If you want to sell your company’s products in China, you need to start with the Tmall marketplace. Indeed, this platform allows not only the sale of products, but also the implementation of paid marketing and content marketing strategies.

What is Tmall

Tmall is a B2C online store owned by Alibaba born in 2008. It is the leading online shopping platform in China. In fact, it occupies 63% of the market and has 780 million monthly active users. Being a generalist marketplace, it offers consumers all kinds of products from more than 180,000 brands.

Authorized brands and retailers have a presence on Tmall through the creation of a true Flagship Store that can be graphically customized. This enables successful promotion of brand identity. Not only that, it also helps to create a highly curated user experience, almost as if the user is actually in the store.

The Flagship Store on Tmall can be single-brand, authorized or multi-brand. To open it, it is necessary to follow a procedure that can take up to several months. Reason why it is always better to properly inform yourself and take into account the timeline when preparing to enter this large platform.


Tmall Homepage

Tmall’s criteria and benefits

In addition to being China’s leading e-commerce platform, Tmall has other advantages:

– It has a simplified payment process, in which buyers do not need to use a credit card. In fact, you can finalize your purchase through the Alipay electronic payment system.

– Only original and verified brands are accepted.

– Sellers have an excellent analytical tool and periodic reports on sales trends.

– Tmall often launches shopping festivals to attract new consumption and stimulate sales. The most famous is Singles’ Day, which falls on November 11 and has some of the highest sales spikes of the year. According to statistics, on that date Tmall can generate 74.1 billion yuan in one day.

Sponsorship on Tmall

There are various ways to sponsor one’s products on Tmall. The two most effective activities are content marketing and paid marketing both within e-commerce and outside it. Indeed, remember that digital platforms are now closely interconnected and users travel from one to the other during their user journey. Moreover, Tmall, being owned by Alibaba, is part of an ecosystem of e-commerce platforms of the parent company to which it is closely linked. Of all of them, Taobao has always been the most interconnected with Tmall. In this regard, on Jan. 1, 2022, Alibaba unified the two platforms and consequently the users and merchants as well.

Content marketing on Tmall

1. Live streaming

One of the most effective channels to drive traffic on Tmall while doing content marketing is the Taobao Live streaming platform. Taobao Live is a channel that is increasingly being used by brands (luxury and non-luxury). Brands initiate partnerships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), who promote products selected by the brands in their live streams. During the live streaming, users are prompted to purchase through clicking on pop-up icons of the presented products. So the attractiveness and curiosity phase of customers is acted upon, with Call To Action and direct links to the Flagship Store. Doing so increases conversion rates. Often then coupons or limited benefits are used to further stimulate sales.

2. Good Goods

Good Good also known as the Product recommendation section is a section within the homepage of Tmall and Taobao that collects articles shared by KOLs. As with the newsletters on WeChat, this is brand-sponsored content within which images and product descriptions are included. Finally, the direct link to the product page cannot be missed here either. However, there is a peculiarity: only limited edition products, born from special collaborations or parts of special capsule collections, can be offered. They must, in short, be unique products and not always available on the market.

3. Taobao Toutiao

This section is very similar to the previous one. Within it, items are divided by product category. Even here, however, there are rules imposed by the platform that must be respected. Unlike Good Goods, on Toutiao they cannot publish all KOLs, but only those of high category, therefore very famous. Articles must not contain less than 300 characters and 3 images. They must also be about lifestyle topics or a trending topic of the moment.

4. Weitao

Unlike Good Goods and Taobao Toutiao, Weitao is its own newsletter section of the Flagship Store. This means that it is directly managed by the Store Operator. Weitao is thus the store’s official channel for doing content marketing, stimulating curiosity about products online, and increasing brand awareness on Tmall. The content created and published by the operator consists of a graphic part, a text part, and classic product links.

Content marketing outside Tmall

In today’s digital landscape, Chinese consumers no longer follow a linear path toward the decision to purchase a product. They are reached by various channels of information, purchase and service before choosing. Reason why Tmall also necessarily needs to relate to other channels, especially social networks.

This strategy is called cross-channel marketing. It allows increasing lead generation and awareness on Tmall through traffic generated by social. So through connecting with these channels, not only the relationship with the user is improved, but also the transition to the e-commerce platform.

The most commonly used ways to link WeChate or Weibo content to Tmall are either QR codes or links that link directly to the product page or e-commerce homepage. The same process can also be done on Douyin and Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), two of the best emerging platforms right now to stimulate purchases. Again, direct links can be used in pop-ups or within posts with CTAs to purchase.

Tmall WeChat Douyin

Examples of lead generation to Tmall product pages from WeChat (through QR codes) and from Douyin (through links).

Paid marketing inside Tmall

1. Starshop

Starshop is an area dedicated to brand keyword. It takes the form of a customizable banner that appears after the brand keyword search. It appears in the first position, clear and distinct from all search results. It is an exclusive marketing channel for Tmall’s flagship stores, with a cost per thousand impressions (CPM).

2. Diamond Booth

Diamond Booth is used to do retargeting advertising on the Taobao mobile and PC homepage, via a customizable banner that links to the store. The channel has a CPM or CPC cost. It is recommended during official platform events to generate traffic and get more exposure of the store.

3. ZTC

ZTC (short for Zhi Tong Che) works as a kind of Google Ads. In fact, it allows advertisers to appear among the first in the Tmall search result based on user queries made with certain keywords.

4. Super Recommended

This tool too is also used to do advertising retargeting on the Taobao mobile and PC homepage via a “push” of a particular product, which appears as a suggestion in the product list.

Paid marketing outside Tmall

Last but not least, there is the possibility of doing paid advertising outside of Tmall. Usually the channels on which we recommend focusing your investments are the Baidu search engine and the social networks WeChat and Weibo. These, in fact, are among the platforms most frequented by the vast majority of Chinese users.