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Rachel Wur from alibaba.com sits down for a Q&A with WCB

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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My name is Rachel, marketing manager of Alibaba.com Global Supplier Development Department. I’m now mainly focused on introducing Alibaba.com, a world-class international e-marketplace, to the Thai market so that Thai SMEs can expand their sales to markets all over the world.

1.     Hello and thank you for the interview! Would you like to introduce yourself?

Rachel WurMy name is Rachel, marketing manager of Alibaba.com Global Supplier Development Department. I’m now mainly focused on introducing Alibaba.com, a world-class international e-marketplace, to the Thai market so that Thai SMEs can expand their sales to markets all over the world. I joined Alibaba.com 2 years ago. Before, I have studied and worked in the US for quite a while.

2.     What makes Alibaba.com special from other e-commerce websites?

Alibaba.com was established in 1999 with a dream to help SMEs grow their business through the internet, it was originally founded as a trading platform to help small manufacturers in China export their products overseas. Since then, Alibaba.com has grown into a global online marketplace for small companies around the world to identify potential trading partners and interact with each other to conduct business online. Alibaba.com now is a global e-commerce platform for small businesses. As of June 30, 2012, Alibaba.com had 29.4 million registered users from more than 240 countries and regions and showcased 2.5 million supplier storefronts. Alibaba.com has been recognized as No. 1 website in E-commerce category, No. 1 website in international business and trade category, as measured by Alexa.com.

3.     What tools do Alibaba use to get your clients?

As a world class E-marketplace, both buyers and suppliers from all over the world have visited our website for sourcing and selling on the daily basis. Suppliers can sign up as an Alibaba.com members to post their products and set up an online storefront at Alibaba.com; Buyers an source products and suppliers by product keyword searching or posting a Request for Quotation at Alibaba.com. In Thailand market, there are about 249,000+registered users  with up 22% year on year, and an average of 3800+ new registered users per month in the past year.

4.     How do you promote customer’s product (supplier) to buyers?

Alibaba HQ2Suppliers can create an Alibaba.com account for their own online mini-site to promote their products to buyers all over the world. Their products will then show up in buyer search results where relevant. Free membership: Applicable suppliers: Those just starting with international trade and e-commerce. This offers basic functions such as posting a buying request, displaying up to 50 products and creating an online storefront Verified membership: Applicable suppliers: Budget-conscious exporters who want more buyer trust, buyer access and better product rankings at no additional cost. In addition to the features of free membership, verified members enjoy a verified logo displayed on their mini-site and company profile to show their company’s credibility; receive a higher ranking in product listings above thousands of other un-verified members; and receive greater visibility with 4-5 times more inquires from buyers compared with free members.Gold Supplier membership: Applicable suppliers: Exporters who want 1-on-1 service and support and are ready to leverage all of Alibaba.com’s tools and maximize the benefits of e-commerce. Gold Supplier offers verification by reputable third party companies like Verisign and Intertek,  more tools to promote brand awareness such as professional, tailor-made mini-site templates, video uploading and the opportunity to participate in special product promotions on the website. It offers the highest listing priority in buyer searches to maximize company exposure, exclusive access to buyers, detailed online performance analysis and a  dedicated customer care program.

5.     How do you market your international customers?

International customers are marketed just as Chinese suppliers are, but gold suppliers receive priority in search rankings and promotions over free members. We have set up many special sourcing channel sites for different countries—including Thailand, the USA, India, Vietnam, Japan, etc.—which are linked from the Alibaba.com homepage. Buyers can also filter search results by country if they want to source from a specific market.

Alibaba HQ

6. Why Alibaba.com chose to expand their market to Thailand?

What’s impressed me the most is how passionate Thai people are about their products—their passion is not just about making deals or profits, but about spreading their high quality products—food, jewelry, crafts, auto parts– all over the world. At Alibaba.com, we share this same passion and pride for e-commerce and for connecting small businesses or consumers through the internet. That is why I think Alibaba.com and Thai businesses are such a great match. Why we came to Thai?  Because our buyers are looking for Thai products; There are  so many unique and attractive products here, such as Thai rice, well-designed Thai crafts, kinds of Thai foods. And Thai is one of the biggest auto parts export countries in the world. All these products are the most popular products buyers are looking for in Alibaba.com. In addition, Thai is one of the Top 10 countries our buyers would like to source from as well.

