US based Ecommerce platform ShopRunner and Chinese Ecommerce juggernaut Alibaba have devised a strategic partnership to have the former sell directly to China.
The new joint endeavor comes one year after Alibaba purchased a 39% stake in ShopRunner for the amount of $202 million. The partnership differs from Alibaba’s main goal of selling from China all over the globe by doing the opposite, selling from the US to China via ShopRunner.
ShopRunner offers Ecommerce platforms for leading US based brands like RadioShack, Toys R’ Us, and GNC. The firm also offers an Amazon Prime-esk membership with free 2 day shipping and membership perks. While ShopRunner offers all of the Ecommerce solutions for major retailers such as payment processing and shopping carts, the merchants themselves are responsible for shipping the items to the customers.
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The partnership will not affect the represented US brands too much. ShopRunner and the merchant will send items directly to Alibaba’s logistics center after an item is ordered from China. Fro there Alibaba’s logistics will insure the order is delivered to the customer.
While Alibaba does support US merchant on its TaoBao and TMall Ecommerce websites, the merchants themselves are diluted amongst hundreds of thousands of other merchants. ShoppRunner currently supports 95 of the US’ leading brands, offering a more direct approach.
Alibaba will also be sorting out the issue of accepting paytments in China, presumably through its payment service AliPay.
“We know that there is a huge unmet need in China. There is a lot of IP traffic from Chinese people trying to buy from U.S. ecommerce sites but they hit a lot of friction along the way. There is a problem with the payment because most Chinese do not have international credit cards. Web forms do not allow for Chinese characters or for Chinese addresses,” stated Megan Hanley, ShopRunner’s chief marketing officer.