With Christmas on the horizon, kids favorite Toys“R”Us has made a big global ecommerce push after launching a retail site in China and hatching plans to introduce mobile-optimized sites and apps to 11 new markets, including the UK, Germany and Japan.
While the Western Christmas rush isn’t exactly replicated in China, a Buddhist country, the festivities and gift buying often spills out into Asian countries. However, more pertinently, the firm is the latest in a series of Western companies aiming to grab a slice of China’s increasingly lucrative ecommerce market, powered by its increasingly affluent middle classes and growing Internet access.
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Perennial China struggler eBay linked up with local Web retailer Xiu.com this month, while October saw Walmart close a deal that increases its holding in B2C ecommerce player Yihaodian to 51 percent. Online retail sales in China are expected to hit $360 billion by 2015, China Daily reports, and the country’s answer to the US’ Cyber Monday further illustrated the lure of the space for outsiders.
Market-leader Alibaba’s range of online shopping sites banked an incredible $3.1 billion in sales on the ecommerce bonanza day, held November 11. That’s more than double the $1.25 billion that comScore estimates US Cyber Monday brought in last year.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Western firms are keen to open themselves up to China. The move from Toys”R”Us comes after a series of deals to increase its presence in China. The firm bought up a majority 70 percent share of its Greater China and Asia business from Fung Retailing one year ago, and it currently operates 30 stores across China, having opened its first presence in Beijing three months ago.
The company isn’t solely focusing on China and it is also responding to the growth of mobile and tablets by preparing to introduce dedicated mobile websites and iOS and Android apps to give easier access for customers in Australia, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. Those plans will also see it merge its flagship Toys”R”Us store with its toddler-focused Babies”R”Us website to allow visitors to “navigate seamlessly” between the two.
“With the launch of our new ecommerce site in China and the addition of mobile shopping capabilities in our international markets, Toys“R”Us is more accessible now than ever before to customers around the globe,” said Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys“R”Us, Inc. “These initiatives help us advance the company’s international growth and omnichannel strategies, while allowing more customers to shop with us whenever, wherever and however they choose.”
The company says its international ecommerce business has seen “double digital growth” for each of the last two years, pulling in $1 billion in sales last year.
The growth plans come one month after Toys”R”Us introduce free shipping to 60 markets across six continents.
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