Alibaba Reports Strong Earnings As Regulators Take Action

An Alibaba app on a phone screen.

The Chinese tech giant is dealing with scrutiny over the Ant Group and allegations by watchdogs of being a monopoly. Alibaba is building a “rectification plan” for its fintech affiliate Ant Group after it pulled its $37bn IPO last November following pressure from regulators.

In its latest quarterly earnings, Alibaba said there have been “significant changes in the fintech regulatory environment in China” after regulators halted the listing of Ant Group with questions over the business’s operations. The retrench was a major blow for the fintech business, which was due to list in both Shanghai and Hong Kong in what would have been a record public listing.

Ant Group, which runs Alipay, was originally founded as part of Alibaba Group. It was spun out in 2014 but Alibaba owns around one-third of the fintech business. Alibaba has attracted growing scrutiny in its home market from authorities. Competition watchdog, the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR), launched an investigation into Alibaba in late December over alleged anti-competitive practices.

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The Chinese fintech titan Ant Group—co-founded by Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma—is set to go public in what could be one of the largest listings ever. WSJ explains how Ant’s backbone service, Alipay, has revolutionized payments and investing in the world’s most populous country. Photo Composite: Crystal Tai More from the Wall Street Journal: Visit WSJ.com: http://www.wsj.com Visit the WSJ Video Center: https://wsj.com/video On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/wsj/videos/ On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WSJ On Snapchat: https://on.wsj.com/2ratjSM
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“We have established a special taskforce with leaders from our relevant business units to conduct internal reviews,” the company said in its latest earnings report. “We will continue to actively communicate with the SAMR on compliance with regulatory requirements.

The regulatory hurdles haven’t dampened the company’s balance sheet though. It reported a 37pc increase in year-over-year revenues with fourth quarter earnings of RMB 221bn, about $33.9bn, and a net income of nearly $12bn.

Singles’ Day, a sales event on Alibaba and its competitor JD that is akin to Black Friday, boosted revenues for the company, reportedly seeing $74.1bn worth of orders sold through its platform during that period.

It has 779m active annual users in China as of December 2020, adding 22m users in the fourth quarter. The lion’s share of its business is in China but it marked gains in its international retail and wholesale business. The retail gain was attributed to Lazada, its e-commerce site active in south-east Asia, and Turkey’s Trendyol.

“The increase [in international wholesale] was primarily due to increases in both the number of paying members and average revenue from paying members on Alibaba.com, as well as an increase in revenue generated by cross-border related value-added services,” the company said.

 

By:  Jonathan Keane

Source: Alibaba reports strong earnings as regulators take action

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Days after Jack Ma’s Alibaba was slapped with a staggering $2.8bn anti-monopoly fine, its fintech affiliate Ant Group has committed to a sweeping set of reforms in terms of how the company does business to appease Beijing. The central bank, the People’s Bank of China, said today (12 April) that the company – which is a spin-out of Alibaba – would restructure as a financial holding company.

It marks a sea change for China’s largest tech companies, which have been able to grow domestically with few restrictions, allowing China to develop several major businesses that are on par with some of the US giants. That heady growth hit a stumbling block in November, when Ant Group put the brakes on its IPO after pressure from authorities. At the time it was tipped to be the largest ever IPO, raising $37bn.

It is believed that Ant Group drew the ire of authorities after Ma made critical comments about financial regulators during a speech in October. With Ant Group restructuring as a financial holding company, it will be subject to much stricter regulatory controls and must hold higher levels of money in reserves – all moves that will ultimately affect its bottom line.

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The 3 Most Common Mistakes Online Course Creators Make

Adding an online course to your product suite and having a passive income stream on autopilot sounds amazing, right? And it doesn’t only sound amazing, it truly can be if you put in the work and take the right steps at the right time to create a digital product that sells and is scalable. 

But many course creators are guilty of either one or multiple of the following mistakes, which derails their progress before they even create the online course. Let’s shed some light on the three most common mistakes course creators make. 

Related: 4 Crucial Things To Consider Before Creating An Online Course

Mistake No. 1: Not creating a proper foundation

Building an online course is no different than building a house. When you build a house, you make sure that its foundation will withstand storms. You also don’t start building the roof before you know the cement that makes up your foundation has dried properly. 

