Mobile set to drive the next ecommerce revolution in Asia

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Mobile set to drive the next ecommerce revolution in Asia

Retail Congress Asia Pacific 2017 report by Ian McGarrigle

China now leads the world in launching new retail ideas said speakers at the 2017 Retail Congress Asia Pacific.

Delegates at the Congress, which took place in Hong Kong this week, heard from a range of retailers from different countries across the region about how they are focussing on today’s customers’ needs. This is leading to far more engaging online experiences, greater content, faster response and quicker delivery and a rethinking of the role of the store.

“If you don’t respond to a customer within 10 seconds on Tmall, they will look elsewhere and you’ve lost the sale,” said Annemiek Ballesty, Fossil Group’s Vice President for Greater China confirming that speed is vital.

Alibaba’s global managing director, Guru Gowrappan, said that today’s consumers, particularly in China and Asia spend more time browsing, researching, engaging with their peer group for reviews and then experiencing. Bringing content to life via video online is now an essential part of selling. 3.4 billion minutes of video content are watched every day, blurring the lines of entertainment and commerce he said.

Finding effective ways to link the on and offline worlds was another major theme to emerge. Dustin Jones, the Executive VP and Managing Director of Macy’s China revealed how his team of millennials in Hong Kong and China helped rethink the Macy’s store concept to create an online-first strategy. Taking the best products from the US, Macy’s has now launched a dynamic website using video and engaging content to help sell products, delivered quickly and supported by innovative pop up stores that open in the next few weeks in three Chinese cities.

JD.com’s head of fashion, Xia Ding, summarised the new drivers of retail as staying very close to trends and working with their technologists to constantly make delivery faster and more efficient. And above all that “as an online retailer, we rely 100% on data”.

Retailers cannot succeed on their own in this new world and delegates heard much about the need for partnerships with other brands and businesses to create dynamic solutions. Stores and shopping malls need to embrace technology and mobile data to know instantly when customers are in their stores just as online retailers know who is shopping with them. Leading young Asian entrepreneur, Sasha Tan of Favful said that “offline” needs to be used more as a great physical showcase which will help consumers purchase either on or offline.

Asian retail, particularly in China, has clearly understood that by using technology, data, content and speed it is revolutionising retail by making it easy for consumers to purchase and to pay for products.

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