Pilot program aims to get Margaret River wine direct China

The Margaret River region has been chosen for a pilot program to send wine direct to consumers in China. Australia Post will work with Margaret River winemakers to place wine on a popular Chinese-owned website, 1688.com.

The website 1688.com is the largest wholesale website in China, specialising in sending goods business to business.

The website parent company, Alibaba is larger than eBay and Amazon combined in terms of volumes of transactions.

Wines from the region will be placed on the website, which will promote products as well as the region.

Australia Post general manager of e-commerce and digital platforms Ben Franzi said the program would “take the hassle” out of the export process for wine businesses.

“Australia Post will look after everything all the way from getting the language conversion, getting the pricing right, all the way to the final last mile delivery,” he said.

We want to take it to the remaining wine regions across Australia and then look at other products, such as at milk powders, cosmetics, beauty, health — all those key Australian products that Chinese consumers demand.

Ben Franzi, Australia Post general manager of e-commerce and digital platforms

“It’s targeted at smaller wineries that don’t have the scale and the bulk to be able to do direct into China themselves.”

Mr Franzi said this pilot program was built on an existing service Australia Post offered through another website Tmall.com for business to consumers, rather than business to business.

He said if the 1688.com model worked, Australia Post would expand it to other regions around the country.

“The importance of this pilot is very critical for us,” he said.

“We want to take it to the remaining wine regions across Australia and then look at other products, such as at milk powders, cosmetics, beauty, health — all those key Australian products that Chinese consumers demand.”

The pilot program was launched at Dunsborough winery, Flametree on Monday.

Winemaker Cliff Royal said the winery was already exporting to China, bit only “in dribs and drabs”.

Mr Royal said China had proven to be a complex and difficult market because it did not have a traditional distribution model.

He said Flametree would start small, offering about 200 cases of wine to the online forum.

“This will be a great opportunity for us to dip a toe back in the water and get directly to the consumer,” he said.

Mr Royal said the winery had previously attempted to team up with surrounding wineries to cover the cost of export.

But he said the freight was too costly.

He said the costs were “minimal” with the Australia Post model.

“You don’t have that middle man — the distributor — taking that profit out,” he said.

“We’re really going straight to the consumer.”

Read the original article here, written by Bridget Fitzgerald for ABC

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