Close

Choose a country

United KingdomEnglish
South AfricaEnglish
IndiaEnglish
InternationalEnglish

Retail in China 2017: Will customers prefer real stores over online?

Blog
14th February 2017

retail_experience_400

Forrester research published a report recently that suggests the Chinese retail market is now bigger than the USA. At almost $5 trillion it is a huge market, but what’s really interesting is the Forrester analysis on market changes and how retail is developing over there.

In particular, there is a trend developing where online retailers go physical. Companies like Alibaba have developed an enormous amount of business, but always from online sales, now Alibaba, Baidu, JD, and Tencent all want to create real physical stores. To put the scale into context for some of these online operations, on Singles’ Day last November Alibaba sold product woth almost $18bn.

It’s true that in the USA, Amazon has been experimenting with stores. They created a bookstore that only stocks the best-selling books on their online platform, with information from the online site available in store – such as customer reviews. Amazon has also recently opened a grocery store without checkouts, using technology to monitor what customers pick up and put in their basket.

But these are really just experiments in taking an online brand into the high street. I have not seen a major trend in the USA or Europe that takes enormous online brands and moves into physical stores.

The Chinese strategy is based on blurring channels. Customers think of a brand, not a sales channel, and therefore it can be helpful for online brands to deliver a complete omni-channel experience by placing stores in major cities.

Of course, this does require a change in the way that the company is organised. An online-only brand can be focused on a single central location that ships products using mail services. All despatches and returns can be handled from a single warehouse. Once the supply chain needs to include a branch network, and both sales and returns are blurred with the online store, then logistics are much more complex.

If this is now becoming a trend in Chinese retail it will be interesting for several major brands here to monitor what happens. Will customers appreciate being able to use real stores for their favourite online brands and is the reorganisation  a worthwhile expense?  Will an increase in sales justify the change? I’m looking forward to finding out over the coming year.

Let me know what you think of this trend in Chinese retail by leaving a comment below or get in touch on LinkedIn.

 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *


Helen Murray
Article by: Helen Murray

News & Insights

Recommended for you
Solution Designer
Service Provider
Technology Enabler
Blog
[Fashion] Take advantage of the “Made in Spain” boom

In recent years, the "Made in Spain" tag-line has positioned itself like never before in the fashion footwear area. It has become a "brand" associated with comfort, quality and design, with excellent value for money. A recognition that opens the doors to footwear firms when entering the most demanding markets. One of them is the United States. A complicated market due to its size, payment...

News
Webhelp Launches New Derby Site

Webhelp UK, one of the country’s leading customer experience and business process outsourcers (BPO), has proudly launched a new site in Derby. It was officially opened on 8th October 2018, at an event attended by the Deputy Mayor for Derby, Councillor Frank Harwood. The new site has three main...

News
Webhelp nominated for Eighteen Awards in Customer Experience and HR

An exciting Awards season lies ahead for leading global Customer Experience (CX) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) expert, Webhelp, which has been named as a finalist eighteen times across five different awards programmes. Firstly, Webhelp has been recognised by the UK Customer Experience...

Whitepaper
B2B Marketplaces are blossoming

Following our publication last year of " The Spring of B2B Marketplaces ": it is time to look back and to answer these questions: has there been some movement in the market? Have B2B players evolved in their marketplace business models? Is launching a new market observatory worthwhile? The answers...

Case Studies
Webhelp People Analytics

...

×

Webhelp Cookies Preference Centre

Strictly Necessary Cookies
The website requires the use of cookies for essential functional requirements and these are outlined in the terms and conditions.

Enhanced Functional Cookies
Some features of this website use services provided by third parties websites. These features use cookies to implement their services on this website and may collect data about your visit to help them optimize their functionality. The Webhelp terms and contitions outlines the cookies used by these services.

We have links to social networking such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
These websites are third party sites. We do not place cookies on their behalf, and do not have control over the way they collect or use your data.
We encourage you to read more about their policies:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Facebook