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'Cross-border gas stations' Cross-border e-commerce investors who compete in data will have more than short-term ROI in the future

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-12-20      Origin: Site

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'Cross-border gas stations' Cross-border e-commerce investors who compete in data will have more than short-term ROI in the future

Text | Chen Xining

Edit | Peng Xiaoqiu

The concentrated outbreak of overseas epidemics last year made cross-border e-commerce completely popular.Capital spends hundreds of millions on a project at every turn, and many companies will make all their money in the next 10 years.

For a time, it seemed that everyone who wanted to make money rushed into cross-border e-commerce.Because everyone firmly believes that the domestic epidemic is properly controlled and the mature supply chain can fully support most of the overseas online shopping demand.

In other words, the golden age for Chinese companies to go global may have officially begun.

It seems that the threshold for cross-border e-commerce is very low. You only need to open a store on a third-party platform to sell goods.But in fact, the entire process is extremely long and complex, such as product selection, operation and delivery, logistics, after-sales, etc.But the core of the final competition is traffic, that is, the delivery link.

So, is overseas placement the same as domestic placement?

When it comes to pitching, one group that cannot be ignored is 'pitchers'.As a position directly related to product customer acquisition, this identity in cross-border e-commerce has more independence and freedom.

Under the most extreme conditions, one person and a computer connected to the Internet can start a career as a 'cross-border e-commerce pitcher'.The logic of pitching is very simple. First analyze the customer/company needs, then put the customer/company products to different channels to attract traffic, and finally complete the conversion and order, and the whole process is over.

In the industry, many pitchers benefit from this experience and choose to transform into sellers.

Compared with other industry perspectives, because they are constantly dealing with traffic bidding, they sometimes even know better how to rely on domestic factories and supply chains to sell products at a lower cost and earn greater profits.

There are currently many active sellers on the market, especially independent sellers, many of whom have transformed into 'pitchers'.Among them, there are many myths about wealth creation with monthly turnover exceeding 100,000 US dollars, or even 1 million US dollars.

Obviously, behind these wealth-making myths, in addition to being familiar with the placement process, what is more important is enjoying the traffic dividend.

The reason why bonuses are called bonuses is because the time window is very short and subsequent competition is fierce.Regarding the entire cross-border e-commerce launch, what I want to answer through this article is:

1. How much money do early dividend holders make?

2. Are the current dividends still continuing? If it has become more expensive, what is the difference?

3. For the explosive station, when will the ceiling appear?

4. On what platforms may the new trends behind the rise of national trends appear?How should we plan ahead?

like a trader's pitcher

Many pitchers believe that the first wave of cross-border e-commerce dividends will be between 2015 and 2018.Afa, who had just returned from studying in the UK in 2014, earned his first pot of gold in four years during this period.With this pot of gold, I could almost use the full amount to buy a house in my hometown of Nanjing. The market price at that time was about 4.5 million.

According to him, the budget invested by him so far has exceeded US$100 million.

The reason why he entered this industry was not only because his first job was in a company that sells products to overseas markets, but he was also influenced by the rise of Cheetah in the international market.

He saw that Chinese companies can obtain huge traffic abroad, but instead of considering monetization after obtaining the traffic, perhaps cross-border e-commerce, a direct order-taking industry, is more suitable for individuals to participate, and will also be conducive to future entrepreneurship.So he switched careers and worked for a cross-border e-commerce company.

Xibao has the same experience as Afa. After she resigned from a cross-border e-commerce company in 2016, she began her career as a freelance optimization optimizer.

After becoming a freelance optimizer, Xibao’s customers mainly came from word-of-mouth.Like an intermediary between products and markets, she will analyze suitable product placement and sales channels for customers.

Independent websites focus on different social media platforms such as Google and Facebook (renamed Meta); opening a store on Amazon mainly focuses on Amazon advertising.After finalizing the delivery channel and investment funds, Xibao contacted a familiar agent to open an advertising account and conduct preparatory processes such as pre-recharge, and then the heavy work of the delivery optimizer officially began.

Xibao also frankly believes, 'You rarely lose money as a pitcher, because you spend the advertiser's budget and earn this part of the money. In the beginning, because of the traffic bonus, the purchase volume was more extensive, and the results were not bad. Many pitchers It’s not surprising that you can make money from the information gap. It’s not surprising to get rich overnight, but now it’s the Red Sea.'

For example, if the client's budget is $10 per thousand impressions, the price difference that the pitcher presses is the profit that can be earned.

