Having said so the recent “4 Great Inventions of China” comes to eCommerce, mobile payment, high-speed railway and share-bike. When you try to operate your retail business with regular seasonal sales or promoting the best sellers, you will be far exceeded by so many brands – who deeply understand and master the ecosystem of evolving retail and eCommerce in China.
Yes, retail is evolving because of eCommerce.
Yet, it is not simply the result of going ‘electronic’ or going ‘online’. As the brand manager, you should abandon the perception of how does the retail originally look like. Take action to embrace the golden opportunity that eCommerce brings to your brand!
PROLOGUE：The evolving retails
We may all know, the basic components for retail consist of ‘People‘, ‘Products‘, and ‘Places‘. The evolving retail is the rearrangement of these 3 elements.
In the times of scarcity, products were the utmost importance. It could be sold out easily. In the 2000s, ‘Places’ replaced ‘Products’. When there were more options of the commodity, how could the brands stand out? Yes, shopping malls, offline stores, and even pop-up stores were fully occupied by brands to achieve sales target.
The growth of Internet contributed the rise of online stores and eCommerce – Taobao and T-mall in China. The transformation of the shopping mall from offline to online did not harm the sales much. It tuned out to a supplement to the sales performance for the brands.
In the new era of retail, the evolution brings challenges: Consumers are now hidden and distributed into different above-the-line or below-the-line channels and scenario. So, how to catch the ‘People’ becomes a new mission.
From the ‘Property Retail’ (highly dependent on offline stores and shopping malls), to ‘Searching Retail’ (highly dependent on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Taobao, etc.) and nowaday ‘Social Retail’ (highly dependent on social media and the online community), we will say retail is now transforming to the Era of 3.0. Brands are forced to integrate and upgrade their products, membership, channels, and interface to embrace their customers.
We will focus on the ‘People’ in this article. From the consumer perspective, what will be the best action for brands and consumers? Other articles focus on ‘Products’ and ‘Place’ will be updated next week.
What will be the consumer focus in the new retail era?
People’s lifestyle, value set and perception keep changing, and hence the consumer habit. Research in China showed that the 90s cared about their appearance, worried about death and felt lonely. Thus, platforms and products that are fun, good-looking and able to bring social connections will affect their buying decision.
So, here are the task lists for the brands:
Making your UI looks attractive
Choosing the beauty but not the beast is the nature of things. The UI of the eCommerce platform represents the front door of your store, which can imply a branding, an impression and a trustworthiness to the consumer.
Enhancing user experience
When traffic comes, it is essential to offer them a pleasant user experience. Users can be retained by a simple, clear and direct shopping procedure. It is especially important for the international brands who want to win the China market. Localization is a must during the building up of eCommerce platform. Logical and user-friendly design, mobile-oriented and mobile payment can surely fit the shopping habits of the Chinese.
Interaction with users
An outstanding eCommerce platform should offer users an interactive buying experience and procedure. Interesting interaction can enhance customer pleasure and sense of participation; at the same time building a positive branding effect. Nowadays, the shopping experience also associates much with the social media channels; example like order sharing, referral bonus or recommendation may draw extra traffic or even new customers to your shop.
Big Data and Customer Management
While user completed his/her first purchase, apart from the demographic information kept in the CRM, the analysis should go through the complete customer journey and browsing habit. After repeated analysis, a clear ‘user portrait’ will be outlined and each customer data can be associated with specific tags.
In general, the cost of acquiring a new customer is 5-10 times than maintaining an old customer. A satisfied customer will bring at least 8 transactions. The brand needs the analysis from the big data to formulate target marketing and maintain customer relationship to increase the re-purchase possibility.
In short, how to be the winner in the war of retail in the era of people-centric eCommerce will be the pursuit of many brand managers. Partnership with a professional eCommerce solution provider will apparently help create more sales to your business.
Next week, I will bring you more insights about the ‘Products’ and ‘Places’. Stay tuned!