Pitney Bowes’ Cross-Border Chinese Commerce Play

Borderfree, owned by Pitney Bowes, is moving to bring more U.S. fashion and accessories to Chinese consumers.

Through a partnership that is already in place with Ant Financial’s Alipay, but is now being expanded, the firms are introducing a new wrinkle, wherein Chinese consumers can buy goods directly from the U.S. retailers by making localized payments.

The initial phase of the partnership was launched last year and allows Alipay’s 400 million active and registered users to buy from marquee names in the United States, ranging from Bloomingdale’s to Macy’s to Saks, along with more recent entrants, such as MotoSport.

“We are very focused on increasing our brand awareness in China, as well as growing our international eCommerce business. The importance of an easy user experience, enabling customers to check out using their preferred method, Alipay ePass, is key in driving conversion. Through Borderfree, we are now able to offer this service to our clients in China, allowing them to purchase with confidence,” a statement by Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta, LLC, noted of the brand’s recent partnership with Borderfree.

The joint effort between the two companies helps remove some issues that bedevil cross-border transactions, with an eye on logistics and currency, with the same retail prices offered to U.S. and Chinese consumers alike. Within China, Alipay handles shipping, customs clearance and door-to-door delivery within that country. In terms of tracking, customers can use the Alipay account to monitor the progress of their orders.

As has been noted by the two firms, China is the top international end market for online shopping. EMarketer has forecasted the country will grab as much as 40 percent of eCommerce sales globally this year. Separately, Pitney Bowes’ Global Online Shopping Study has shown the U.S. to be the top destination for eCommerce shoppers looking to buy items beyond their shores.


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