In the past, due to the huge information gap, the profit spread of accurate pitchers who could constantly adjust their delivery strategies could be very high.If it is not accurate, you may not make much profit.Because advertising bidding is real-time, when more ads are focused on a time period or a group, if the ad is delivered to that group, the ad price will increase in real time.

Therefore, mature pitchers need to adjust the daily delivery ratio based on experience and market insights to keep costs as low as possible.Of course, there are moments of collapse.

For example, if the customer's investment budget is US$10, the pitcher may buy in batches during the day and control the average price at US$8.But a sudden change in traffic at night may cause the price to skyrocket to $20. Since the advertising account is automatically debited, the pitcher may lose tens of thousands of dollars in one fell swoop.

It is because of these logics that pitchers need to be like 'stock operators' and find their own gold-mining opportunities in the sky of rising and falling data.Whoever has a better sense of smell earns more.

According to Xibao, she has investment experience of over 10 million US dollars.'In this industry, you never know how much money other pitchers earn, so everyone will usually tell you the budget they have invested to tell you his experience value.' After all, in her opinion, this is something that does not need to be made public. Or maybe it’s the differences in each pitcher’s abilities and information gaps.

Take a pair of sunglasses as an example. The domestic cost is 10 yuan. In the past, as long as the general investment (without targeting the crowd) can attract orders, it will eventually be sold for 9.9 US dollars in the United States.These buying groups include drivers, couples, fashion industry, etc.

But now, because more people are taking it, pitchers are required to be more and more precise in catching users.It is also true that pitchers rarely communicate about their true income and methodology, and they will only tell you how much of the budget they have spent.

For pitchers, on the one hand, they must obtain the maximum benefit at the minimum cost, and on the other hand, they must be able to predict the next hit.Afa was once the person in charge of five explosive websites. Each website brought an average monthly income of US$1 million to his company at the time, and during special periods, the revenue could exceed US$2 million.

The strategy of selling explosive products is based on China’s strong supply chain, and it is still the main strategy for many cross-border e-commerce companies to achieve great sales.

In his opinion, the one thing he did right at that time was to successfully build a set of SOPs from product selection, traffic testing to final sales.

The first priority of a hot product website is to be fast. It must be fast to catch up with the popularity, it must be fast to explore the potential, and it must be fast to find the correct delivery path.Because there are almost no secrets in the advertising circle, when an independent website discovers the secret to a hit, millions of competitors will immediately follow suit, using the same advertising strategy and selling the same products.At this time, traffic becomes expensive, the supply chain becomes tight, and popular products become pure traffic-draining products with low profits.

It’s not easy to keep running a hotspot site.This requires close cooperation among delivery, operations, and technology.When a product becomes popular, there will be a sudden increase in website traffic. If the website crashes, the delivery must be stopped immediately, otherwise the delivery costs will be wasted. Users who come to shop through ads and find that the website is no longer have the risk of complaints.

On the other hand, customer service needs to constantly respond to email inquiries to enhance user trust.Of course, the most tiring thing is logistics.For example, at important moments like Black Friday, merchants around the world will increase their advertising budgets, traffic will be several times more expensive, and more orders will be brought. How to balance will always test the company's own inventory management capabilities.

Traffic becomes more expensive and the ceiling is coming

'Traffic has obviously become more expensive. In 2015-2016, the price we paid for an email lead was less than 2 US dollars, sometimes even only a few cents. Now it is at least 3-5 US dollars, and 5 US dollars cannot be exchanged for a conversion. '

Different from domestic ones, technology products are usually pre-tested on crowdfunding websites before being launched overseas. If any users are interested, they will leave their emails. This also becomes a customer clue for seed users. This is a common sales strategy. .

But now, with the participation of more Chinese sellers, in Nana’s eyes, some crowdfunding websites now have the flavor of overseas group buying platforms, and traffic involution is inevitable.

This has even spawned a mature business, in which crowdfunding platforms set up offices in China to cooperate with domestic sellers on 'buying volume'.

In addition to the 'official quota' becoming traffic involution, fraudulent orders are also inevitable.'No way, everyone is using it. If you don't use it, your product will not be easily seen. Those really creative products will have no traffic without a budget and cannot be used at all.' Nana sighed.

In addition, according to her, there are also some large domestic companies that put their products on crowdfunding websites for sale by changing vests.'For them, as long as the ROI is greater than 2, the budget can be unlimited. As long as they spend crazy money, the final ROI can even be tripled.'

Under such circumstances, many cross-border e-commerce sellers who need to warm up on similar platforms can only increase their budgets.'Our own budget has also reached about 5 million yuan, which feels like participating in a domestic 'Double Eleven'.