So before you start recording your course content, you must validate your course idea and identify your dream students. You also need to create a name and a market proposition for your product that expresses the results of your course preferably in one word, or maximum in one sentence. 

Paying lots of attention to building a strong foundation at the beginning will set you off on the right path to be able to scale later on. 

Related: 5 Tips for Creating Your First (Successful) Online Course

Mistake No. 2: Never finishing the course

I speak to dozens of people every single day who have attempted to create an online course and have given up halfway through because they didn’t know what they were doing and didn’t know the next steps to take. Valuable knowledge has been temporarily parked on a Google drive, which then turns out to become a permanent parking spot. 

It’s easy to get distracted and discouraged when you embark on a brand new journey yourself and you haven’t done it before. Many course creators think they can do it alone and it’s easy to “just record a few videos” and “chuck the content into an online platform” … but it really isn’t.

Creating an online course is a project, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Facing difficulties and hurdles is normal and will happen to you no matter what you do. It’s no different with online courses. You must prioritize and focus on finishing it. 

Related: Are Free Online Courses Worth the Time and Effort?

Mistake No. 3: Not knowing how to market and sell your online course 

At the beginning, the course is brand new to creators themselves, so it’s hard for them to market properly. Many course creators think they can just run Facebook ads to their sales page and see how it goes, only to end up burning lots of cash. If you are just starting out in your field and your course is new on the market, always start off with organic marketing

It takes time to perfect your marketing message, learn about your customers’ objectives and write amazing copy. If you write bad copy on Facebook or in an email, so be it. You lost some time, but you can go back and tweak the copy. But if you write the same bad copy and place ads on it, Facebook becomes a black hole for your hard-earned money. 

Being successful with your online course does require you to build a strong foundation, create the amazing content your audience is asking for and figure out how to market it properly, short-term and long-term. Once you do, you will reap the rewards of your labor.

By: Tina Dahmen Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Lucy Griffiths 5.41K subscribers

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Perpay Is an Amazon-Style Marketplace That’s Just for People Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Meet Beverly. She’s worked at UPS for 10 years. She has one to two kids and is earning $40,000 to $50,000 per year. She has limited or no access to credit and can’t handle an unexpected expense of more than $500. And her fridge just broke.

Chris DiMarco knows Beverly well; she’s a hypothetical representation of the target customer for Perpay, the fintech company he launched in 2014. DiMarco co-founded the Philadelphia-based Perpay, along with David Hayne, with the goal of helping people who struggle with debt better afford unplanned big-ticket purchases.

On Perpay’s Amazon-style shopping site, users can buy items from brands like KitchenAid and LG–basically anything you can find at Best Buy or Walmart, DiMarco says. They pay for purchases over time with deductions from each paycheck.

Instead of charging interest to make money, Perpay operates like other e-commerce marketplaces: It buys items wholesale from distributors and sells them at a markup. The model is paying dividends. With more than one million users to date, Perpay’s revenue has grown 18,166 percent over three years to $22.5 million in 2018–helping it land No. 5 on Inc.‘s annual tally of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

A light bulb moment

This isn’t DiMarco’s first time on the Inc. 5000. In 2015, his previous venture, Lamps.com, a Philadelphia-based e-commerce site that primarily sells lamps and other lighting equipment, landed on Inc.‘s list at No. 161. While the 12-person company pulled in north of $3 million in revenue that year, DiMarco got the urge to start another company, so he stepped down as CEO.

His idea for Perpay came from examining Lamps.com’s HR benefits. Various providers promise to reward employees with items like discounted movie tickets, among other goods. Vendors clearly had large enough profit margins to afford discounts, and were choosing which companies could access them. DiMarco wondered if he could make a direct-to-consumer version.

He posed the concept to Hayne, his childhood friend who was the COO of Free People, a women’s apparel brand owned by Urban Outfitters that Hayne’s father founded in 1970. Hayne, Lamps.com’s first investor, was intrigued.

