Feelunique Expresses Confidence as Its Cooperation with Azoya Matures

Earlier last year, Azoya were introduced to feelunique through the Jersey Economic Development Department.Azoya launched feelunique’s Chinese eCommerce site in October 2015 to build feelunique's business in China.

by Azoya

feelunique is one of the largest online beauty retailers in Europe. Its leading position in the market has prepared itself well for a bigger market – China.

Earlier last year, Azoya were introduced to feelunique through the Jersey Economic Development Department. Jim Buckle, feelunique’s COO, later explained why he chose Azoya as feelunique’s strategic partner in China: “We were impressed by Azoya’s understanding of the challenges for an international eCommerce business selling cross-border into China and by their willingness to invest in building a business in partnership with us.” This remark highlights what differentiates Azoya from other pure service providers. Instead of only providing eCommerce services and managed operations, Azoya invests in its partners’ business in China and takes the responsibility to grow the business.

In October 2015, Azoya launched feelunique’s Chinese eCommerce site. Since then, the dedicated team Azoya assembled for feelunique has been working diligently to establish and cement feelunique's online presence in the China market.

Chinese cosmetics consumers’ purchasing habits are changing, specifically in younger demographics. They are moving towards online. This means a shift in marketing strategy and distribution within the cosmetics industry, with increasing emphasis on e-commerce. feelunique makes the right move to seize the opportunity and started selling to China via cross-border eCommerce. However, moving in is just the beginning of a long journey. There remains a lot of ground work to be completed, especially considering the complexity of the market. Before working with Azoya, feelunique was also making some sales to China. “We did not have a deep knowledge of how best to present our site to Chinese consumers, what brands to promote and what marketing channels to use. Azoya has provided this knowledge.” Said Jim Buckle.

Here are what Azoya does to deliver its promises for Feelunique:

The first and most important part is brand building. Chinese consumers are becoming more particular when picking cosmetic products, not only in terms of quality, but also in terms of health and safety. Good news is, foreign brands, especially those manufactured outside of China, are more trusted than domestic brands. The same goes to retailers. However, even feelunique has the admiring capability of products sourcing, it still needs to find the right way to build its brand and eventually convince Chinese customers.

To reassure Chinese shoppers that they are buying directly from a Britain retailer, feelunique’s original site provides an entrance to its Chinese site. After a customer places order, the parcels will be shipped to her/him directly from UK. The real-time tracking information can be accessed by mobile devices and web, which further reassures the customers they are not buying from an untrustworthy third-party agent.

With the concern over authenticity being alleviated, a competitive price would be another surprise. Traditionally, overseas beauty brands are sold to China through layer-by-layer chartered agents with at least 20-30% price uplift in each layer, causing the price being doubled in China. Moreover, there’re endless certification and registration requirements from the Chinese government. By contrast, the products feelunique offers to Chinese customers are of the same price as the UK site. The prices on Chinese site are calculated according to the real-time currency rate, meaning Chinese customers can buy their favorite European cosmetic products in the same price, without any extra cost except shipping fee.

Another step to consolidate the result in brand building is to ensure an optimized shopping experience. Although Chinese consumers love to buy foreign brands, they have diversified specific needs that only local experts know how to meet. To reflect the timely demands of Chinese customers, Azoya assembles a specialist team to hand-pick the products to be sold. Chinese consumers also have nicknames for cosmetic products. They refer to various products when they discuss beauty issues at online communities. To help them find the right products through search engine or in-site search, feelunique adds nicknames to all products that have nicknames.

Chinese customers’ low brand loyalty has long been a headache for foreign retailers. Although it’s difficult to establish a loyal customer base in China, retailers must try it. What Azoya helps to do is to set up a dedicated social media team to engage with customers in social media platforms, especially in Wechat and Weibo. In order to draw customers’ attention and retain them for further campaigns, the team frequently interacts with them by releasing incentive-driven games.

“Working with Azoya we are able to have a Chinese language version of our site, which meets the expectations of the Chinese consumer, supported by relevant local marketing. Importantly, we have a partner that understands the local market and the local customer in a way that we are unable to do from the UK. The project launched very quickly so this inevitably has meant not everything ran smoothly but when problems arise they are quickly fixed.” So said Jim.

The preliminary result is satisfying, with GMV increasing at a growth rate of 129% quarterly. Registered users grow steadily at a rate of 138% quarterly. It’s worth noting that this outcome is not achieved by cutthroat price competition, rather, it’s profitable and sustainable. As the operation matures and customer base grows, feelunique is set to reap the rewards from China.

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