Xibao added that in the past, the placement fee only accounted for 1/4 or 1/5 of the product price, but now it accounts for 1/2.

The result is that some sellers move to more extreme sales methods, some sellers begin to look for new traffic depressions such as Southeast Asia, and the remaining sellers choose to transform and follow the brand path.

The route of converting goods to brands seems to have become a consensus in the industry, but there are still not many people who actually take action.Jiang Miao, founder of Overseas SCRM Company Hive, said: 'The current cross-border e-commerce industry is still in a chaotic period, and some people may still use the past methods to sell, such as not delivering the right goods or not shipping. This will definitely not last long. .'

It is worth mentioning that many companies are still accustomed to acquiring customers through 'buying volume' and 'low-price competition'.Because establishing a brand website requires a high initial investment, it is also necessary to develop stickiness with users and be able to tell the brand story, in order to gradually harvest natural traffic.For something that is high investment and high risk, many people will naturally not choose it.

But in fact, many practitioners have also seen the paradox between the logic of hot goods stations and the supply chain.

Take a company's Black Friday sales as an example. The maximum daily sales of a camera product is only about 2,000 orders. On Black Friday, the sales can increase to about 5,000 orders, and even 10,000 orders are out of stock.

But in the end, due to refunds caused by the supply chain, not only the advertising costs were directly lost, but also the user evaluation was affected.And looking back at the artificially high daily order volume and traffic injection, it is also false prosperity.

The contradiction between the sales end and the supply chain end is too difficult to resolve. If you only operate a hot-selling website, due to the irregular order volume of different categories of goods, once there is a surge in order volume, it will be difficult for the supply chain to keep up.

Moreover, based on the logic of hot-selling products, when a product becomes 'hot-selling', the entire industry is often already facing the risk of being out of stock at that time. After all, sellers of hot-selling products have serious homogeneity of hot-selling products.

'Because I don't know what will 'explode' tomorrow. Maybe a women's clothing will explode today, a 3C will explode tomorrow, a toy will explode the day after tomorrow, and a mother and baby will explode the day after tomorrow. This supply chain problem is not just a company, but even Alibaba. It may not be possible to get it done.' A senior practitioner recalled.

Afa also saw the ceiling of the hot product website, and later proposed to his company to create a brand website, and started the transformation as soon as possible.Up to now, Afa has started an independent business. According to him, the company is currently running well and the income is not less than before.

National brands are surging, go to TikTok to copy the next bonus

If we relied on low-price competition in the past, it is definitely no longer applicable.Because traffic, logistics, and product costs are all rising, platform policies have become stricter and the process has become more standardized.

Cross-border e-commerce needs to develop new ways of playing games.One of them is to develop e-commerce training business; or you can open an independent website at the same time and don't put all your eggs in one basket.

As traffic becomes more expensive, sellers can consider raising product prices and consider refining traffic operations.

'Traffic wars exist, but they will not be like domestic ones. Because the overseas market is large enough, as long as the product is good, there are always opportunities.' Lao Zhang, a senior marketing practitioner in cross-border e-commerce, was once the earliest leading company in the industry An executive of , is now also responsible for the overseas marketing business of a cross-border e-commerce company.

He also said that domestic sellers are very smart. If a good method comes out, they will copy it and study hard. This makes the track more and more expensive.

But at this time, some things that require time and energy to do quality work have dividends, and we are more willing to do them.For example, unlike the short, flat and quick picture materials that are commonly used in the market, good results can still be achieved by placing video materials well.

In addition, behind the craze of cross-border e-commerce, there is still a gap on the talent side. 'Many of my friends find it difficult to find senior independent station managers even with an annual salary of 500,000 yuan.'

Behind the willingness to do refined operations and spend a lot of money to find independent webmasters, there is a message that many sellers in the industry are moving from 'fast' to 'slow', and no longer place too much emphasis on things that happen overnight as in the past. ROI or eager to cash out quickly.

Of course, the entry of capital has also accelerated this phenomenon, that is, the craze for DTC and brands going overseas has begun to appear in this field.

Clues can also be seen from the development history of fast fashion brand SHEIN. Since 2013, it has successively received billions of dollars in investment from institutions such as JAFCO Asia, IDG Capital, Sequoia China, and Shunwei Capital.In the marketing segment, we can also see that SHEIN has also well caught up with the traffic bonus period of various platforms during the past rapid development period.

