A cohort of five coworkers at a personal care manufacturer and trading company had innovative ideas for product selection and packaging design they wanted to implement. When their suggestions fell on ‘deaf ears’, they decided to found their own beauty and personal care venture. Their aspirations came to fruition in 2019 when Biette was established to make beauty salon procedures a possibility for consumers at home. With a diverse product offering including paraffin therapy, depilation, and nail and skin care with natural active ingredients, the company covers the whole process from manufacturing, selling, and exporting. In the beginning, the team of five full-time staff members and five part-timers had little experience in the export business, but possessed an abundance of enthusiasm and passion for expanding beyond their domestic market.
Choosing Alibaba.com based on prior positive experiences
The import and export manager, Elizaveta Plotnikova, was the sole person in the team with e-commerce experience. “I had used Alibaba.com as a customer before when I worked in sourcing and I noted my main suppliers had their shops there. In addition, it’s a great platform to compare prices and demand. We understood we could also find serious buyers here and make them great offers.” As the person with the most e-commerce expertise, the responsibility of running Biette’s operations on Alibaba.com fell to Elizaveta. “As we are based in Ekaterinburg, our customers are mainly in Russia and Kazakhstan. Through using Alibaba.com, we were able to add the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, and Italy to our list of clientele.” Although Alibaba.com is currently responsible for 10% of Biette’s monthly turnover, Elizaveta is confident this number will only increase as time goes on. “30% of our new customers come from Alibaba.com. I like that these customers become our regular clients as that provides more incentive for us to develop. I also noticed that customers trust us quickly, even during our first year of being on the platform. They were ready to place an order for one or three thousand pieces after only a short period of communication. I really enjoy the trust we are able to build.”
A multi-platform strategy
In addition to using Alibaba.com as Biette’s B2B e-commerce platform, Elizaveta also utilizes local B2C platforms such as WB and OZON as supplementary revenue to their flourishing business, in addition to Aliexpress.com. The bulk of B2B clients Elizaveta assists are trading companies and beauty salons; and a large part of these customers request ODM orders with customized labeling. While she employs a multi-platform strategy, her main focus is still on Alibaba.com. This strategic decision stems from the clear advantages of Alibaba.com: the serious return buyers and the large order quantity compared to B2C platforms. A good example is cuticle oil, a popular product for the company. While Biette can sell 1000 units on WB in a month, it can sell 5-7 orders of the same products on Alibaba.com in the same timeframe, with each order bringing in 1000 units alone.
Excelling on Alibaba.com is a continuous process
As every seller on the platform comes to learn, excelling on Alibaba.com is a continuous process. Elizaveta notes the importance of investing time and effort in engaging with customers. “Good prices, detailed descriptions of the goods paired with attractive photos and videos is very important. Good quality posts helps you get a higher product rankings in the list of offers. A quick response rate to customer inquiries is also very key. There are many other suppliers out there competing for the same customers. Customers want to get terms and prices as fast as possible so they can make decisions.” The Star Ratings features on Alibaba.com motivates Biette to spend more time finetuning their presence on the platform as the ratings can be viewed by buyers in the search results and drive more traffic. The ratings also work to instill more customer trust in the supplier. Elizaveta also highlights a continuous learning effort, whether it’s through training provided on the platform or through support from the Alibaba.com service team.
As Biette looks towards the future, the team has a clear vision of their objectives. “We hope to launch new products soon, including lipsticks and other products, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Alibaba.com.”
Their success could be yours!