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taobao.

com
Reinventing (E-)Commerce

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Taobao, part of the


Alibaba Group, is Chinas
largest online shopping website.
Here follows the three-act
story of its evolution since
it began in 2003.

Platform-building from
the ground up

With a growing middle class and


Internet connectivity, Taobao sees
an opportunity to boost commerce
by connecting Chinese consumers
and sellers online.

But lack of trust and a largely


missing infrastructure create
challenges

at I
h
w
tly
Exac ant
w

Get pa
id 100
%
of the
times

Instant

Acces,
use

es

spons
e
r
t
s
a
F

Highes

t price

High P

w and
e
n
l
l
e
S
ods
o
g
d
e
us

rices

Low qua

lity

st

Lack of Tru

Chinese
consumers

nd
Find a
ods
o
g
e
r
i
acqu

ocess
r
p
t

n
Ca
nts
payme

Non-e
xiste
logisti nt
infrast cs
ructur
e

o
cess t
c
a
r
o
Po
ers
custom

Chinese
sellers

Taobao first focuses on creating


trust and on building the missing
infrastructure

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

Banks & Alip


ay

Two-way review
system

to create new value propositions


for consumers and sellers alike.

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

Web Retail with


best price/
quality

Retail sales
platform

Banks & Alip


ay

Two-way review
system

IT

Online
customer
service

Infrastructure
development

taobao.com

0.- (subsidized
by Alibaba)

Shift towards microentrepreneurs

Sellers discover an opportunity to


create a business and become
micro-entrepreneurs with a set of
business-like jobs, pains and
gains.

Get pa
id 100
%
of the
times

nses
o
p
s
e
r
Fast

nized
Recog
brand

Repea
custom t
ers

Sell pr
oducts

Highes

t price

w and
e
n
l
l
e
S
ods
o
g
d
e
us

Easy a

dmin
ng

a livi
Make
iness
s
u
b
o
N
ence
experi

ocess
r
p
t

n
Ca
nts
payme

Non-e
xiste
logisti nt
infrast cs
ructur
e

o
cess t
c
a
r
o
Po
ers
custom

Chinese
sellers

aking
Not m oney
hm
enoug

sion

pas
a
l
l
fi
l
u
F

No cus
to
knowle mer
dge

Microentrepreneurs

Sellers become
micro-entrepreneurs

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

Web Retail with


best price/
quality

Retail sales
platform

Banks & Alip


ay

Two-way review
system

IT

Online
customer
service

Infrastructure
development

taobao.com

0.- (subsidized
by Alibaba)

Taobao shifts focus, adds


service providers and adapts its
value proposition

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Help
entrepreneu
rs
succeed

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

builssinaelesss
GroRweta
platform

Banks & Alip


ay

App developers
+ fashion
models

IT

Web Retail with


best price/
quality

Online
customer
service

Two-way review
system

Infrastructure
development

taobao.com

0.- (subsidized
by Alibaba)

and creates revenue streams to


turn a profit for the first time.

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Help
entrepreneu
rs
succeed

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

IT

Training &
empowerment

builssinaelesss
GroRweta
platform

Banks & Alip


ay

App developers
+ fashion
models

Web Retail with


best price/
quality

Online
customer
service

Two-way review
system

Infrastructure
development

taobao.com

0.- (subsidized
by Alibaba)

Premium for
advanced sh
op
features

Ads

Growing audience is
basis to new business

Access to millions of Chinese


consumers becomes the basis of a
new value proposition to a new
customer.

Reliable
shopping
engine

Reach Chinese
mass-market

Sales statist

ics

Grow sales

Customer
acquisition cost

Harsh
competition

Develop brand

Effort to
establish
presence

Big Brands

loyalty

Millions of consumers
become a precious asset

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Help
entrepreneu
rs
succeed

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

Training &
empowerment

builssinaelesss
GroRweta
platform

Banks & Alip


ay

App developers
+ fashion
models

Web Retail with


best price/
quality

Online
customer
service

Two-way review
system

taobao.com

Millions of
Chinese
consumers

IT

Infrastructure
development

0.- (subsidized
by Alibaba)

Premium for
advanced sh
op
features

Ads

Taobao leverages this asset


for a new value proposition

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Help
entrepreneu
rs
succeed

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

Two-way review
system

Millions of
Chinese
consumers

IT

Training &
empowerment

builssinaelesss
GroRweta
platform

Banks & Alip


ay

App developers
+ fashion
models

Web Retail with


best price/
quality

Online
customer
service

Infrastructure
development

taobao.com

One stop
presence

0.- (subsidized
by Alibaba)

Premium for
advanced sh
op
features

Ads

to a new lucrative
customer (big brands).

taobao.com

Expres
s
logisti
cs
provid
ers

Help
entrepreneu
rs
succeed

Developing
commerce
infrastructure

Two-way review
system

Millions of
Chinese
consumers

IT

Training &
empowerment

builssinaelesss
GroRweta
platform

Banks & Alip


ay

App developers
+ fashion
models

Web Retail with


best price/
quality

Online
customer
service

Infrastructure
development

taobao.com

One stop
presence

tmall.com

0.- (subsidized
by Alibaba)

Premium for
advanced sh
op
features

Membership

Ads

2-5% of sales

fees

Lessons Learned

Taobao created three


dierent types of
business models
(and value propositions)
in just ten years.

?
2008:
Big B2C
2006:
Small B2C
2003:
C2C

Watch evolving context on


platform and in wider
economy and society

Develop capability to
reinvent by responding
to changes with new
business models and
value propositions

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