taobao. Tmall Global (Tmall.hk) is exactly the online overseas shopping version of Tmall, a complete replicate that only offers more services related to online overseas shopping. Last year, JD launced its online overseas shopping service bloomingdales.com, Alibaba’s Tmall Global rolled out to the market, and yhd.com teamed up with ymatou.com to open quanqiumall.com. All these moves are no doubt signifying that e-commerce giants are targeting the online overseas shopping sector with big data as their advantage.
When such e-commerce platforms are blossoming, however, due to immaturity in many aspects, they have also become a major focal point which consumers complain about. Different and unpredictable suppliers and fake merchandise factories make it hard for consumers to shop for authentic products of good quality they desire, increasing the chance of getting fake products after going through all the process to get merchandise from overseas.
Even though JD’s CEO Liu Qiangdong had personally gone to Korea to supervise the merchandise sources and jumei.com and KAOLA.COM had got their products licensed, still consumers are complaining a lot about the products they received. Given these circumstances, it’s still incredibly hard to prevent fake merchandise from flocking into such e-commerce platforms and into the hands of consumers.
According to the 2015 Chinese E-Commerce User Experience & Complaints Monitoring Report, online shopping is still the very sector that has received the most complaints. Actually, online overseas shopping has entered the top three on the black list with a 16.55% complaint rate.
In the first half of this year e-commerce businesses’ complaint rate has jumped by 2.03%, among which the top three are the online shopping sector, O2O sector, and mobile e-commerce sector. The online shopping sector has been unfortunate and its complaint rate has hit 33.86%, ranking as the top one on the list while the O2O sector online overseas shopping sector have a complaint rate of 26.9% and 16.55% respectively.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that 12 e-commerce platforms including mia.com and beibei.com have a complaints resolution rate of less than 50% and they are still the top 20 online retailers ranked by the satisfaction rate of the consumers. Compared to last year, the number of complaints that the e-commerce platforms above and other 9 platforms have received has in fact increased.
Recently a Weibo user named WITS made a complaint about the Japanese brandBetta milk bottle she bought on mia.com, saying that the merchandise that came was not imported from Japan. The complaint went viral and caused a great number of consumers to question the supply sources of such e-commerce platforms. The chain reaction didn’t stop there, even e-commerce giants that ran import e-commerce such as JD.com, Amazon, and Tmall were also affected and had their relevant products off their sites.
On July 31th this year, WITS discovered that the 3 Betta milk bottles she had bought from mia.com, which mia.com claimed to be 100% authentic, licensed, and made in Japan, were not the same as those she got directly from the official website. Whether it’s the bottle scale or the packaging etc. all appeared to be different from those from the official website. WITS then suspected that what she had bought were fake and contacted the customer service to ask for a refund.
Unfortunately, even though mia.con allows its customer to ask for a refund within two weeks, products such as milk bottles, pacifiers, and tableware don’t enjoy the refund policy due to hygiene and safety concern if the products don’t have quality issues. After trying to ask for a refund several times and failed, WITS decided to make an official complaint to the industry and commerce department who, however, didn’t support her complaint. On August 11th , the industry and commerce department told WITS that mia.com had all the needed papers and documents to prove the authenticity of their products, and therefore the department didn’t support her complaint.
Although the authority had made the verdict that favored mia.com, still some careful netizens found out that the manufacturing of the Japan-made ‘Betta’ milk bottles on mia.com were not licensed by the actual trademark holder of Betta. The Betta milk bottles on mia.com were actually from an independent Chinese company.
This Chinese Betta company is an affiliated company of Yisaisi. According to information on sbj.saic.gov.cn, Yisaisi had applied many trademarks that were similar to Betta such as BETTA, BETTE BABY BOTTLE, BETTE BABY FIRST, Betta Doctor etc. on some milk bottle products.
So far, Yisaisi still fails to get the Betta trademark in its hands. This Chinese company tried to take away the Betta trademark in the country first and teamed up with e-commerce giants such as mia.com and JD to sell its products. But, their products were indeed manufactured by some Japanese companies they contracted in Japan.
Ymatou.com’s CEO Zeng Bibo stated that the key to guaranting product authenticity on online overseas shopping platforms lied in the thresholds for good suppliers and the risk-control mechanism set up by the platforms.
“Having your products licensed doesn’t necessarily prove that your products are authentic. During the purchase of merchandise and the shipping process, the products could be replaced by fake merchandise. Even in the level of licensing, companies can still fake it,” Zeng said. “The best way to improve the situation is set up stricter entering threshold for the suppliers, and work on the aspects of the logistic process, refund and customer complaint mechanism to further standardize the platforms.”
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @TMTpost, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Garrett Lee (Senior Translator at ECHO), working for TMTpost.