Leading health and wellness retailer chain Holland & Barrett (H&B) has officially launched on Chinese e-commerce site Tmall.

The launch of its flagship store on Tmall’s Alibaba-owned site is a key part of the retailer’s global expansion plans, with the platform holding a 58% market in China, compared with Amazon’s 1%.

The retailer says the Chinese market ‘represents an important opportunity for Holland & Barrett to make a positive impact on the lives of consumers in China’.

Tmall customers have access to 40 of the most popular H&B VMS. Collagens and fish oils have so far been the most popular among Chinese consumers, with ‘beauty from within’ products seeing strong interest.

The retailer already has longstanding partnerships with South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, where it runs sales promotions to tie in with Chinese New Year and the so-called ‘Double 11’ day – a 24-hour shopping period in which many retailers across South East Asia offer steep discounts and attractive promotions.

Tom Pamment, head of international business development, H&B, comments: “We have been really encouraged by the initial performance and we’re excited by the potential for Holland & Barrett to become a destination for local Chinese customers who are seeking a trusted, high quality health and wellness brand with strong provenance, exciting innovation and offering great value.

“We chose to launch our flagship store on Tmall Global because of the platform’s reach and good alignment to our target customer base. It also means we can leverage the wider Alibaba ecosystem, from payments to logistics. This was a critical factor in our decision to launch with Tmall Global who really helped make sure we had a successful launch on the platform.”

Chinese consumers want to try and learn about new products, especially vitamins and supplements, that can help to support a healthy lifestyle.

Supporting its Tmall debut, H&B has also joined three popular social platforms: WeChat, RED and Weibo. Katie Holloway, international marketing manager, says: “The Tmall platform is highly intuitive, which helps us to identify exactly who is buying our products and develop our broader expansion strategy. A key part of our launch plan was to increase our partnerships with influencers and Key Opinion Leaders, who are incredibly important in this market. We are working with popular Chinese influencers on everything from posts to live stream events to bring to life how Holland & Barrett can help to navigate the world of wellness. This approach is helping us build trust and brand awareness with our Chinese customers.”

Zarina Kanji, business development for Tmall Health & Wellness and Food & Beverage Brands, Alibaba Group Europe, reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an ‘increased interest’ in health and wellbeing products among Chinese consumers.

“Chinese consumers want to try and learn about new products, especially vitamins and supplements, that can help to support a healthy lifestyle. With its extensive range of products, I believe Holland & Barrett is well placed to meet the demand from this fast-growing consumer base.”

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