The Future of Retail : China Experience

Retail in China

Despite the coronavirus pandemic occurring at the end of 2019 in China, retail sales now increased 34.2% compared to the previous year in March 2020.

China has always been dominant in the e-commerce market, but indeed, the unexpected crisis has strengthened advanced retail methods from now on and for the coming years.

Go for Live Streaming

Live streaming sessions are made for direct products’ demonstrations and authentic personal feedback. KOL (Key Opinion Leaders), KOC (Key Opinion Consumers), virtual influencers or shop’s vendors can introduce products and thus, convince watchers / potential customers of buying it.

Live streaming sessions are more and more intended to be entertaining, informative and well organized with links that redirect to the product’s page, instant animations and flash sales. It gives the viewer the feeling to watch a show and to participate in it (ask questions, click on links, send tips…).

At left : Li Jiaqi’s live streaming 6 hours session during 20th of May. At right : Viya’s live streaming 7 hours show during 21st of May

Choosing the period of broadcasting is decisive. Special days as Chinese New Year, Mother’s Day or 520 Festival are famous events that can bring a lot of viewers who are looking for recommendations of gifts. 

Highlight Social Commerce

In 2020, the online retail sales in China reached 11,760.1 billion yuan, grew by 10.9% year on year. Social media represent company’s website. Using Chinese social media and e-commerce functions make the customers purchase while having social interactions.

From eMarketer x InsiderIntelligence.com, January 2021

Wechat has deep mobile penetration and is essential for all kinds of needs : grocery purchase, food ordering, content sharing, direct shopping facilities…

Social commerce is user centric and it is also building a consumers community with centralized purchase data. 

Improve Client Purchasing Online Experience

Dior used AI for delivering beauty advice to customers from its Wechat’s mini program called “Dior’s AI-powered Skin”. The function is quick and simple : after taking a picture of themselves and gathering some basic information, the mini program sends you a skin report with some products’ suggestions. After that, customers can request products’ samples mentioned and even ask for a beauty consultant.

Dior’s AI-powered Skin mini program

Think about a Phygital Strategy

Even though online shopping is more and more chosen by customers, brands that already have physical stores can implement a strong traffic both online and offline.

Brands can combine the best aspects of digital and physical commerce to create the ideal integrated experience for the consumer and new opportunities for retailers and marketers.

At left : Randomevent pop-up store in Hangzhou. At right : Miu Miu x Levi’s pop-up store in Shanghai

Some level of phygital implementation is likely necessary for the continuation of shopping in physical storefronts, especially for Chinese Millennial and Generation Z consumers, who are highly digitally connected.