China e-commerce companies mix online and offline retail for growth, Asia News & Top Stories


Pure e-commerce is a thing of the past, said Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, even having registered a record 213.5 billion yuan ($ 42.3 billion) this year with the retail phenomenon it created, the festival Singles Day shopping on November 11. .

Top executives from other e-commerce companies agree, having tried in recent years to capture a larger share of the retail market by combining brick and cement stores with online shopping.

Although this day's Singles Day sales were the highest ever for Alibaba, growth was only 27%, the slowest rate in 10 years.

For Alibaba's chief executive, Daniel Zhang, the answer to future innovations, paradoxically, is to explore the brick and mortar stores.

In a concept known as "new retail," physical stores are scanned into smart stores that combine offline and online shopping into a seamless experience to entice buyers to buy more.

"Not only do we have a digital online market, but we can also help scan the entire consumer market, which today is about 36 trillion yuan in China," Zhang said at a recent news conference.


Pure e-commerce online is dead.

MR ZHANG JINDONG, President of Suning Holdings.

The traditional online sector accounted for 20% of total consumption, he noted, adding that the "new retail" would help the e-commerce leader reach the remaining 80% of the retail market.

"We have a customer base, share inventory, online and offline, the supply chain, the customer management system," he told reporters. "We are in a world, serving a group of customers."

Alibaba experimented with the concept three years ago through its Hema supermarket, which was renamed Hippofresh.

To better capture the buyers' data, payment at the supermarket can only be made through Alipay, the company's mobile payment application. And buyers who live within a 3-mile radius of a store can order through an app and get the product fresh in 30 minutes.


After more than a decade building technology and infrastructure for our own retail business, we will spend the next decade extending our capabilities to empower and empower online and offline retail innovators. We see the future of retail as one without frontiers.

DR LIAO JIANWEN, director of strategy for, China's second largest e-commerce player.

The company also applied the concept of "new retail" to a chain of about 400 brick and cement hypermarkets in major cities in China where it has investments.

At a hypermart in Shanghai, there is also a smart corner for mothers and babies. It has several interactive stations, including screens for customers to browse and buy products through their cell phones, scanning QR codes, vending machines distributing samples for a penny and an interactive corner where shoppers can learn more about the products they are in concerned.

Other e-commerce giants, such as and, have also activated hundreds of thousands of physical retail stores during the shopping festival to launch promotional activities in-store and online.

Suning said that its campaign sales on all its channels, combined online and offline, increased 132% over last year.

"Pure online e-commerce is dead," Zhang Jindong, chairman of Suning Holdings, said in a statement. The future of retailing, he said, is to provide smart solutions and combine online and offline marketing to provide customers with an improved retail experience.

This is echoed by, the country's second largest e-commerce player, which reported 159.8 billion yuan in sales on November 11 and the previous 10 days.

"After more than a decade building technology and infrastructure for our retail business, we will spend the next decade extending our capabilities to empower and empower both online and offline retail innovators," said Liao Jianwen, director of strategy of .

"We see the future of retail as one without frontiers," he added.


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