Tmall.com today announced new customer-service policies to enhance the consumer experience on China’s largest B2C online-shopping marketplace.
The new policies mostly represent refinements in the way Tmall.com merchants participating in certain product categories handle some of the more common customer complaints.
For example, merchants selling on Tmall’s vertical mini-site for cosmetics starting this year will be required to allow all customers who suffer from an allergic reaction to products to return them for full refunds. In addition, Tmall is asking merchants selling fragile home decoration products to ship replacements for goods damaged during delivery promptly upon customer request, instead of waiting for damaged items to be returned. Both policies are mandatory.
Tmall.com President Wang Yulei said the changes are part of the shopping website’s evolution from “an e-commerce platform that sells products to a social-commerce platform that connects consumers and merchants.”
“Future e-commerce will be based on customer experience,” Wang said.
Owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Tmall.com since its launch in 2008 has been positioned as an online destination where consumers could shop with confidence for authentic branded merchandise. As a condition of selling on the platform, Tmall.com merchants agree to provide unhappy customers with no-questions-asked refunds within seven days of order deliveries. Merchants also put up security deposits that are held in escrow and can be used to compensate consumers if platform rules and services agreements are breached.
Beyond these basic policies, Tmall.com said in 2015 it plans to work more closely with merchants to help them develop more responsive after-sales services. The website said it would tap into the vast amount of data it collects on transactions to help retailers better understand customer needs. Tmall officials added that they plan to develop a training program to help merchants better serve customers both online and offline, and will improve communications channels between the website and merchants.
The company also said in the coming year it would step up efforts to ensure retailers are not selling counterfeit merchandise on Tmall.com, including an increase in “mystery shopping” activities used to identify rogue retailers. “Supporting honest merchants and fighting against cheating merchants is necessary to maintain the integrity of the platform and raise consumer confidence,” Wang said.