China’s second-largest e-commerce site, 360Buy, has opened up an English-language site that will ship items to 35 countries worldwide. The site has just gone live minutes ago at en.360buy.com. The site’s help center points out that it’s only accepting Paypal as a payment method for now, and all goods will be shipped out of China, causing lengthy delays.
As I first suspected when I heard this news, 360Buy is not truly launching in lots of markets, with warehouses and stock in numerous countries – as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has done. Rather this sees 360Buy using its existing resources in China to reach out to customers worldwide. But it remains to be seen if prices can be kept competitive – and if length shipping times will prove off-putting. The new 360Buy help center in English says that shipping can take three to six days with DHL or UPS, but as long as “15 to 20 business days” for “supersaver” options like China Post or Singapore Post.
360Buy’s new global site says it’s trying to offer free shipping where possible, but “Free shipping is only available for the SuperSaver shipping method.” So free shipping can doom you to waiting nearly a month for something to arrive.
But the site has some charms. It could be used as a way for individuals to source cheap items from China – sort of like with the Alibaba.com service, except you don’t need to be a business that’s buying wholesale amounts.
I notice the 360Buy global site is heavily marketing things like wedding dresses – a prime example of something that can be made cheaply in China and that would be in demand in a lot of markets at a healthy profit margin. Same for smartphone and tablet cases.
To back up its global efforts, 360Buy now has social presences on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ as a way of dealing with customers.