Practical Guide to JD eCommerce for Small & Medium-Sized Brands

eCommerce has become one of the biggest industries in China today. Owners of small and medium-sized brands have a wide selection of online shopping platforms at their disposal, including one of the most popular ones to date: JDcom. Also known JingDong (京东), JD Marketplace is the second largest eCommerce website in China, having accumulated a total of 569.7 million active users as of 2021. Entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide have turned to JD Marketplace to promote and sell their brands to Chinese consumers in hopes of partaking in the country’s rapid eCommerce growth.

If you own a small or medium-sized business and are considering branching your brand out into a JD eCommerce journey, then read on to learn more about the platform and how you can get involved.

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What is JD Marketplace? 

As mentioned before, JD Marketplace is one of the most popular names in Chinese eCommerce. If you’re from the West, then the most accurate equivalent is that it’s China’s version of Amazon. Like Amazon, JD.com offers a wide range of products including fashion, technology, household items, and even groceries; JD Marketplace is a one-stop shop for everything you could possibly want or need.

Today, JD Marketplace and its popularity are only becoming more relevant in the Chinese market as time goes by. It started out as a physical store that mainly focused on magneto-optical items. The website itself, JD.com, only came to be in 2004; this is when it began gaining traction as an authentic supplier of different types of technology. Now, JD eCommerce continues to grow, having generated over 470 million buyers as of 2021.

As one of the biggest eCommerce retailers in China, JD offers a cross-border program to brands and companies all over the world.

Like its counterpart Tmall, JD has put a lot of effort into building its reputation with Chinese consumers and thus only allows high-quality merchants on its online platform.

Why is JD eCommerce a Great Way to Sell in China?

As a small or medium-sized brand, gaining access to a platform with extensive reach and audience can benefit your business greatly. Let the numbers speak for themselves; by December 2021, it was reported that China had a total of 1 billion people that were active on the internet. In addition to that, a total of 842 million people made at least one purchase on an eCommerce platform. Considering the massive audience that JD Marketplace has, it’s truly one of the best places to start out as a new seller in the Chinese market.

Selling on JD Marketplace also comes with benefits specifically for foreign sellers, such as easy access to the market and easier processing for registration requirements. We’ll talk more about this later on.

jd ecommerce

The platform has the most sophisticated logistics services and warehouses out of all Chinese eCommerce companies. Indeed JD logistics represent a strong network of warehouse spread out all over China, allowing for next-day delivery but also crossborder logistics which is incredibly convenient for international retailers.

Different Selling Models in JD eCommerce

There are 3 types of sales models under JD eCommerce. While they may look similar, they’re quite different. Here is a brief description of each one to help you understand them better.

Direct Sales (JD.com)

This sales model involves transactions managed and generated by JD only. They find the products and source them from different suppliers. Afterward, these products are sold on their website and posted on other official platforms, such as their mobile channels. Sales are managed and fulfilled directly by JD, hence the name of the model. This sales model is what helped JD eCommerce reach the top of the market as one of the biggest providers of home appliances and technology for Chinese consumers.

JD Marketplace

Unlike direct sales from JD.com, JD Marketplace allows third-party sellers to use their platform to sell their goods and services. Orders and transactions are primarily managed by the sellers; JD Marketplace simply acts as a bridge to connect business owners in the Chinese market to their accessible and popular shopping platform. JD Marketplace also offers useful features to help sellers enhance the performance of their brands, such as fulfillment services, advertising and promotional options, and more.

JD Worldwide

Evident by its name, this sales model specifically targets foreign sellers who want to try their hand in the Chinese market. Like the JD Local Marketplace, JD Worldwide allows third-party sellers from around the globe to use its platform as a means to gain profit and brand awareness from Chinese consumers. It is a cross-border platform that allows buyers to purchase items from foreign brands, shipping their items directly from overseas to their doorstep by collaborating with their multiple partner logistic companies.

Types of Stores on JD eCommerce

Like the sales models, there are also different types of stores on JD Marketplace. They are the following:

  • Brand Flagship Stores: These stores sell foreign products that are licensed overseas. These certificates must be presented before selling.
  • Outlet Stores: These stores require the Class 35 trademark, which must be presented before selling.
  • Franchised Stores: These also require products to be licensed and trademarked overseas. Certificates must be presented before proceeding to sell on the platform.
  • Exclusive Stores: These are slightly different from other store types because sellers need to present where the products are sourced and provide proof of their presence. These stores can also sell different categories of items, allowing two categories per seller.

How to Become a Seller on JD eCommerce

You can become a seller on JD Marketplace by following these easy steps:

  1. Become an Authorized Seller: You can become an authorized seller on JD Marketplace by passing all of the necessary requirements. Before anything else, you should read through their merchant contract. Keep a checklist and double-check all of your requirements to avoid delays in the process. Once you’ve fulfilled your requirements, you can move to the next step.
  2. Set Up Payment Options: Your profit will be directed to your JD Wallet, so make sure to set this as one of your priorities. Take note that JD eCommerce only transacts with foreign sellers through USD, so you need to prepare a registered bank account in the United States of America beforehand.
  3. Create Your Account: Creating your account should be fairly easy. You just need to register on the site and input all the information that they ask for. If you’ve finished going through the merchant contract, submit that to proceed with the application process.
  4. Wait for Approval: It can take a few days for your application to be approved, so you need to be patient and play the waiting game until then. You can monitor the status of your application on the JD Marketplace platform. Once the status says that you’ve been approved, you can add the finishing touches to your account, such as your personal information. Once you pay the indicated fees, you’re good to go!