(SHEIN pop-up store scene, picture source SHEIN official)

In recent years, on the marketing side, SHEIN, which is characterized by low price and quick response, has also begun to focus on brand influence. In addition to pure purchase volume based on ROI, it also uses KOLKOC on various platforms to launch and promote the brand. The entry of offline pop-up stores into consumers' lives has also become its new focus.

According to SHEIN official reports, this year, SHEIN accelerated the process of pop-up stores, opened stores in Miami and Paris, and participated in Paris Fashion Week.SHEIN has also grown from a single women's clothing category to include plus-size women's clothing, children's clothing, men's clothing, beauty, home furnishings, and pets. It also has independent websites such as ROMWE and MOTF with different price positions and sub-brands Petsin and DAZY.

(From the white paper released by Cuiyi)

In order to seize new dividend opportunities, in October this year, TTD, an American advertising technology company that has been in China for four years, plans to open an additional Shenzhen office.

According to a series of white papers on Chinese brands going overseas released by Cuiyi this year together with the consulting company Kantar, the consideration of overseas brands by China's top 50 brands has increased year by year.Chen Chuanqia, general manager of Cuiyi China, said that the rise of Chinese brands in the world is a general trend.

So, where will the new traffic bonus platform appear?A large number of practitioners have unanimously pointed to TikTok.

There are early signs of TikTok’s popularity.A cross-border e-commerce investor participated in an internet celebrity conference in the United States in 2019.At that conference, many social media founders, CEOs, and celebrities in the United States were present.

What shocked him was that half of the meeting was discussing TikTok.He never thought that the tickets alone would be sold for about 1,000 US dollars, and that these leading Internet celebrities would value TikTok so much.In 2019, it actually happened to be a time when TikTok gained a lot of customers overseas.

He still remembered that at this meeting, a company announced that they had just launched barrage, fan cards, anchor rewards and other functions to facilitate the conversion of experts.

'I'm sitting down there with my eyes wide open. Isn't this something that we are tired of playing in China, and they have just started to do it. So I think the new applications of the Internet must be exported from China in the future.' The investor said with emotion .

In addition, after TikTok downloads surged, many practitioners in other industries also joined the traffic bonus team, hoping to become trendsetters in the craze.Nuggets all hope that TikTok will replicate a series of gameplays such as domestic Douyin e-commerce.

The project was only launched in May this year and Keyang Chuhai, which received its first financing in September, is a typical representative.Li Yang is the founder of Keyang Chuhai. In May this year, she and Lianchuang, who had experience in Douyin e-commerce operations, started a business on TikTok. Currently, Keyang Chuhai's accounts mainly focus on the fields of jewelry and pets.

Among them, in the field of jewelry, Ke Yang Chuhai has gradually accumulated a number of jewelry expert accounts by filming videos of craftsmen making jewelry.After the account data rose all the way, Keyang Chuhai gradually came into contact with the supply chain and began to turn to the route of e-commerce monetization.

Keyang Chuhai’s TikTok account is also the first batch of accounts in the United States to qualify for the TikTok internal testing.The so-called Little Yellow Cart is a business cooperation between TikTok and Shopify in North America. Through the Little Yellow Cart link, viewers can directly enter the page of an independent website opened through Shopify for consumption.

'Currently, as long as you search for jewelry-related topics, 7-8 of the top 10 accounts will be ours.' In Li Yang's view, what Keyang Chuhai is doing now is 'occupying space' ', she hopes to seize the head traffic in this vertical field and consider monetizing it in the future.Fortunately, the conversion logic has been implemented in Keyang's independent website. Now, based on natural traffic, orders can be placed basically every day.

(Search for jewelry, and the account with the highest number of likes is Keyang Chuhai’s account)

However, judging from the current industry data feedback, although the traffic and display data on TikTok are very high, the ROI conversion in the short term has yet to be verified.

In this regard, Li Yang said, 'We continue to be optimistic about this matter. After all, overseas consumers' habit of shopping through short videos and live broadcasts needs to be cultivated.'

(One of the backends of Ke Yang’s independent station)

The logic of 'maintaining an account and occupying a position' has already created countless myths in China.TikTok has also started a lot of actions this year. TikTok’s brand marketing manual shows that the marketing solutions currently provided are not only TikTok, but also include full track layout.

For example, Japan’s video platform BuzzVideo, Indonesia’s news and information platform Helo-BaBe, photo and beauty platform Ulike, etc.

Facing a new platform with 3 billion downloads and 1 billion monthly active users.It is conceivable that those operation pitchers and sellers who have been cultivated by mature domestic e-commerce companies will let this new gold mine go.

(Based on the request of the interviewees, Xibao, Nana and Lao Zhang are pseudonyms in this article.)


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