Traditional brick & mortar stores have been struggling for over a year since the beginning of COVID. While Amazon, just like its name, still maintains a prosperous vitality and has become a must-have store for consumers during the epidemic. Companies that sell primarily unbranded, well-reviewed products on Amazon marketplace are being bought by businesses created just to consolidate those Amazon sellers. These well-funded acquirers are called Amazon Aggregators and are committed to acquiring Amazon brands, conducting brand integration and helping portfolios achieve growth at a global scale. Up till now, Aggregators have raised over 6 billion U.S. dollars, and the leading company Thrasio has accumulated more than 1.75 billion U.S. dollars to deploy.
China is the most prominent supplier of Amazon sellers. Up till now, 63% of Amazon’s top sellers are from China, and a third of them are in Shenzhen. In 2019, Nebula Brands was established in Shenzhen, the most active city in China for cross-border e-commerce. Starting from a cross-border e-commerce fintech platform, Nebula has accumulated a deep understanding of Amazon’s business model based on its strong data processing and modelling capabilities. In 2020, Nebula launched the third-party brand acquisition business and is the first Chinese company to use the “Aggregation + Operation” model to conduct brand acquisition on Amazon.
The wave of Amazon store closures that began in April this year has dealt a heavy blow to some Chinese sellers who are accustomed to obtaining sales through illegal operational means. As Amazon imposes heavy measures against policy violators, incompetent sellers who rely on illegal tactics are quickly eliminated. Efficient brand management on Amazon will bring better products and shopping experiences to consumers. The Aggregators have overall better operational efficiency and product strategy, which would benefit Amazon and end customers in the long run.
“Nebula has a multinational management team with global vision and China-specific country knowledge. On day one, our strategy formulates around making Chinese brands on Amazon go international. We follow up closely with the needs of overseas consumers and leverage China’s supply chain advantages to tap the huge global consumer goods market.” Says William Wang, co-founder of Nebula Brands.
In January, Thrasio, a brand acquirer from the United States, announced its entry into China. Followed by dozens of other overseas third-party brand acquisition companies. Despite being well-capitalised and coming to China with strong momentum, overseas brand aggregators need to solve some big challenges. Identifying compliant and high-quality targets from thousands of native Chinese shops operating in a China-specific way would be a headache for any western business. Also, negotiating with smart Chinese businessmen and convincing them to sell the business would take more than a few phone calls from head offices across the Atlantic.
In the view of Nebula Brands, local knowledge is as important as the global perspective. It is critical to understand the mentality of Chinese sellers and establish an efficient local supply chain to accommodate and consolidate each business. Capital would accelerate the acquisition process but building a tailored ecosystem based on Amazon and China would be a threshold for any foreign business.
Developing an ecosystem to accommodate multi-brand and multi-channel Amazon businesses is a challenge. Nebula broke down the traditional e-commerce business and replaced each process with modularized teams, led by experts in each vertical. The acquired brands would get the best support to release the sales potential on Amazon and be redesigned and restructured to position for growth even beyond Amazon.
Nebula Brands is the first Amazon Aggregator in China market. It has a tracked record of serving thousands of Chinese brand sellers. Nebula’s cross border supply chain finance business help banks analyse the cash flow of Amazon businesses. The team has a strong data team consists of veterans from reputable banks and tech firms. Empowered by data analytics, the investment team can value the business value of a potential seller within 24 hours.
The team understands the needs of these potential sellers and established effective communication with relevant stakeholders. “Sellers are our strategic partners. We appreciate their sector knowledge and they love speaking with us. It’s like having a good friend who can offer help any time. They want to hear our opinion and we are happy to share the growth with friends.” Says William Wang.