EHK Talks to EBay about Future of HK’s E-commerce – Part ll
This interview with eBay’s Michelle Leung was conducted and condensed by Hannah Leung of EntrepreneurHK (EHK).
eBay’s Michelle Leung talks cross border trade and the future of Hong Kong’s e-commerce market.
RSVP here for eBay’s Free Event: ‘How HK Startups Can Sell Globally on eBay’.
What are the challenges to selling on eBay?
Michelle: In online e-commerce, the challenge is that the buyer has never met that seller. So we encourage communication between the buyer and the seller. The seller should have a clear description of the products, to make it easy for buyers to understand. Our sellers are very creative.
What are some of the fastest growing markets right now?
Jun: Russia is a fast growing market. We have Russia buyers who like to buy high end products. We are selling to a lot of developing countries, Brazil, Argentina, etc..
However, the top five developed markets (US, UK, Australia, Germany, Canada) will continue to offer great potential, and we expect continuous growth for Hong Kong sellers in these markets.
What does eBay have in store for the future?
Michelle: These two years, we have been focusing on overseas warehouses. To reduce friction from shipping, we encourage our sellers to set up overseas warehouses. Buyer expectations are increasing everyday; they expect the same retail experience online and offline. A lot of our sellers have developed warehouses in the US, Australia, UK and Latvia for example. Going forward, I think overseas warehouses are going to be a big source of development, in terms of improving buyer experience, and processing returns easier. You can ship products to the warehouse at very low cost shipping. You can have it delivered to your buyers in one day. You can even compete with the domestic sellers. It’s a key of success in the future.
Jun: The other one is mobile. eBay is very focused on the mobile experience. Our buyers go through multi-screen experiences. They will search on their iPhone on the mall, iPad at work, and then buy on the computer at home. About 60% of the buyers expect a multi-screen experience. This is the key of success in the future.
Jun Lam, eBay’s Program Manager
How can startups and SMEs in Hong Kong use eBay to boost sales?
Jun: We have a strong team in place dedicated to providing services to sellers. For start-ups and SMEs who go through us – we offer them marketing insights, which differ from country to country. We’ll help them learn how to be successful. We’ll suggest API solution to help them manage the product properly. This is a free service for Hong Kong sellers. We encourage our HK SMEs to come to our seminars. We have trading assistants to teach them how to do listings and take pictures. Some of our sellers have been to events and so they also know each other, and they try to help each other. In our new seller program, we have a relationship with the sellers. My advice to every SME is to start today. Get familiarized with our policies, from shipping to after sales.
Michelle: Though eBay, you can reach global customers. We have a platform that offers a global reach. We have over 152 million active users in the world. eBay is definitely a channel that can be leveraged – we have the team in place to help them succeed, and we provide cross border trade solutions to them, from shipping to financing solutions, to business consultation.
What do you think are the challenges for start-ups in Hong Kong?
Michelle: There are a lot of advantages operating a business in Hong Kong. Access to competitive products, great logistics, abundant talent in internet and technology, great customer service mindset of the sellers, so on and so forth. I think one thing that is a challenge for our sellers is the high cost of labor. The cost of labor in Hong Kong is higher than China. To hire someone and maintain that person is challenging. We encourage our sellers to empower their employees so they feel like they’re part of the business and their efforts will pay off.
Another challenge is the warehouse. We suggest bringing your business online.
If you’re well prepared and you have experienced people, that reduces your chance of failure. The good thing about eBay is that the cost of an error is very long.
RSVP here for eBay’s Free Event: ‘How HK Startups Can Sell Globally on eBay’