In a Nutshell: Taeltech is a a cross-border marketplace for Chinese consumers, bringing them high quality products from around the world. Taeltech also provides unique data insights and rapid marketing experimentation tools for brands who want to better engage with their Chinese customers. Tael’s state-of-the-art anti-counterfeit labels are added to products at their point of origin to protect goods through to the consumer’s front door. Consumers in the Taeltech ecosystem earn loyalty points for various actions, such as scanning the high-tech labels, completing surveys, or referring friends and family, and can use these points to subsidize future purchases. The company is aggressively expanding its operations throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Counterfeit goods are a worldwide problem that cost consumers $460 billion in 2016 alone. This figure only represents the cost of those products being sold to consumers — and doesn’t include a huge number of secondary costs.
This includes, most importantly, the cost of health issues for consumers who are harmed by the counterfeit products they consume. The 2008 milk powder scandal in China is a visceral example, but it’s not the only one. There is a huge risk to consumers who eat, drink, bathe in, rub on, or otherwise consume fake products, posing very real dangers to their health.
Consider also the loss of revenue to the brands themselves and the cost for consumers who end up having to replace fake goods with real ones. When consumers are scammed, they end up supporting fraudulent operators instead of the brands they love.
Taeltech is a company that offers a complete ecosystem for consumers who want to ensure they are not purchasing counterfeit goods, and for brands that want to better understand their consumers and keep them safe.
“Taeltech facilitates authentic relationships between brands and consumers, using unique data-driven consumer insight tools, rapid marketing experimentation, state-of-the-art anti-counterfeiting technology, and a novel token-based incentive system,” explained Drew McCartie, Business Development Manager with Taeltech. “Our tools not only allow brands to better understand and communicate with their customers but also keep customers safe from counterfeit products when they make cross-border purchases, risks which are highly prevalent in conventional cross-border sales channels.”
The worry over counterfeit products is a universal problem, but is especially acute in certain countries, including China and India. As online shopping continues to grow, the demand for authentic products increases. After all, it’s easier to inspect products at a retail store compared to ones ordered from a website.
In China, past scandals with counterfeit products have created a huge demand for the authentication of critical products (i.e., products that can affect the health and well-being of the purchaser). The Chinese market for critical products, such as baby food, premium cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and top-shelf alcohol, easily exceeds $100 billion per year.
About 20% of China’s population, or 250 million people, purchase goods within Taeltech’s target market. That’s a big market. In fact, 53% of Chinese cross-border online shoppers spend more than $1,400 a year on purchases. Another 15% spend in excess of $2,900 annually.
As China prospers, the population’s spending power increases, as does the appetite for cross-border e-commerce.
Another factor driving demand for cross-border critical goods is the ability of merchants to deliver sophisticated marketing messages to consumers. This is due to the size of marketing budgets for brands and merchants, frequently 20% to 30% of annual sales.
Taeltech taps into this growing demand with an ecosystem that guarantees the authenticity of products and a powerful loyalty program that rewards buyers. This gives Tael a competitive edge, especially when it comes to the critical goods markets.
In answering that demand, Taeltech technology “ensures we know where products end up and that they are genuine no matter how convoluted the journey to their destination may be,” noted McCartie.
At the heart of the Taeltech ecosystem is its use of proprietary labels that are added to products at their point of production or by partner distributors. For example, New Zealand Cherry Corp adds Taeltech labels to their cherry boxes at their facility in Cromwell, New Zealand’s South Island. They are then encoded at the facility, and at each touchpoint along the supply chain journey to the consumer.
The labels are tamper-evident, so if the package is opened once the label has been affixed the consumer will be able to tell. This ensures that a product cannot be adulterated during its journey to the end consumer, which protects the consumer from harm and stops damage to brand integrity.
“Our consumer-centric label scanning system is much easier to deploy, and maintains security even if it doesn’t get scanned at every stage of the supply chain,” said McCartie. “Bottom-up feedback from the consumer allows us to know where products end up regardless of how convoluted their journey may be, and these products are protected all the way by our anti-counterfeiting labels.”
The other half of the Taeltech ecosystem is the consumer’s ability to earn blockchain-based loyalty points. Thanks to their novel incentive scheme, consumers can earn loyalty points (called shijifen) in a range of ways.
Consumers first receive Tael tokens when they sign up for the Taeltech Marketplace. They subsequently earn more tokens by making purchases, scanning to verify products after they receive them, and, as part of Tael’s most recent product expansion, by providing answers to the custom insight surveys deployed by brand partners.
These tokens can be spent to subsidize purchases made in the Taeltech Marketplace.
Although the Taeltech Marketplace is restricted to China, its ecosystem already extends to other parts of Asia, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
“The Taeltech ecosystem currently includes over 500 products sold to over 50,000 consumers across every province in China,” said McCartie. “Our products enable brands to better understand and connect with their Chinese customers.”
The company recently expanded its B2B product suite to include unique, rapid marketing experimentation and consumer insights tools for its brand partners.
These tools are available to any company that wants to better understand Chinese consumers, such as those selling consumer goods, market researchers, higher education institutions, etc., regardless of where they are based. Taeltech’s tools use data based on actual consumer behavior — not just the vague memories of focus group participants — and can deliver insights to brands much faster than traditional consumer research can.
The unique value of the data generated by these products is that the consumers who complete the surveys come from all over China. Currently, most brands rely on data from the large eastern cities where consumer preference and spending habits are completely different than those in the rest of the country.
Competition is also fierce in Tier-1 cities, and there is a huge demand among brands selling in China to expand further west. To do so, they need to understand how preferences differ in each province and city, and this understanding is exactly what Taeltech’s tools can provide them.
“We’ve just kicked off a huge new partnership with Japan’s Odakyu Department Store,” said McCartie. “This helps them extend their department store experience into China’s domestic market digitally, using our Marketplace, and opens them up to using our consumer insight tools to better understand the Chinese consumers that shop with them. We will be steadily scaling up this partnership over the next couple of months. This illustrates how we can play a unique role in helping brands and stores bridge the gap to their Chinese customers.”