Imagine a dynamic online system where money transfers, advertising, coupons and delivery services all integrate seamlessly with social media for a complete online experience, and all of this can be accessed via a mobile device with a few finger taps. Welcome to China’s online retail environment – where the tech-savvy do their shopping.
Although traditional retail still accounts for 80% of retail sales in China, on-line sales increased by over 32% in 2017 and is expanding rapidly. However, unlike their western counterparts, the Chinese community are embracing the best of both worlds by remaining in the middle ground of in-store, on-line and mobile retail and calling it the “New Retail” – a phrase invented by Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba.
So just what does “New Retail” mean? Utilizing ultramodern technologies such as AI and facial recognition alongside highly-personalised customer service for a retail experience that’s revolutionary. The merging of online, offline and logistics to optimize customer service.
Think of it this way. When you walk into a fashion store and try an item on, immediately you will be presented with colour choices and matching accessories to complete the overall look via the instore mirror. If you need a different size just enter it into the screen and an assistant provides you with it. All choices are entered into your mobile app, paid for and the items are then delivered. The ability to use your phone to complete the transaction quickly is the key principal, and in China it’s huge.
For brands hoping to setup shop in China’s unique online marketplace, survival means moving fast and adopting this integrated, digitized approach where there is no distinction between online and offline shopping and to be successful in this new landscape, proficiency with WeChat and Alipay is essential.
The Chinese community have no issues about giving out personal information either. Rather than seeing it as something that may potentially be abused and lead to spamming and harassment, it’s just viewed as “the more information that is provided will lead to better service”. To use WeChat as an example, the platform basically requires your passport information however, advertising and spamming etc is almost not allowed instead they choose to focus on their quality of service and not the number of payments generated. Users understand that WeChat will notify them of any discounts that are currently happening at their favourite store they are just about to walk past.
This is quite the opposite of western social media where advertisements are common place and what would users think if Facebook started asking for your passport details?
The integration of technology and society is moving quickly in China – there is a saying that goes “perfect is not fast enough” and western companies need to jump on board quickly if they wish to expand into this unique online marketplace.
China Social Solutions is a Melbourne-based leading digital performance marketing agency. Specialising in Chinese social media, its team of experts have unrivalled experience in the AU-China market. Connect with us for enquiries, world-class Chinese marketing solutions and everything in between. www.chinasocialsolutions.com or 1300 469 667.