Over half of the sales on China’s largest ecommerce platform, Taobao, are going through its mobile app. Browsing through Taobao products on a smartphone has become one of the most popular past times of Chinese mobile users after using WeChat. Here are the five top unique Taobao app features that are the largest contributors to its efficiency and popularity.
5 unique Taobao app features that drive its mobile sales
Picture search function
Imagine you are in a store looking at a really nice watch that would be just perfect for you. Unfortunately, you can’t be sure that you are getting the best deal on the price. That’s when Taobao app picture search comes really handy. All you have to do is snap a photo directly from within the app, or load previously taken image, and within seconds Taobao app displays the matches from its vast database.
This powerful functionality enables users to instantly compare online prices while browsing for goods in a physical store or, practically, anywhere they come across something they would like buy. In most cases, Taobao prices will also be lower which, in effect, threatens to turn some traditional retailers with brick and mortar stores into nothing more than showrooms.
Package tracking system
All online marketplaces have some type of shipment tracking system but only Taobao app takes it all the way to the new level. As soon as a seller ships the product you have just bought, it will be tracked at every point along its journey regardless of what delivery service was used.
Tracking packages is being updated within minutes which makes it really easy to figure out where it is and when it will be delivered. Finally, when it arrives, Taobao app will send you a push notification and, in some cases, SMS message as well.
Alipay payment integration
Alipay, Taobao payment system, is the principal technological enabler of the platform and the integral component of Chinese ecommerce landscape. Alipay provides an extremely easy and secure way to pay for purchases both online and offline.
Practically, everyone with a smartphone and a bank account in China has Alipay account which is also widely used to pay for purchases in physical stores, restaurants and even in the government offices. When used within China, Alipay doesn’t charge any fees except for very large transactions. Paying with Alipay is also very secure, convenient and fast. In effect, Alipay acts as a personal bank account in and of its own, complete with monthly statements and spending breakdowns.
Although, some Taobao vendors still accept cash on delivery, it is hard to imagine Taobao achieving such popularity without Alipay being its integral part.
AliWangWang instant chat
Chinese online consumers overwhelmingly expect Taobao vendors being able to answer questions and reply to inquiries within the shortest time possible. Also, the vendors realize that responding to inquiries from potential buyers in real time significantly increases chances of closing the sale. This is why Taobao integrated live chat app called AliWangWang, has become another important component of Taobao platform.
Customers can initiate chat sessions with sellers directly from the mobile app while sellers can use AliWangWang as a stand-alone app running on mobile or computer. It offers an easy way for both parties to communicate and not only serves as an effective pre-sale tool but also goes a long way in building trust.
Push notification remarketing
Almost all mobile apps use push notification in one way or the other. What makes it different in Taobao case is that the push notifications are tailored to each user and are made relevant to them. The way this is done is by taking into account users’ product search history, content of their wish list and past purchases in order to deliver tailor made messages that are most likely to pique their interest.
Also, unlike in the case of other apps, users tend not to disable push notifications from Taobao on their phones because they don’t want to miss messages related to product deliveries or any issues related to their purchases in progress
Mobile app makers are well aware that sending too many push notification can quickly annoy users. This why Taobao typically limits them to no more than once per day.