Why Nike Quit Amazon, but Doubles Down on Tmall
By: Asa Mazor-Freedman
Nike may have ended sales on Amazon in the US, but China’s major e-tailers are as indispensable as ever to the activewear label.
Only a day before Nike announced it will no longer sell directly on Amazon, the brand sold over one billion RMB (142 million USD) of goods during Tmall’s e-commerce extravaganza Singles Day (or Double 11). Nike sold the first hundred million RMB in a mere minute and forty-five seconds. Its assortment in the leadup to Singles Day increased 23% year-over-year, surpassing 2,200 unique products.
Nike may have chosen to forgo its partnership with Amazon, but working with local e-tailers has become vital for consumer brands in China. 100% of activewear brands now sell on Tmall, and 82% sell on rival JD.com.
As traffic to Baidu continues to decline and consumers begin their purchase journey on Tmall, the ecosystem is increasingly important as a content and marketing platform. According to Gartner L2’s most recent data, 96% of index activewear brands include video on Tmall, and 65% feature celebrity content on the platform. 83% of tracked activewear brands feature a “brand zone” at the top of search results, where brands put marketing messages front-and-center to crowd out third-party sellers.
Brands also collaborate with Tmall for data-driven marketing projects. The Tmall Innovation Center partners with brands to develop new products for the Chinese market, leveraging the platform’s vast consumer behavior and industry trend data. In August, Nike and Tmall hosted a cross-channel Super Brand Day activation, including a Beijing show with stars Scottie Pippen, Lil Ghost and G.E.M.
“The full integration of a Tmall brand store into its digital ecosystem has been critical to Nike’s success in the China market,” writes Gartner L2 Advisory Specialist Amie Song. Song advises brands to collaborate with Tmall to “tackle third party problems,” “access Tmall data” for personalization and “effectively integrate online and offline experiences.”