Sainsbury’s China Doubles Product Range On Tmall Global, Forgoes Offline Store


Sainbury’s China is increasing its product range online following the success of its trial with Tmall Global according to Insider Retail.

The British based supermarket is the second largest chain in the UK and is poised to release 100 more items, such as tea bags, coffee and pasta, due to increasing demand in the Chinese market.

Many customers also want to replicate tastes and occasions they have enjoyed or heard about through international travel.

Sainsbury’s started with Tmall last September, joining British retailers such as Asos, Burberry and fellow grocer Waitrose, which sell products on Alibaba’s Royal Mail online outlet. From this, the retail company is able to learn more about Chinese consumers, herby rolling out effective strategy which aims to fully utilize Chinese shoppers’ fondness of the British culture.

According to The Guardian, Sainbury’s will be the only international retailer highlighted during Tmall’s “Super Brand Day”, happening on August 8.

China is the biggest international consumer of British products online, accounting for 25% of overseas online shoppers purchasing goods from the UK, according to Royal Mail.

Operating online offers a way for brands keen to benefit from demand from China’s growing middle class without having to invest heavily. In 2010, Sainsbury’s considered opening stores in China, following Tesco, which developed a small chain but has since sold all but a 20% stake in its business there.

Sainsbury’s cross border online push highlights how Tmall is being used as a global platform for international brands to test their online strategy without having to risk investment in offline operations. The Alibaba owned marketplace is therefore paving ways for companies to do ecommerce, whilst supplying them with the logistics assistance and localized know-how.

Versions of this appeared in Retail News Asia and The Guardian on August 2 and July 31. Read the full versions here and here.