Baidu expands some more: after Baidu Baike, the equivalent for Wikipedia, the Q&A platform Baidu Zhidao or Baidu Tieba, the Chinese search engine now also own Baidu Mall. This new website is a direct competitor of those sites of Alibaba Tmall and Taobao and JD.com (which is backed by Tencent).
Let’s look into this new sub-product and what it has to offer.
Baidu Mall: a few information
- Baidu Mall is a B2C e-commerce platform. It was launched in the first week of November 2015, without any big event or announcement
- The platform features mid- to high-end products from third-party sellers. It is possible to find Chinese as foreign brands on the website. Baidu Mall targets 25 to 40 years old white-collar or middle-class consumers
- It is not the first time Baidu tries to get into the e-commerce market: the Internet giant had already have two e-commerce projects, including one attempt in collaboration the Japan’s first shopping e-commerce site Rakuten.
- This e-commerce website plans to focus on O2O transactions (online to offline). It apparently relies on Baidu Maps and works with offline stores: people buying online will be able to choose whether or not they want to fetch their acquisition in a physical shop.
Baidu definitely wants to profit from today’s success of O2O services, and that new function seems to differentiate it from the rest of the e-commerce solutions available online. But is it, really?
Baidu Mall VS Tmall
Tmall is an Alibaba-owned online retail website. It was first launched as Taobao Mall in April 2008, and the group changed its name in 2010 in order to differentiate this BtoC platform from C2C website Taobao.
The website also features brands, local ones like international ones. In fact the two websites look pretty similar: let’s look into it.
First of all, the home page of both websites have a similar structure and design: you will find a large scrolling banner with specific offers, and featured and popular brands or items below. Tmall’s website seems to have more features on the top, while Baidu Mall does not even have a search bar.
Baidu Mall: Home Page structure
TMall: Home Page structure
Then if you look more closely to the product categories, you will see many similarities. However, Tmall features a few products which do not appear on Baidu Mall, like car accessories or health products.
Also, when hovering on these product categories, the menu which appears on top of the banner is more elaborate on Tmall than on Baidu Mall: use of colours, of pictures and flash sales.
Understandably, Tmall seems to be more thorough than Baidu Mall: Alibaba’s BtoC website has been in the arena for a few years now and leads the game. Baidu still needs to improve if it wants its Mall to keep up with the existing giants.
One last thing we can point out here is that the resemblance between Baidu Mall and Tmall might just be due to the use of a generic design we can see on many e-commerce websites. Below you can see
Baidu’s website Temai, which is a flash sales website.