Chinese Cross-border E-commerce SHEIN Succeeds at Core


Recently, PYMNTS's latest shopping app ranking shows that the Chinese cross-border e-commerce independent site SHEIN has once again surpassed Amazon and become the shopping app with the highest number of downloads globally. This global fast fashion ecommerce brand was established in 2012 and quickly rose to prominence in 2021 after the Amazon account suspension incident, successfully surpassing Amazon to become the shopping app with the highest number of downloads on both Android and Apple app stores, taking the lead in markets such as the United States.

Secret of Success

The main reason SHEIN stands out is its use of big data, flexible supply chain, and influencer-based marketing model. Unlike other brands, SHEIN chose to establish an independent site from the beginning, rather than relying on third-party platforms such as Amazon.

Shift in Strategies

As Chinese sellers realize the advantages of independent sites, more and more sellers are transitioning from third-party platforms to multi-platform operations and establishing their own independent sites. According to data, the number of independent sites established by Chinese companies overseas saw a sharp increase in 2021, and the share of independent sites has been climbing year by year.

Advantages of Independent Sites

Independent station refers to a cross-border e-commerce website established by the seller independently. Compared to third-party platforms, sellers can have their own branded official website and independently connect with logistics, warehousing, payment, and other links, thereby completing a more comprehensive operation. In addition, independent stations can help sellers accumulate user data, promote better marketing conversion.

Dual-track mode

It is worth noting that sellers do not completely abandon third-party platforms, but adopt a 'third-party platform + independent station' dual-track mode. This mode helps in business growth, enhances risk resistance, and saves platform commissions for sellers.

Operational challenges

For Chinese cross-border e-commerce players, although building an independent station can bring a series of advantages, they also need to face many challenges, such as the complexity of independent station SaaS, market-specific requirements, and the difficulty of data integration. Therefore, enhancing data analysis capabilities and optimizing user experience are crucial.

Future outlook

In the field of cross-border e-commerce in China, tools and traffic are not the most core competitive advantages. Drawing on SHEIN's successful experience, big data application, flexible supply chain, and internet celebrity sales model are the real 'moat.' However, the shaping of these core advantages requires long-term accumulation. Chinese cross-border e-commerce needs to make strategic adjustments and face future challenges.