Additional Requirements for Foreign Sellers on JD Marketplace

You’ll have to prepare a few additional documents and requirements if you plan on selling your goods on JD Marketplace or JD Worldwide. Here’s a list of the basic requirements:

  • You should be established as a Foreign and Non-Chinese company.
  • Your brand and products must be licensed under your company.
  • You need to have a previous record as a foreign seller.
  • You should have a Chinese customer service team on standby to handle all customer concerns.
  • Shipping should not take more than 72 hours and returns can only be made through centers in Mainland China.
  • This is optional, but JD Marketplace prefers foreign brands that haven’t debuted in the Chinese market yet.

In the latest news, JD and Shopify have a partnership that offers an accelerated onboarding process for overseas companies. The idea behind facilitating the registration process through Shopify (well-known eCommerce cms in the west) is for JDcpm to become more attractive to foreign companies and thus stay competitive with the rise of e-commerce companies such as Pinduoduo.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Much Does it Cost to Start Selling on JD Marketplace?

The pricing and fees depend on how well your business does. Like other eCommerce platforms that host third-party sellers, JD Marketplace asks for platform fees such as commissions, deposits, and annual fees. The total cost of selling on JD Marketplace could also depend on the niche and category of the products you’re selling.

Before anything else, you need to pay a deposit of $15,000 USD. This technically isn’t a fee; it’s more of a requirement. You can process a refund for this later on. You also need to pay a service fee of $1,000 USD. Lastly, you need to pay 2% to 8% commission for every item you sell. This is a norm for most eCommerce platforms, so it’s nothing new. The specific commission rate will depend on the item’s sales and popularity.

Do You Need to Have a License to Sell in China?

Certain products and categories require additional documents. For example, if you’re selling skincare and beauty products, you’ll have to file for a hygiene license with the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). It’s a long and elaborate process, but JD eCommerce offers one way for foreign sellers to skip this step: by using JD Worldwide.

JD Worldwide is a cross-border eCommerce platform, which means that it operates by allowing Chinese consumers to order their items from foreign brands that are located overseas. Technically, the items are being sourced from foreign countries and imported into China, so that eliminates the need for additional paperwork or licensing. Chinese consumers can have their products shipped directly to their doorstep as well. JD Worldwide has been collaborating with multiple foreign logistic companies, such as Australia Post, YAMATO, and DHL. JD worldwide also has its own foreign logistics and fulfillment options.

How to Optimize Listings on JD Marketplace

JD Marketplace has certain requirements for its listings, but they aren’t too difficult to meet. First of all, your listings should be written in Mandarin. It’s better if you hire a real person as a translator instead of using a free online translator like Google Translate since those programs are prone to mistakes and confusing meanings. Write in simple sentences that are easy to understand for both your title and description. The title should clearly state what the product is while the description must be equipped with complete details about the product, such as what it’s for, how to use it, and what it’s made of.

Chinese consumers prefer listings with a lot of photos as a reference before they complete a purchase. For the best results, include at least five to ten pictures in your listings. If possible, take pictures of the actual products in different settings and lighting to accurately capture what it looks like.

JD Marketplace VS TMall: What’s the Difference?

JD eCommerce and TMall face head-to-head as two of the biggest shopping platforms in China. Today, TMall still stands as the number one eCommerce site, but JD Marketplace is a close second. Listed below are a few key differences between the two platforms:

1. Popular Products categories

JD Marketplace and TMall are popular in their own ways. Although they’re both versatile and widely known for their broad range of products, both platforms have categories that they’re better known for. TMall is known for providing the latest trends to Chinese consumers; it focuses greatly on fashion, apparel, and beauty products. Meanwhile, JD Marketplace mostly targets technology, appliances, and household items. In short, TMall is well known for its ability to provide the latest trending items, while JD Marketplace has been branded as an authorized seller of the most cutting-edge and authentic technology on the market.

2. Target Audience

Judging by the vast differences in categories that they are known for, you can tell right away that JD marketplace and TMall have their own set of unique audiences. TMall caters mostly to middle-class consumers who are part of the millennial and post-millennial age groups. Its consumers are mostly from areas such as Yangtze Delta, Guangdong Province, and Central Plain.

JD Marketplace and its products, on the other hand, are most popular among all income types, equally divided between each one. Their target age groups are mostly composed of millennials and members of Gen X. As for the areas, buyers from JD Marketplace are often from places such as North China and the Si Chuan Province.

The Bottom Line

It’s worth giving JD Marketplace and JD eCommerce a shot if you’re a foreign seller hoping to expand your reach to the online retail industry in China. JD Marketplace is one of the most accessible platforms in the country for overseas stores; with its wide array of features and its massive audience, your eCommerce career in China will be off to a great start!

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