★ Three times of entrepreneurship in the old foreign trade, cross-border transformation in Amazon? This article must be read!
President Zhang and President Wu of Yangzhou Haopu Toys and Gifts Co., Ltd. (later known as "Yangzhou Haopu") have "shaken out" their "startup secrets", so why don't you get hard-core dry goods soon?
1. [Foreign Trade Veteran] Start a business on Amazon again
Entrepreneurship is a "decathlon" competition.
The road to entrepreneurship is like walking on thin ice. At this time, having a "career partner" who is committed and trustworthy, complementary in ability, and willing to share weal and woe can often make this road more stable and safe.
As the saying goes, one person walks fast, and a group of people walks far. Today's two protagonists vividly prove what "1+1>2" is.
Mr. Zhang and Mr. Wu, after graduating from university, entered the traditional foreign trade industry. It took nearly 20 years for them to enter the industry. It can be said that the entrepreneurial history of the brothers is also a microcosm of the rise and fall of traditional foreign trade.
20 years ago, the two left their hometowns, went overseas, and started from scratch. Mr. Zhang is responsible for customer development and project follow-up, and Mr. Wu is responsible for production progress and quality control. The two work closely together.
Mr. Zhang : "The business of traditional trade is not easy to do. Coupled with the epidemic, how to maintain growth in sales is an urgent problem that needs to be solved."
Out of the consideration of "risk avoidance" and wanting to "feed back" the accumulated foreign trade resources to their hometown , Mr. Zhang and Mr. Wu resolutely embarked on the road of "returning to China and starting a business", trying to walk on "two legs".
From a 20-year-old foreign trade to a million sellers on Amazon, Yangzhou Haopu took less than a year. Among them, there are accumulated accumulations, exploration and exploration, preparation for a rainy day, and accidental stepping on thunder . Perhaps you can also gain some inspiration from their transformation stories.
Under the epidemic test, the old foreign trade is looking for opportunities in crisis
In 2020, the sudden outbreak of the epidemic has hit Yangzhou Haopu's main business a lot. The number of orders has declined, raw materials have risen, sea freight prices have risen, and the payment cycle has become longer. Everything is not worrying.
"Poor will change, and change will make it easier." In Zhang and Wu, there is a simple entrepreneurial spirit – do what you say and dare to try. The two agreed that cross-border e-commerce can be used as a crisis to find opportunities the "power point" .
Traditional foreign trade and cross-border e-commerce are both controlled, but how to grasp cross-border e-commerce securely and beautifully? This allowed President Zhang and President Wu to put in a lot of effort.
Open e-commerce thinking and take advantage of the "market"
"Cross-border e-commerce is a new idea and a huge piece of cake." Mr. Zhang and Mr. Wu know that the new model of cross-border e-commerce will inevitably bring a series of challenges to Yangzhou Haopu, especially the change of business thinking .
plan and then act
To this end, before going online on Amazon, Mr. Zhang and Mr. Wu spent half a year going to Shenzhen, Nanjing, Yiwu and other places to learn how to do business with cross-border e-commerce "beautiful people", from product development, production, packaging, logistics, In operation and after-sales, a comprehensive study has been carried out on each link.
After "intimate contact" with big coffee , they also learned some information – it is still a window period for cross-border e-commerce policy dividends, and the penetration rate of overseas online retail has increased significantly.
With the blessing of on-site inspection and peer exchanges, the confidence is stronger and the direction is clearer. In 2021, Yangzhou Haopu officially launched the "Ride the Wind and Waves" on Amazon.
2. Selling [ Made in Yangzhou ] to the world, the original intention of "returning to hometown to start a business"
What plush toys are the hottest this year? That is definitely the top mascot "Bing Dun Dun".
But you may not know that the first "Bingdundun" sample officially confirmed by the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee is from Yangzhou. In the field of plush toys, there is a saying that "the world plush toys are in China, and the Chinese plush toys are in Yangzhou".
Back to Yangzhou to sell plush toys , not far from the world
Yangzhou Hope Zhang
"You can sell high-quality products from your hometown all over the world at your doorstep, which is completely different from the experience of traditional foreign trade."
As a down-to-earth Yangzhou native, Mr. Zhang has special memories and feelings for the plush toy industry in Yangzhou, which is also his original intention of "returning to his hometown to start a business".
By cleverly borrowing the "advantage card" of Yangzhou's industrial belt , today's results are "borrowed"
As an important production area of plush toys in China, Yangzhou has a complete industrial chain, and leads the country in terms of design, production, and sales .
Mr. Zhang believes that by leveraging the innate advantages of Yangzhou's plush toy industry, there is an opportunity to "kill" out of the encirclement . Taking root in Yangzhou, the benefits are self-evident:
1. Yangzhou has obvious advantages in the plush toy industry chain, which provides a natural soil for the transformation of cross-border e-commerce;
2. The local government supports cross-border e-commerce, develops advantageous industrial clusters, and forms an entrepreneurial atmosphere that is conducive to the development of cross-border sellers;
3. In Yangzhou, you can understand the trend of the overseas market immediately. Isn't it providing a lot of constructive directions for the selection of products, which greatly saves time and energy?
