chinese consumers

Using a cost-per-sale structure, Azoya is working with retailers and brands to penetrate the e-commerce Chinese consumer market.

Many fashion apparel brands and retailers have struggled with selling directly to consumers in China, said Don Zhao, cofounder and executive director of the Shenzhen-based company. The cross-border market, by its nature, is fraught with challenges — from financial and logistical to cultural and consumer behavioral, Zhao noted.

In response, Zhao and Alex Huang, cofounder and chief executive officer, created the company three years ago to serve as a one-stop, “turnkey” e-commerce solutions provider that serves as a bridge to the Chinese consumer for U.S., South American, Asian and European companies and brands.

Franklin Chu, managing director of the U.S. for the company, said Azoya works as a true and collaborative partner. Zhao added that Azoya is different than other marketplace providers, which “essentially sets up an e-commerce site and then relies on third-party vendors to do the rest.”

Azoya’s expansion in the market (the company now has over 35 global retail partners) comes as the Chinese consumer remains resilient and continues to evolve despite economic hiccups over the past few years. A recent report from McKinsey & Co. noted that Chinese shoppers continue to trade up from mass-produced products to premium ones. The firm said that “a rising proportion of Chinese consumers focus on a few brands, and some are becoming loyal to single brands.”

Don Zhao

Don Zhao 

Zhao and Chu told WWD that all aspects of cross-border e-commerce is managed by the company, which includes logistics, fulfillment and marketing. They specialize in creating localized site for brands. “We make cross-border e-commerce smoother,” Zhao said.

Under the hood is robust e-commerce cloud hosting and platform set up the company said, adding that warehousing, branding, customer service, supply chain finance and payment transactions settling is also part of the solution. The company also manages returns. And it serves as a consultant too.

Franklin Chu 

Setting up a Chinese site is done in four steps: First, a retailer or brand’s system is connected to Azoya’s system via an application program interface; Azoya then provides localized content and services; e-marketing is then done to build traffic, and then fulfillment of orders occurs, which includes localized payment, logistics and customer service.

Jim Buckle, chief operating officer of Feelunique, said in a testimonial that 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 U.K.”

For more business news from WWD, see:

Amazon, Wal-Mart and Apple Top List of Biggest E-commerce Retailers

Consumer Preferences Reshaping Retail Landscape

Study Shows Doing Business Globally Can Increase Payment Errors

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