The pair started by identifying common financial stresses in people’s lives to find their ideal customer. Working backward, they stumbled onto the Perpay marketplace concept; both men had worked in the retail world, but neither had any formal experience with the rent-to-own industry, which differs from the layaway model by allowing customers to obtain the goods they want immediately and pay for them over time.

Perpay’s offices in Philadelphia.Hannah Yoon

Still, the more they thought about the idea, the more they liked it: a “white knight” alternative to rent-to-own vendors that cater to vulnerable consumers, often charging them extremely high interest rates and fees. One example: Rent-a-Center, the massive Plano, Texas-based rent-to-own furniture and electronics business, regularly charges customers up to three times a retail item’s list price or tacks on other fees that are roughly equivalent to triple-digit annual percentage rates, according to a 2017 NerdWallet investigation. (Rent-a-Center did not respond to several requests for comment and verification.)

Perpay also charges more than traditional retailers, on average. A Ring Video Doorbell 2 on Perpay currently costs $259.99 plus $12.99 shipping. The same item on Best Buy’s website is $199.99 with free shipping, and comes with a free Amazon Echo Dot.

While Perpay enjoys an A-plus rating on the Better Business Bureau’s website, it has drawn a number of complaints about its pricing. To that, DiMarco says: “We’re very comfortable with our pricing, because it’s so much fairer than the alternative.”

Perpay may also levy fees on users who don’t pay on time. The company’s terms and conditions list a $35 charge each time a customer delays a payment. DiMarco counters that the company has never actually levied that $35 fee, and that the language is “standard legal verbiage” recommended by the company’s lawyers. The clause, he says, exists for legal protection–and he’s considering removing the fee entirely. Even so, he adds: “If you follow our rules, you’ll be fine.”

A place for all

Perpay could make sense for a specific segment of users, says Graciela Aponte-Diaz, a policy director at the Durham, North Carolina-based Center for Responsible Lending. Those who live in states with fewer financial regulations, like California, for instance, might consider it as an alternative to payday loans, which are small, short-term unsecured loans. Payday lenders in the state have been known to charge some of the highest interest rates in the country, adds Aponte-Diaz. By contrast, Perpay may be less attractive for those in high-regulation states like New York, as it faces tougher competition from providers.

DiMarco insists his product has a place in any employed and credit-challenged person’s household, and he says that Perpay more closely competes with rent-to-own vendors than payday lenders. “All situations are different,” he says. “We just work with the customer on what the best approach is.”

Some customers, for example, need to find alternative methods of payment if they get fired or change jobs midway through paying for an item. Perpay employs a full-time staffer dedicated to solving those issues–solutions range from allowing customers to pay installments with debit cards to putting accounts on hold–and recently instituted automated tools to help manage payment reschedulings.

That kind of individual attention may prove challenging as Perpay continues to scale. DiMarco’s short-term goal is to add more marketplace categoriesthe company recently added tires and baby equipment to its catalog. His long-term goal is to create stronger relationships with wholesale distributors so he can lower Perpay’s prices. He also expressed interest in expanding Perpay’s scope. One idea: a Perpay-backed credit card, with which consumers’ Perpay history could help improve their real-life credit. Currently, using Perpay does not affect users’ credit, for better or worse.

“The ultimate goal would be to improve somebody’s credit to the point where they actually are a prime borrower,” DiMarco says. “Can we do that today? No. But we’d like to keep providing more products to our best customers.”

Clarification: An earlier version of this article contained a reference the inclusion of which overemphasized the significance of Perpay’s terms and conditions statement regarding its ability to edit or otherwise alter online reviews. The reference has been removed. While the company can edit or otherwise alter third-party reviews, the company doesn’t, nor does it plan to. 

By: Cameron Albert-Deitch

 

 

Source: Perpay Is an Amazon-Style Marketplace That’s Just for People Living Paycheck to Paycheck | Inc.com

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With AliExtractor, There Are No Hidden Secrets To Selling Online Anymore | Online Marketing Tools

AliExtractor not only finds you the best selling products in the niche of your choice… it does it in seconds! AND just by using this newest technology, YOU can earn $ for purchasing products you would have bought anyways!