This also hits the spot with President Wu's idea, so Yangzhou Haopu made a firm choice: take the "plush toy category" as the entry point, and then expand product development around this point.
Yangzhou Haopu has an explosive product, which is a functional development based on the trendy models in the local market. Through functional differentiation, let the product stand out quickly. Taking advantage of the situation to select products and leveraging independent innovation has become the secret of Yangzhou Haopu's "one trick to eat all over the sky".
Cultivate "semi-owned factories" from scratch and develop in parallel with factories
Yangzhou Haopu Mr. Wu
"Yangzhou is a behind-the-scenes factory for plush toys with rich production experience. Although many factories are small in scale, they are of excellent quality and provide OEM orders for many brands."
There are many factories in Yangzhou that develop, produce, and control high-quality products. It is not difficult to find them. The difficulty is that these factories are all matching the original traditional foreign trade order business, and the company is in the initial stage of cross-border e-commerce. There are many, the MOQ is small, and in the peak season, the factory needs to ensure the priority of supply, how to solve the problem of existing production?
In the end, Yangzhou Haopu came up with a solution: since he couldn't find it, why not cultivate a "potential stock factory"?
Yangzhou Haopu invested to help the cooperative factory to purchase equipment and expand the workshop. Accordingly, the factory needs to undertake all the company's orders, and regard the company's orders as "the first priority".
Mr. Wu is also personally involved, 3-4 days a week , soaking in the factory, keeping an eye on quality control. After nearly a month of running-in, the cooperative factories quickly adapted to the production rhythm of the C-end. Facing small batches and multi-variety orders, they can fully achieve high quality and fast delivery.
"When the feedback from consumers is received, we can quickly make adjustments. It's like our own factory. When it's critical, the chain will never fall off. And the factory used to be a small processing factory, a small workshop, now They can already make finished products, not only the production efficiency goes up, but also they can strictly control the quality of the products themselves. It can be said that this is a win-win situation. ”
With the rapid response of the cooperative factory, Yangzhou Haopu also "grabbed" more market share little by little .
3. "Don't fight an uncertain battle, but it's not necessarily a bad thing to fall back"
"Starting a business is actually like fighting a war. Only when soldiers are equipped and fully prepared before each battle can they be sure of victory."
In Mr. Wu's view, it is easy to make money if you work hard, identify opportunities and have the courage, but you can get a place in the big waves by preparing for the battle and finding a "weapon" that suits you to arm yourself.
Hire professionals to lead the operation of cross-border teams Small and sophisticated
Yangzhou Haopu Mr. Wu
If our start-up team is not so good, this stall may be difficult to operate.
Although there are only a dozen people in the team and the scale is not large, in Mr. Wu's eyes, everyone can fight and carry it .
Mr. Wu also revealed a very wise decision, that is, in the early stage of transformation, he extended an olive branch for cooperation to cross-border operation professionals. Facts have also proved that a cross-border operation team with strong comprehensive capabilities can indeed help companies get started quickly and avoid detours.
"Our operation team has many years of practical experience. The biggest feature is that we can find problems in time and solve them in time."
Take a "chestnut"
Through the analysis of user portraits, the operation team found that the consumers of "entering the pit" plush toys are mostly in the 20-35 and 55-75 age groups, and most of them are holiday gifts for children.
As a result, the operation team quickly adjusted and embedded the keyword "gift attribute" in the description of the listing.
In addition, for key festivals, the operation team organized and developed a variety of festive plush toys, and made stocking plans in advance, cooperated with marketing nodes, and did a good job in product exposure and promotion.
In the end, many products have entered the TOP200 plush toys category , and the comment rate can even reach 6% .
Find the way of "toy +"
In the market research, Yangzhou Haopu insight into such a phenomenon:
1. Most of the foreign plush toys are also made in China. Plush toys lacking in design and functionality are cheap but no one cares about them, while plush toys with IP, novel design and functionality can be sold for a few Hundreds, even thousands;
2. In different stores, you can see similar toys, with the same shape and single function. Merchants have no choice but to put differentiation on price competition.
Since most of the toys on the market lack design aesthetics and have similar functions, can we do innovative development on the appearance and internal functions of toys?
In line with such a "new path to problem solving", Yangzhou Haopu's R&D personnel start with product design, pay attention to product color matching and visual effects of appearance, and focus on entertainment in function research and development, so as to provide consumers with both "interactive" , aesthetics, safety" products.
Carry out product differentiation
"After we determined that Amazon would rely on differentiation to create a world, we shipped the first batch of test products by air, and the sales data and market feedback were good. This is an obvious signal."
The differentiation strategy has been verified by the market, so stick to it. After the first taste of sweet fruit, Yangzhou Haopu increased the development of "functional products". Last year, more than 80 new toys were developed in just one category . Through consumer feedback and market trends, product functions were iterated to further enhance the product's market competitiveness.
