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China Digital Roundup I Mark & Spencer, Tiffany, Instagram, Alibaba

A roundup on how digital is transforming our life and business – both in China and the rest of the world through December 19th.

Mark & Spencer embraces new shopping technology, by Fashion United

Mark & Spencer Technogy store

Retailers including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are embracing new technology, including mobile point-of-sale tablets, Google mapping and enhanced self-service terminals in a bid to make shopping even more convenient for its customers.

Department store John Lewis is trialling mobile point-of-sale over the Christmas period in three stores, Cheadle, Brent Cross and Peter Jones, as it embraces its use of shopping technology. Each store will use transactional tablets that allow customers to skip the queues at till banks and make their purchases directly with the member of staff on the shop floor who advised them.

Each tablet will be fully linked to the shop’s till systems, allowing customers to fully complete their purchase in the shop or arrange home delivery, in a development that the retailer states is a UK first. In addition to offering payment assistance the tablets will also give shoppers and the assistants access to a range of product information including customer ratings and reviews on johnlewis.com. Initially, the tablets will be trialled in a number of departments including technology and white goods.

 

Tiffany debuts Tiffany Diamond in Beijing with original music score, by Luxury Daily

Diamond Beijing Tiffany & Cie

Jeweler Tiffany & Co. employed Chinese composer Tan Dun to create a piece that sets the tone for the brand among affluent consumers.

Mr. Dun’s composition was inspired by the jeweler’s Tiffany Diamond, a 128-karat yellow diamond that made its debut in China early in December. Tapping a local, yet world-renowned, musician will help Tiffany appeal to affluent Chinese consumers with a penchant for modern classical music.

“This composition by Mr. Dun creates excellent content for Tiffany to use in various forms of social and digital media to reach a large audience of followers and to attract new followers in China,” said Ron Kurtz, president of the American Affluence Research Center, Atlanta.

 

Hong Kong’s Luxury IFC Mall to Launch E-Commerce Site, by Red Luxury

IFC Mall China

Retail has been forever changed by e-commerce and a more connected consumer. In a nod to a growing trend that merges online and offline channels, Hong Kong’s IFC shopping mall is going online, the first time for a Hong Kong mall operator.

IFC Mall will launch an e-commerce website that allows shoppers to access products offered by its luxury brand tenants.

“The internet is changing the way in which people live, and we now have to run a business in ways that we never imagined before,” said a source. “It will not create direct competition with tenants, but help to reach out to more potential customers.”

 

What Instagram Direct Means for Fashion Brands, by Fashionista

Instagram Direct Feature

On Thursday, Instagram unveiled Instagram Direct, a new feature that allows users to message photos and videos to up to 15 of their friends at a time, rather than all of their followers.

It’s like Snapchat, but with a richer featureset: Images and videos don’t disappear seconds after viewing them, and you and your friends can have private conversations about the messages you send to each other in a comments section.

By limiting messages to 15 people at a time, the opportunity Instagram Direct offers for fashion brands and retailers — which generally want to reach as large an audience as possible — may not be obvious.

 

What Chinese Shopped on Alibaba Marketplaces in 2013, by Technode

alibaba online platform

The ever-growing online shopping market in China helped transactions on the past Nov 11th, the annual online shopping day created by Alibaba, reach a record high.

Nearly 6,000 people in wealthy areas of China spent more than RMB 1 million (about $164,000) each on Taobao platforms in 2013, as buying cars, land-use rights, expensive vacations on Taobao became available in the year.

Alibaba released a report on Alibaba Group’s Taobao Marketplace, Tmall and group-buying service Juhuasuan this year.

China Digital Roundup I In-Store Technology, Michael Kors, TechCrunch Shanghai

A roundup on how digital is transforming our life and business – both in China and the rest of the world through November 22th.

Is In-Store Technology Increasing or Subduing the Relevance of Retail Employees? from Luxury Daily

Guccy In Store Technology

As luxury retailers implement more responsive and comprehensive technology into their stores, employees may find it challenging to prove their relevance.

Mobile technology holds clear advantages over people, such as the ability to retrieve warehouses of product information and design virtual outfits on the spot. While making technology a part of the retail experience can no longer be avoided, luxury retailers should be aware that shearing away too many jobs can hurt brand reputation and certain positions just can’t be replicated by a device.

The report notes that as technology continues to reinvent the retail space, retailers should invest in omnichannel capabilities that will enrich the relationships between consumer and sales associate.

 

China’s Mobile Habits, from Red Luxury

China mobile trends 2013

The smartphone phone has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop, from how they evaluate products to how they buy. A new study by Mindshare China and Millward Brown China urges brands to deliver “a seamless branding and retail experience across all platforms.”

“We know China is such a dynamic market and consumers are increasingly not only using PCs and laptops, but are now directly engaging on mobile platforms for shopping purposes. This increases expectations for brands to deliver a viable shopping experience on all store fronts,” says Ben Condit, Digital Partner at Mindshare China. “From the research, compellingly, we see this to be true across all market levels in China, not just at the top tier.”