That’s right!! You get a rebate of cash back for almost every item you purchase, sell or give away! There is one BIG PROBLEM with AliExpress. It’s information overload, making it nearly impossible for you to be sure you’re making a smart decision. Wish there was a way to know ahead of time exactly which products fly off shelves? Now there is…

AliExtractor uncovers exactly how many products a vendor is already selling per month (in units and sales dollars)… saving you hundreds of hours on product research and SO much more! How sweet is that?!

Plus, Cut Your Product Research by 13 hours PER WEEK! AliExtractor automatically extracts loads of DATA, analyzes sales trends and finds products that sell so you don’t have to waste another second on product research.You can find one bestseller after another – hidden gems, officially uncovered because then you can sell more higher converting, profitable products

You can quickly and easily download Images for your Ecommerce Store or Platform because there’s no need to try and copy them one-by-one to have a great looking product listing.Instantly filter by category or column and drill down to find exactly the parameters you are looking for because scrolling through our tool or spreadsheets is well…. pointless

Get instant estimated monthly sales volume for every product because you should know what kind of sales your Vendor is doing and how many units they are selling per month.Click your “magic light bulb” and let AliExtractor find products automatically because you should ONLY put in the parameters you are looking for and AliExtractor should do the grunt work.

Conveniently store and save your favorite searches because now with the click of a button, you can see all of your researched products.Easily research the cost and availability of products on AliExpress to see if it’s worthwhile competing in that niche.With a click of a button you can export a few, or a few thousand results into a CSV or XLS file allowing you to analyze the data however you see fit!

Instantly find the best-ranking related searches for your primary keyword and dig deeper into complimentary products you can easily add to your store to maximize profits.Need to increase the conversions on your store? Download product reviews in just a few seconds and add top rated seller feedback to your products

Source: With AliExtractor, There Are No Hidden Secrets To Selling Online Anymore | Online Marketing Tools

What to do When Your Customers Ask For a Discount & Why You Shouldn’t Give Them – Steli Efti

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Everybody wants a deal. Especially your prospects. And while you probably think giving 10% or 20% off isn’t a big deal, giving discounts just to win business can cost you more than money. It can kill your company.

Sure, you probably think I’m being dramatic. You’ve been giving discounts for ages and your revenue and customers are still growing. Right?

The problem is, when your company culture is a discount culture you might win a few battles, but you’ve already lost the war.

SaaS companies today don’t win on being cheap. They win on being valuable.

Let’s start off with the obvious: The SaaS landscape today is more crowded and competitive than ever. You know that when a prospect is talking to you, they’re also talking to your competition. And somewhere in the negotiation, that prospect is going to ask you for a discount.

And so you think “If this customer is willing to offer their solution at that price, I can too, or even a little lower. Just to win the business.” The problem is, once you start down this path, it’s almost impossible to get off it.

You’ve positioned your company as being the cheapest solution, rather than the most valuable.

Want to get better at handling discount requests and other objections? Get our free objection management template!

When you offer discounts, that’s all people think about your company. We’ve seen this exact situation happen in the consumer goods space. The market gets so crowded and undifferentiated that customers will only pick either the cheapest option or the brand they know and trust.

In SaaS, the only way to win on price is to be free. And you can’t build a company like that.

Instead, I truly believe the winning SaaS companies of today and tomorrow will win on value and they’ll win on brand. And you can’t have either if you’re just trying to be the cheapest.

Discount culture creates a weak sales force (and a weak brand)

When you give discounts, you’re setting the wrong example for your team. Instead of going out and selling on your solution’s value and your brand, your salespeople will become transactional. They’ll just give the prospect information and then offer them whatever they want.

Worse than that, your sales team will start offering discounts without even being asked! I’ve seen this happen so many times at SaaS companies and it drives me crazy.

A sales rep is talking to a prospect, they qualify them, there’s a match, they can really deliver value. And when the prospect asks about pricing, the sales rep preemptively goes: “Well, this is our price. But I would give you a good discount.”

Wait a minute. Nobody asked about a discount!

This is a weak sales culture. Your sales reps will always use the easiest tools available, and when they see discounts being given they’ll start to abuse them. They’ll start to think: “Everybody thinks everything is too expensive. Every buyer wants the cheapest, so before they ask, let me just tell them I’m going to give them a discount.”