In addition to active research and development, Yangzhou Haopu is also thinking: what tricks can toys play?
Mr. Wu believes that there is still a blue ocean in the smart toy market. The company also regards "smart + toys" as the direction of innovation. In the future, it hopes to provide consumers with a "high-tech, high-interaction, high-participation" safe play experience.
Amazon Global Store: Have you stepped on any thunder during the transformation process?
Mr. Wu: "Don't say it, some mistakes may seem simple, but they may accidentally jump in. Looking back now, these precipitations are very helpful to us."
Trial and error is also an opportunity to grow
"We have a batch of functional products with functional devices inside, and suddenly there are more negative reviews. Many consumers have reported that the products do not work, but when they leave the factory, the quality of the products is no problem. So what is the crux of the matter? Where is it?"
Mr. Wu was personally responsible, and quickly mobilized workers to conduct a full inspection of about 300 products in other batches , and found that there was no "mistake" in the products. There is no problem with the front end, so there must be a "mistake" in the logistics area.
"Later, we communicated with the logistics that our goods must be placed on it, otherwise the functional devices inside the plush toy will be easily broken; of course, after this incident, we also have a long memory and optimized the product packaging. . ”
Soon, Mr. Wu had a preliminary plan and immediately contacted the packaging company.
The direction of modification is also very clear:
1 Change the bag packaging to box packaging;
2 to ensure that the product will not be damaged due to transportation and other links;
3 to consider the image of the brand, so be beautiful;
4. By designing the packaging size of the product reasonably, the product packaging should be more compact and unnecessary logistics costs should be reduced.
Within a week, after in-depth communication, and after four or five drafts of polishing, the packaging was finally determined.
Of course, there are many more such examples. Because Mr. Wu feels that only by understanding what employees are doing, where the work has progressed, and what problems they have encountered, can they better deploy the work and give some suggestions and guidance. "Doing practical work and stabilizing the military's heart are very important for a startup company that has just started."
4. "Let the brand go international is my long-cherished wish"
In recent years, the popularity of the cross-border e-commerce track has been obvious to all. Chinese brands go out to sea like a hundred gallops.
As a latecomer of the brand going overseas, how does Yangzhou Haopu take the lead in the wave of globalization and finally compete with international brands? In this regard, President Wu and President Zhang also have their own ideas.
To be a brand that "goes both ways" with consumers
Yangzhou Haopu Mr. Wu
Anyone familiar with the industry knows that the closer you are to consumers, the more you need a brand. But to be a brand, there is too much knowledge in it. I think it is very important to learn how to play with some successful sellers.
This year, Yangzhou Haopu has set itself the goal of increasing its sales by 3 to 5 times.
Mr. Wu and Mr. Zhang also began to discuss the layout of the future business, hoping to grow steadily, make their own blood, live longer, and establish a closer relationship with consumers:
1. Deeply cultivate a differentiated product selection strategy, make full use of customer feedback, and continuously polish functional products;
2. Apply the selection and operation experience of the American station to the European station ;
3. Unlock new Amazon operating tools – Amazon Brand Store, etc .;
4. Make products that impress consumers and increase brand awareness, engagement and conversion rates through brand promotion.
Amazon helps Yangzhou "net" to connect the world
Yangzhou Hope Zhang
To tell the truth, I have been thinking about making our brand bigger and stronger, and with such a high-quality industrial belt, when will we be able to produce several big brands of plush toys in Yangzhou?
Enterprises in the Yangzhou industrial belt have strong production capacity and technological level, but their shortcomings are also obvious. There are deficiencies in channel and brand building, so it is difficult to achieve transformation and upgrading from products to brands.
In Mr. Zhang's view, Amazon provides a good opportunity for industrial belt enterprises to empower local enterprises to explore the international market and continuously inject "acceleration" into the industrial belt .
Mr. Zhang added that in the future, Yangzhou Haopu will also take the "industrial belt + cross-border e-commerce" model as a major strategy of the company, and copy the "Yangzhou experience" to the industrial belt areas across the country, so that more "Made in Yangzhou" "Based on overseas markets , it has become a Chinese brand with global influence.
Under the tide of the big era, it is either to face the challenges of the market, or to boldly innovate and seek changes. This is the status quo of many traditional foreign trade companies.
On the road of cross-border transformation, whether it is big or small, it will be tested in strategic planning, upstream supply chain integration capabilities, operational capabilities and talents.
By taking advantage of Yangzhou's industrial belt, Yangzhou Haopu has identified a differentiated product selection strategy, and absorbed cross-border talents who are good at operations, cultivated "semi-owned factories", checked and filled gaps in actual combat, and constantly cultivated its own cross-border "Internal Heart Method".
There is no "shortcut" in overseas markets . Yangzhou Haopu will not only focus on the improvement of product and operational capabilities, and gradually establish real barriers to competition, but will also use Amazon as the engine of sales growth and brand growth to find more business opportunities . Create more exciting "entrepreneurship stories".