7. What strategies does Alibaba.com use to develop the Thai market?

The overarching driver for Alibaba.com’s market development efforts in Thailand is Education. We believe firmly in the quality of Thai products, particularly in key industry verticals such as Agriculture, Apparel, Auto parts, Food & Beverage, Gifts & Crafts and Jewelry, and thus seek to educate Thai suppliers on how e-commerce can help them market these products to global buyers. Our Education efforts center on general e-commerce benefits and the specific benefits and tools of the Alibaba.com B2B platform. However, we also offer in-depth training on key issues like product description and photography keys, assessing buyer inquiries and buyer needs, communicating with buyers and more. The partnership with Web Courses is a crucial step in bolstering our efforts to train and educate Thai businesses and entrepreneurs in ecommerce. We have co-hosted events with like-minded partners, namely the Department of International Trade Promotion and Bangkok Bank, to reach a wider audience of Thai business people. We have an official MOU with the DITP and have hosted them at Alibaba.com headquarters in Hangzhou. Like Alibaba.com, they are very focused on e-commerce education in Thailand. We also attend trade shows in key industries in order to meet more quality suppliers and talk to them about Alibaba.com in person.

8. How do you Alibaba.com and Web Courses Bangkok become partner? And why do you choose us?

Alibaba.com is teaming up with Web Courses Bangkok, one of Thailand’s leading e-commerce training centers, to better serve and educate our Thai customers. Together we’ve created a unique and exciting training course aimed at helping Thai exporters market their products to global buyers more effectively. Web Courses is based in Bangkok and a leading provider of web, graphic design, ecommerce and digital photography courses. Web Courses is proud to be the first ever officially licensed Alibaba.com training center. The Alibaba E-commerce course is split into two main sections. The first half is the theory of how to improve your export business using the Alibaba.com platform and the second half is practical applications and feedback on your business profile. The six hour-long course is delivered by industry experts to small groups in an interactive format to guarantee you receive special attention according to your needs! Besides the Alibaba.com E-commerce program, the center offers a range of courses, including photography, Web marketing, Adobe Photoshop and WordPress training. We believe Web Courses shares Alibaba.com’s passion for technology, e-commerce and helping small businesses succeed. Additionally, Web Courses is clearly very passionate about education and making a difference in the lives of its students. This is really important to us.

Alibaba HQ

9. What benefits will the customers get from our partnership?

The partnership will also allow Thai businesses to:

1) Register for Alibaba.com’s special new Verified Membership at the Web Courses center for FREE

2) Enjoy 30% off Premium Gold Supplier Membership ($900 off on membership fee)

3) 10% off any additional Web Courses training.

10. What specific skills are needed to improve the ranking on Alibaba.com?

  • Open Discussion Getting to know more about you, your company and how the course will benefit your company.
  • Alibaba.com Platforms A look into the many platforms and resources Alibaba.com has to offer.
  • Why Use E-Commerce The various key benefits of using e-commerce and how to deal with buyer concerns.
  • International Customers Understanding how to align your business to international requirements.
  • Banner Design The WCB team will work with you to create a fantastic banner for your profile using Adobe Photoshop.
  • Product Descriptions A detailed look at how to write accurate product descriptions that improve your ranking and promote customers to buy.
  • Product Photography You will learn the key factors to creating accurate and beautiful images that sell your product in the best possible way.
  • How To Improve Your Ranking We teach you 10 ways to improve your ranking, these techniques come directly from the Alibaba.com team.
  • Verified Membership WCB now offers the ability for attendees to become Verified Members which can instantly improve your product listing ranking.
  • Responding to RFQs and Enquiries How to close the deal! Here we look at turning potential leads into long term customers.
  • Turning Complaints into Opportunities How to deal with complaints and how to avoid them. A key aspect is turning a complain into an actual opportunity.
  • Ali Gold We cover the benefits of becoming a gold member and the many benefits to you as an international supplier.

 

11. How does one get started selling products on Alibaba.com?

1. Create  an Alibaba.com account
2. Complete your company profile
3. Start displaying products—upload product photos, make sure the product titles are accurate and the product description provides the key details. This will give you better rankings in search results.
4. Start communicating with buyers. Make sure you use Trade Manager, the instant messenger tool, so that buyers can contact you easily. Also, post selling offers and monitor buying requests.

Thanks! Best, Rachel

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