All of a sudden one of the most vocal voices of your brand—your salespeople—are weak. They’re cheap. And that’s going to reflect on your brand at the end of the day.

You can’t scale because you don’t know what a customer’s actually worth

The other huge issue with discounts is that they make your business completely unpredictable and unscalable.

Instead of a Basic, Pro, and Business plan where you know how much revenue you make for each, you’ve got Customer A with a 12% discount, Customer B with 14%, and Customer C with 2 free user accounts. Good luck trying to build models or forecast your future revenue or even figure out what’s going on with churn.

Those discounts are going to undermine your entire financial structure because you don’t know what a customer’s actually worth. If they remove or add seats, you have no idea what that means in true revenue or churn.

It’s going to cause problems for your support team, your success team, and your marketing team. Even your product people are going to get angry because they’ll have to build all these backend solutions to keep track of billing on all your different discount cases.

You’ll piss off your customers when they find out you’re charging them more than others

Let’s say a slightly larger company aggressively negotiates a big discount. A few months later, a smaller company comes are your sales rep says “this is the best discount we can give. I can’t go any lower.” I guarantee at some point your customers are going to talk to each other. And when they do, the second customer is going to be pissed.

And rightfully so. You lied to them. You betrayed them. And they have every right to get loud and aggressive and drag your brand through the dirt and tell everyone they know about how terrible you are.

This doesn’t mean you can’t give discounts. You just have to do them right.

If you’re just giving our discounts willy nilly, you’re going to get burned. You’re going to destroy your brand, piss off your customers, and create more headaches than that little bit of extra business is worth.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t give out any discounts. You just have to make sure when you do, you do these two things.

First, make sure you’re getting something in return

The problem with discounts is they create abusive customer relationships. Your customer comes in, demands a bunch of things, and you give it to them just for a bit of business. Instead, you need to ask for something in return. This creates a healthy, reciprocal relationship.

In SaaS, that means asking for:

    1. Prepayment: When a customer agrees to sign a long-term contract or prepays for an entire year, you can absolutely give them a discount. You get guaranteed income and predictable cashflow and they get a break on the monthly price. We offer customers of our inside sales CRM a 10% discount if they pay annually instead of monthly.
    2. Case Studies: Trading a bit of a discount for marketing materials is also a good deal. Feel free to offer a discount if a customer is willing to spend a few hours on the phone with your sales team to make a great case study and do some co-promotion.
    3. Referrals and reviews: You can also offer discounts for connections and leads. Ask for a positive review on a specific platform or give discounts if they connect you with other people in the industry who could be strong prospects.

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Second, make sure your discounts are standardized

If you are giving out discounts, you can’t have any flexibility or offer customization. Your sales reps can’t just give them out however they want. You need to have set, predetermined discounts for each of the deals you’re offering.

For example, you could offer 10% for a case study, 15% for prepayment, and 20% for a referral that leads to a new customer. That’s it. There’s no 12% or free seats on offer.

But Steli, what do I do if a customer says they’re not going to buy if I don’t give them a bigger discount than I want to?

There’s always going to be someone who wants more. But you have to draw a line in the sand.

If they’re not willing to work with you, they’re most likely not your ideal customer. At Close.io, we’ve told thousands of businesses “No” when they asked for bigger discounts.

And you know what’s funny? They all get angry. They all scream and yell and tell you there’s no way in Hell they’re going to buy from you at that price. But in my experience, about 50% of the time, they become customers anyways.

It’s just the way they negotiate. They’re trying to get the best deal for their business and you have to respect that. If you have a strong brand and can show the value you provide, there’s a very good chance they’ll choose you anyways.

Of course, there’s one big exception to all of this: Enterprise

As you can tell, I’m sick of seeing discount culture in SaaS companies. But there is one big exception.

If you’re selling to enterprise clients, the way you handle discounts is going to be completely different. You can’t just give them a price and say “this is what it is,” because that’s just not how they work.

Most enterprise companies have a procurement department whose entire job is to get discounts. They have a discount quota to meet, and if you won’t play ball, they’re not even going to consider you.

