Delivery times from China are being cut as Royal Mail and Alibaba’s global retail marketplace AliExpress forge closer ties.
China is already the largest importing country Royal Mail deals with, and the two parties have an existing strategic agreement in place. This extension to that agreement will see shipping times from China cut to just two weeks, as it directly links international airfreight with Royal Mail’s UK network – a move which will almost certainly see shopping directly with Chinese retailers become a more attractive pastime for UK consumers. It is also a clear signal of Alibaba’s international expansion ambitions; the group already accounts for somewhere in the region of 80% of Chinese ecommerce sales.
Chinese shoppers are also the largest single destination for exported UK ecommerce orders, accounting for 25% of overseas online shopping from the UK.
Joe Yan, AliExpress director of global operations, said: “Our mission is to make cross-border trade enjoyable and hassle-free for the merchants and consumers that use our platform. By collaborating with Royal Mail, we are working with a trusted delivery partner in a very important market to improve the cross border shopping experience to the UK consumer.”
Both AliExpress merchants in China and online shoppers in the UK will benefit from the new shipping solutions. Upon purchase and selection of the Royal Mail delivery option, items will be airfreighted to the UK to enter Royal Mail’s network for quick and reliable delivery through its Tracked 48 or First Class services.
Royal Mail has also announced that it has won a three year deal with books retailer, Waterstones; online orders from the bookseller will be delivered in the UK by Royal Mail’s Tracked 24 and Tracked 48 services.
Despite the growing popularity of e-readers in recent years, physical book sales are once again on the up, with Waterstones recording 3% increase in physical book sales in the first half of 2015, the first such growth since 2012.
Erwyn Rentzenbrink, head of stock operations, said: “Waterstones are delighted to join forces with Royal Mail. From today all orders from Waterstones.com will be delivered by Royal Mail in the UK and internationally. We believe Royal Mail are a perfect fit for us, offering a reliable, professional and efficient service putting our customers first.”