The day after China, and increasingly the rest of the world, was in the ban of the Double 11, Singles Day online shopping extravaganza, it is highly appropriate to once more shine a light on the phenomenal online retail infrastructure that makes it all possible.
In China, retail is more digital than anywhere else in the world and there are clear lessons to be learned.
Chinese online sales have grown about 25% in each of the past seven years and reached about $1.9 trillion in 2020, surpassing 50% of total retail.
Chinese companies and individuals have led the way in developing video retail, social commerce, retail gamification, community retail, retail-as-a-service, and many other new digital channels, including the super app, which provides an all-in-one experience for consumers by accessing various services and offerings.
The enormous and elaborate ecosystems that over the last decade or so have been built by the likes of Alibaba, Tencent, and JD and that are increasingly being challenged by up-and-coming platforms such as PingDuoDuo, Meituan, Bythedance, and “Red” (also known as xiaohongshu) and latest kid on the block Dewe, make all this innovation and massive shopping potential possible.
I highly recommend you read the article I am reposting here. In it, Profs Mark Greeven, Katherine Xin and George Yip make a compelling case that digital retailing is an organizational transformation in the making. As they cleverly write: A famous Chinese saying has it that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But the new customer journey begins with many steps.
They provide five very clear lessons that Western companies can learn from China as they develop their own digital market offerings.