That’s just the way their organization is built and you’re going to have to go with it if those are your ideal customers.

If you’re trying to win with discounts, you’ve already lost

If you don’t value your solution, your customers won’t either.

So, if you feel like you absolutely have to offer some sort of discount, make sure:

  1. They’re standardized (and don’t budge!)
  2. You’re getting something equally as valuable in return

Sell your prospects on value first and make the discount an added bonus. Not only will this give you a stronger brand, but it will set you down the right path for real, sustainable growth.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

 

5 Reasons Alibaba Is Just Going to Go Up From Here – Natalie Walters

Alibaba founder Jack Ma celebrate onstage during Alibaba's annual party

Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) has reported over 50% revenue growth in the past eight quarters. The Chinese e-commerce giant just won’t stop growing, and investors are taking notice. Alibaba’s stock has gone up about 122% in the past two years, including a 63% climb in just the past year to a still relatively cheap $196.61.

But despite the run-up, Alibaba still has plenty more room to run. For the upcoming fiscal year, the company is guiding for another impressive year of revenue growth of 60%. And while Alibaba still relies on its e-commerce platforms for the bulk of its revenue, its other projects are showing healthy growth and will contribute more and more in the coming years.

1. Alibaba’s revenue growth is strong

Alibaba’s revenue growth has been the highlight of the past two years, with each of the eight quarters showing over 50% growth.

Its annual revenue gives a better picture of how the company’s growth has really taken off in the past two years. For the past four fiscal years ended in March, Alibaba has reported revenue growth of 45%, 33%, 56%, and 58%, respectively. As you can see in the chart below, that means Alibaba’s revenue has more than doubled since 2015 from $19.5 billion to $40 billion.

 Fiscal Year  BABA Revenue Growth  BABA Revenue
 2015  45%  $19.5 billion
 2016  33%  $15.7 billion
 2017  56%  $23 billion
 2018  58%  $40 billion
 2019 (expected)  60%  TBA

Data source: Quarterly earnings press releases.

And Alibaba is expecting revenue growth to continue this exciting trend with 60% growth for fiscal 2019. If you were to exclude the consolidation of food delivery platform Ele.me and logistics network Cainiao, revenue growth is still expected to be over 50%.

But even 50% growth might be a low estimate, because Alibaba tends to be cautious with forecasts. For the 2018 fiscal year, Alibaba originally guided for 45% to 49% revenue growth before revising it to between 55% and 56% growth and, ultimately, hitting 58% growth. And for the 2017 fiscal year, Alibaba originally guided for 48% growth but ended up hitting 56% growth. So as high as 60% and even 50% revenue growth might seem for 2019, they may actually be low estimates.

2. Alibaba’s New Retail initiatives are taking off

Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma believes he can help save brick-and-mortar stores by giving them a “New Retail” makeover that combines the best of offline and online shopping. This is important for Alibaba’s growth because e-commerce still only accounts for 20% of shopping in China, while offline accounts for the other 80%, according to eMarketer. So Alibaba needed a way to gain access to those brick-and-mortar sales it had been missing out on.

By helping physical stores move online, Alibaba is attempting to digitize all of China’s retail market, Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai said on the latest earnings call. If the project continues as planned, Alibaba’s total addressable market (TAM) will one day be all of China’s $5 trillion retail market, according to Tsai. This presents a huge growth opportunity for Alibaba to expand its TAM.

Right now, Alibaba’s main New Retail projects include Hema supermarkets, Intime department stores, and Tmall Import. For the last quarter, Alibaba said its China commerce retail segment’s 56% revenue growth to $6.4 billion was largely a reflection of the growth in its New Retail projects.

3. Alibaba’s international growth is heating up

Another area that holds huge growth potential for Alibaba is international markets. For the past fiscal year ended in March, Alibaba’s international commerce retail revenue shot up 94% year over year to $2.3 billion.

Alibaba is using its Lazada business to aggressively pursue the Southeast Asia e-commerce market. In the past quarter, Alibaba announced that it would invest $2 billion in the business, bringing its total investment into Lazada to about $4 billion. And Alibaba’s other main international business, Tmall Global, is the top cross-border e-commerce platform in China, according to Analysys.

