Any Other Business: 24 April 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at e-commerce trends from around the world, including the growth of fashion e-commerce in Africa, and the future role self-driving cars could play.   

Tmall Global increases support for new sellers

China’s online marketplace Tmall Global1 has unveiled an ambitious plan to add 1,000 new brands to its platform in 2020. The company, which helps international e-tailers reach the Chinese consumer market, already boasts an impressive community of 25,000 brands from 92 countries.

To achieve its goal, the company is ramping up its new-business incubation program, which it piloted last year. This includes speeding up its onboarding process to ensure new storefronts open within 30 days of registration; the launch of an English language customer service; and access to live streaming campaigns for top-performing sellers. Tmall Global hopes the program will help each new brand on its platform hit a sales target of RMB 1 million ($141,000) gross merchandise value within its first 90 days.

China is set to be the largest economy in the world by 2030. Learn about the opportunities trading in China can bring to your business here.


Africa’s catwalk lights up

In a continent rich in culture, color and creativity, it’s no surprise that Africa’s fashion e-commerce market is booming. New research from Statista2 estimates that revenue in the sector will reach $8.3bn in 2020, with projections of a 14.2% growth by 2024.

This growth is both within African countries, and on an international level, thanks to celebrities' endorsement of African designers which is raising their profile among non-African consumers. Last year, Beyoncé was spotted wearing a dress from the Senegalese designer Sarah Diouf’s Tongoro brand. Afrikrea, the online marketplace that enables African fashion SMEs to sell their clothes worldwide, says its biggest international market is the US, followed by France and the rest of the EU.

Africa’s thriving fashion sector is part of a wider e-commerce growth being enjoyed by the continent – Statista estimates that revenue will reach $27.7bn in 2020, rising to $47bn by 2024, driven largely by the under-35s.

Is your business making the most of the lucrative international markets? Our free E-commerce Country Guides are packed full of tips to help you sell globally.   

Tiger Beer uncages its relief package

Singapore-based Tiger Beer3 has launched a campaign to support food and beverage retailers in Asia as they weather the storm of COVID-19.

#SupportOurStreets is a rallying call for people to get behind their favorite food outlets by visiting the Tiger Beer website to donate $10. Each week, the money will be collated and sent to support some of the people who have lost their livelihoods since governments shut down food & beverage establishments across the region. For their contribution, consumers will receive two digital drink vouchers which can be redeemed when the outlets resume operations. Tiger Beer is kickstarting the campaign with a $100,000 contribution.

Our E-commerce during COVID-19 guide offers some top tips to help e-commerce brands adapt to the current crisis.

Aldi takes a (small) step into the e-commerce market

Aldi4 has begun selling groceries online in response to the current pandemic. The German discount retailer has launched a limited food parcel service in the UK to help vulnerable and self-isolating customers who may be unable to visit a supermarket. It will be the first time the retailer has sold groceries online, having previously offered only homeware and electrical equipment through its website.

The food parcels, which retail at £24.99, contain 22 essential food and toiletries products, including rice, soup, tea, and – of course – the much sought-after toilet paper. 

If you’re thinking of moving your business online too, our Golden Rules of E-commerce will get you started.

Self-driving cars swap passengers for groceries

In these unprecedented times, brands are working innovatively to adapt to changing demands.

In Irvine, California, residents who have ordered groceries through Yamibuy5 will have their purchases delivered to them by self-driving cars. The e-commerce platform has partnered with Chinese start-up Pony.ai6 to repurpose its fleet of self-driving electric robotaxis into an autonomous delivery service.

Pony.ai is more used to transporting passengers, but was forced to suspend normal operations due to the global lockdown. Now though, it will receive goods wholesale from Yamibuy and deliver them to customers’ doorsteps, using the cars’ safety drivers for the final drop. Each vehicle is expected to deliver around 100 packages per day.

Pony.ai’s cofounder James Peng believes that far from being a hurdle, the pandemic could be an accelerator of the move towards self-driving vehicles: “As autonomous driving is launched at scale, it can provide a much safer way of transportation … It’s certainly possible for the whole delivery service to be truly driverless.”

Read more about the Last Mile Delivery Revolution – and what it could mean for your e-commerce business.


Tmall Global


Tiger Beer