With its campaign for the Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in full swing, San Jose-based 100% Pure forecasts that its sales will quadruple year-over-year.
The natural beauty brand expects to bring in RMB 800,000 ($115,000), up from RMB 200,000 last year. To prepare for what is the biggest shopping event in the world, 100% Pure has stocked up inventory with four times its annual demand, said co-founder and CEO Ric Kostick.
By the first hour of Nov. 11, the brand had surpassed its total day sales from last year, he said.
Apart from promotions on its flagship store on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s dedicated cross-border e-commerce site, the brand is tapping another marketing tool on the platform to fuel that growth: Juhuasuan, a group-buying feature for launching flash sales. Juhuasuan will give its products a bigger push with additional exposure on the site’s deals page, as well as opportunities to promote its top-selling star product — the Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream — during livestreams done by Chinese key opinion leaders.
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For Kostick, huge shopping events like 11.11 go beyond just money and sales. They offer a platform to communicate 100% Pure’s brand story as well.
“It’s giving us a mechanism to grow our voice, so hundreds of millions of people can hear our messaging and live a healthier life,” he said. “We’re making that impact thanks to the help of Tmall, and that’s just amazing.”
Currently, 100% Pure has 170 staff and 15 physical stores in the U.S., with another 13 employees in Tianjin, China. The company uses sales channels in China, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the U.K., among other regions, to reach its customers. Since launching on Tmall Global last August, China has grown to account for 5% of the company’s global business. Kostick is convinced that China will become its largest market in five years.
“The team is moving really, really fast in China. It’s just the nature of [the market],” said Kostick. “The more successful you get, the more doors that open.”
Kostick sees the U.S. evolving in line with trends happening in China, particularly the rise of mobile commerce. For one, he said the move to mobile has picked up in the U.S., a trend that has been playing out in China for years. Nearly 70% of traffic on the brand’s website coming from smartphones or tablets, up from 50% last year, Kostick said.
Though 100% Pure is best-known for its skincare products, it recently introduced make-up offerings, such as its new fruit pigmented lipstick to China. The category is doing so well that the brand now plans to make custom lip colors specifically for China, slated to launch next year. The U.S. headquarters will provide research and development support, while giving the Tianjin-based team the freedom decide the exact lip color and pricing.
“You have to do it for that market. The demands are different. The culture is different,” said Kostick, adding that China’s rising demand for lipstick will provide an opportunity to branch out to more categories of make-up, from eye shadow to blush to foundation.”It’s going to open the doors to everything.”
“The way I operate in China is I want to make sure I don’t make the mistake a lot of companies have made before, which is to take a U.S. business mindset and apply that to China. It doesn’t work. You have to operate locally,” he added.