4. Alibaba still has plenty of room to run in China

With a population of 1.4 billion people who are still gradually moving to online shopping, China still holds big potential for Alibaba. Last year, China as a whole saw an increase of 32.3% in online sales to $1.1 billion, according to the China Ministry of Commerce. And Alibaba’s Tmall platform that operates in China already claims 51.3% of all those online sales in China, according to eMarketer.

But with New Retail, Alibaba stands to benefit even more from China’s retail economy. The country’s total retail sales are expected to grow 10% annually to reach $7.2 trillion by 2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce. If Alibaba believes that whole market — both online and offline — can become its TAM, then that’s a lot of growth potential in the near future.

5. Alibaba’s cloud segment is on fire

Alibaba’s cloud segment has shown year-over-year revenue growth of over 100% in 10 of the past 12 quarters. For the year ended this past March, Alibaba Cloud’s revenue was up 101% to $2.1 billion.

Alibaba is currently the IaaS market leader in China, claiming 47.6% market share, but it’s also expanding internationally. This past quarter, Alibaba added a cloud data center in Indonesia, which brought its global cloud-computing presence to a total of 18 countries and regions.

The company has plenty of room to run here as well. Alibaba Cloud is the No. 3 worldwide IaaS provider but has just 3% of the market, compared to Amazon‘s (NASDAQ: AMZN) 44.2% and Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ: MSFT) 7.1%, according to Gartner estimates. But Alibaba Cloud is crushing both companies in revenue growth, which is a good indication that it’s working on taking away market share from these two leaders.

 

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7 Tips to Maximize E-Commerce Content Marketing

7 Tips to Maximize E-Commerce Content Marketing

Content marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of marketing online. And it’s easy to see why—content marketing has numerous benefits. It is a fantastic way to generate targeted visitors to your e-commerce store and build trust, generating more leads for your business while also saving you a few dollars compared to many other marketing techniques.

But it’s not always easy to get started. Content marketing goes way beyond writing a piece of content, posting it to your blog, and waiting for the leads to build. Here are 6 tips you can use to get your content marketing off to a great start.

1. Create a Buyer Persona

It all starts with a buyer persona. You have to know exactly who you are targeting—otherwise, you’ll get the wrong sort of visitors arriving at your site (visitors who are unlikely to become customers), and that won’t help anyone.

Brainstorm with your team to come up with an idea for who your buyer persona is. Try to go beyond the basics by creating a more detailed persona. Consider their age, income, hobbies, likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, challenges, and more.

Research online to help you come up with a more detailed picture. Use social media, groups, and forums, and even carry out focus groups if you have the budget.

Then create content that targets them specifically—this should be easier now that you know exactly what they want and don’t want. You can answer their questions in your content and solve their problems, helping to ensure your content connects with the right people.

2. Choose the Type of Content You Want to Create

Content does not only involve written content; there are many types of content you could use as part of your marketing efforts. So before you get going, try to define the type of content you want to create for your target market.

You want to create content that connects with your audience. But this might be easier to do with videos compared to written content. One way to find out what works best is to experiment. Try out infographics, podcasts, case studies, and guides to see which make the most impact, then refine your content over time.

3. Find Out What’s Working for the Competition

Another thing to do before you go full throttle on content creation is to find out what’s already working.

One way to do this is to analyze your competitors. Check out their own blogs and social media accounts and identify the blog posts with the most shares, the posts that are getting the most social likes, the content that is driving the most engagement. You could even sign up for their email lists—what are they doing that you aren’t?

Use specialist tools like SEMRush to “spy” on them and find out which keywords they are targeting. Are they ranking highly for these keywords? Then perhaps you can target them too.

You could also check out BuzzSumo to find out which content in your niche is generating the most shares so you have an idea of the sort of thing that gets a response.

4. Create Content Regularly

You’ll also need to create content on a regular basis. It’s no good creating the odd piece and leaving it at that. No matter how good an individual piece of content is, what you need is consistency to succeed at this game.