 

Michael Kors Brings Instagram Campaign to Life at Tokyo Museum, from Luxury Daily

tokyo Michael Kors Instagram

U.S. label Michael Kors is connecting fans of its Selma handbag through an Instagram initiative that stimulates conversation and unites the brand’s global tribe of enthusiasts. The fan-fueled and city-focused #JetSetSelma effort builds upon Michael Kors’ already diverse product-based digital presence. The label has successfully used key social media platforms, such as Tumblr and Pinterest, to solidify its relationship with core consumers.

“#JetSetSelma is a platform on which to build the association between the handbag’s style, name and social media identity,” said Lisa Pomerantz, senior vice president of global communications and marketing at Michael Kors, New York.

 

TechCrunch Shanghai – How Chinese Bitcoin Businesses See the Market, from Technode

bitcoin conference TechCrunch Shanghai China

The trading price of Bitcoin, the algorithms-powered virtual currency, as of writing is about $530 on the trading platform Mt. Gox. Looking at real-time trading platforms the trading volume from China has been among the top markets worldwide. According to Bitcoin Charts,  31% of the total exchange volume worldwide is traded in CNY (Chinese Yuan).

During the event, the panelists conclude that 1) the value of Bitcoin would continue going up, 2) the commissions fee rates are lower than what traditional financial services charge. Bitcoin is the first time one currency has so many advantages, 1) scarcity, 2) distributed computing 3) digital payment 4) direct transactions that you don’t need any third-parties to process money and 5) it’s very safe that theoretically it cannot be stolen.

 

China’s Unstoppable E-Commerce Market Ready to ‘Explode’, from Jing Daily

China e-commerce expansion 1st market

According to the firm’s 2013 Global Retail E-Commerce Index, China’s $64 billion online retail market is expected to “explode” to reach $271 billion in the next five years, placing it at the top of the list for the world’s most promising e-commerce markets. The 30-country ranking includes both developing and developed markets, with Japan and the United States trailing China in second and third place on the list.

With a developing “Next Generation” categorization, China’s e-commerce market has “been able to shortcut the traditional online retail maturity curve as online retail grows at the same time that physical retail becomes more organized,” according to the report. Although there are still significant logistical challenges, the report predicts that “infrastruc­ture improvements, increased Internet access for rural regions, rising wealth, and consumers’ growing predisposition to spend” will all lead to the market’s continued boom.

China Digital Roundup I Mandarin Oriental, Lyst, The Fancy, Giorgio Armani

A roundup on how digital is transforming our life and business – both in China and the rest of the world through November 5th.

Mandarin Oriental Instagram Contest, from Luxury Daily

#MOinsider Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is furthering its 50th anniversary celebrations with an Instagram contest until Nov. 14 that aims to compile a broad range of experiences to give prospective consumers a feel for the area. The #MOInsider contest asks fans to submit photos of must-see experiences that represent what what Hong Kong and Bangkok mean to them. The deliberately broad guidelines for the contest will likely generate a full view of both environments.

“Instagram contests that focus on experience and destination oriented themes rather than narrow themes can be more successful in attracting participation and engagement from followers because it’s inclusive of everyone not just hotel guests,” said Tiffany Dowd, founder and president of Luxe Social Media, Boston. “Social media is all about word of mouth and peer-to-peer recommendations,” she said.

 

One Card to Rule Them All, from Business of Fashion

What's on your it lyst

The Internet has re-wired the way we shop. No longer limited to retailers that happen to be nearby, shoppers are now able to browse a much larger catalogue of products than ever before, across a wide array of e-commerce sites. But sifting though this expanded offering to find the right products poses new challenges of its own.

By aggregating large databases of products under one roof and layering on social curation tools, sites like Lyst and The Fancy have emerged to help consumers browse many retailers in one place, separate signal from noise, and find more interesting and personally relevant items. “It’s very easy to arrange things on-the-fly online, based on what you’re interested in,” says Chris Morton, founder and CEO of Lyst. “I now expect an experience that knows what I like and shows it to me.”

 

China’s 464 Million Mobile Web User in 2013, from Tech In Asia

A portrait of China's 464 million mobile web users (INFOGRAPHIC)

China has 591 million internet users and over 460 million mobile web users, according to figures from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). So who are these people, and what are they doing online on their phones?

A new infographic from Go Globe answers these questions. Delving into official figures, the graphic reveals that China’s mobile netizens are mostly young – 73.3 percent of them are under 36 years old.

 

Armani Website Redesign Shows Pinterest Influence, from Luxury Daily

Armani.com Online Store

Italian fashion label Giorgio Armani is seeking to pull consumers to its ecommerce options with a new Web site that emphasizes simplicity. The redesign allows consumers to easily navigate the world of Armani through enhanced search functions and cleaner categories. By making the Web site more functional, Armani is likely to see a boost in ecommerce.

“The Armani site redesign clearly shows the influence of Pinterest, which is a good thing,” said Michael Tchong, founder of Social Revolution and trend analyst at Ubercool, San Francisco.