Create a content calendar to set out the content you will create over the coming weeks and months. Be organized and plan ahead—are there any major industry events coming up? Write topics around them. If you make more sales around Christmas or in the summer, plan for seasonal topics.

5. Promote Every Piece of Content

You cannot just create content and hope it will work—you have to get it found. And that means promoting it.

Social media is the best way to promote your content. You might also consider paid social to get it in front of more people and generate more engagement. And don’t forget to send it out to your growing email list.

Also, identify influencers in your niche, those people with large followings who can help to promote your content to large numbers of people and give you a boost.

Start following their blogs, and comment on their social posts, share their social posts, and generally start engaging with them. When you’re ready, suggest some content their readers might find valuable, and you might just get some help.

6. Build More Backlinks

You can also get visibility for your content via the search engines. High-quality content that gets shared will also get backlinks, which you will need to improve your SEO.

One way to start is by creating content for other websites and blogs in the form of guest posting. Identify some authority blogs in your niche and start following them and commenting on the posts.

When you have a good idea of what sort of content they publish, suggest a blog idea to the owner and you might be able to get something published—which can generate direct traffic as well as links.

7. Supercharge Your Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the word out there, attract visitors, build your list, and make more sales. It takes time, effort, and patience, but the results will be well worth it if you do it effectively.

So follow the tips set out above, and start benefiting from the power of content marketing.

SaleJunction – How To Easily Customize Aesthetic Appeal Of 1000 Online Store Theme

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SaleJunction is a powerful WordPress Theme ready to make an appealing and beautiful online e-store site where you can sell multiple tangible and digital products. It’s an ultra easy eCommerce website building solution to create live MarketPlace where you can invite multiple users to buy and sell products.

The clean layout of the theme allows organized presentation of different items for sale. It is integrated with WooCommerce plugin that allows clutter-free multiple product featuring and easy selling of your products, services. It gives clutter-free payment gateway PayPal.

The theme is completely responsive, i.e., it fits into any device and screen size. The SaleJunction template works perfectly on any resolution with medium and large screen. Mobile fit MarketPlace shop is the basic requirement of any online e-store business. Everyone access website via their mobile, To increase site traffic. Results in increasing sales.

Users can browse products easily, see it’s specification, analyze the quality and make up their mind to buy a product. The template provides a perfect MarketPlace view to be featured on your website. The framework helps you to provide a mighty online presence to Clothes store, Fashion Shop, Computer Store, Mobile Shop, Electronics shop, Gift Shop and others.

Also, the layout is efficient enough to custom easy digital downloads, a marketplace that sells photographs, fonts, audio files, videos etc. SaleJunction has a very potential-featured home page consisting of full-width sliders to display images about your Ecommerce business. The customizable footer and sidebar widget area can be used to promote the aesthetic appeal of the online store. The layout is user-interface and allows instant website building.

Sale Junction WordPress Theme

SaleJunction Features

SaleJunction has many cool features that present your website so beautifully, moreover, encourage visitors to buy your products

  • Simple & Easy to Use Setup WordPress sit
  • Compatible with both WooCommerce & Easy Digital Downloads Plugin
  • Prominently Showcase your Products
  • Easily Navigate and View products
  • Beautiful Full-width Slider to showcase 5-slider images
  • Elegant Typography & Design
  • Design made to increase your sales conversion
  • Sell both Tangible & Digital Goods easily
  • Checkout process through PayPal
  • Customizable Theme Colors and Style
  • 3-Column Feature area on home page to showcase your services
  • Blog Feature section on the Home page
  • 4-Column Widgetized footer area
  • Footer Text section
  • Widgetized Sidebar with lots of custom WordPress widgets
  • Display links to your Social Networks
  • Available with various inbuilt page Templates like Default, Page With Sidebar, Contact Page, Template Blog, Template Login etc

Change the appearance of the website with the different color schemes. The admin panel is accessible & easy to use, which means that you can transform the site according to your requirement. The outline offers different page layouts to share blogs, photos via the gallery portfolio page & much more.

At the end I would like to say, SaleJunction looks beautiful & elegant. You can use this WordPress MarketPlace theme to create an engaging E-commerce website. Market and sell your products easily.

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