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China Digital Roundup I Apple, Tmall, Fan BingBing, LightInTheBox

A roundup on how digital is transforming our life and business – both in China and the rest of the world through January 10th.

Apple aims for more Chinese customers with a new e-store on Alibaba’s Tmall, by Tech in Asia

Apple Store tmall Premium Brand

Apple has opened an official web store on Tmall, Alibaba’s “online mall” for brands and big-name merchants, reports the Wall Street Journal. Accessible at apple.tmall.com, the new online storefront marks Apple’s first foray into setting up an e-store outside of its online Apple Store.

What’s the significance here? For one thing, it’s a sign that Apple is directly utilizing yet another sales channel through which it can reach Chinese consumers. Last December it finalized a massive deal with domestic telco China Mobile, and it will cut the ribbon at a shiny new Apple Store in Beijing today.

 

Fan Bingbing’s potent ‘Star Effect’ worth $74 million on Taobao, by JingDaily

Fan Bingbing Taobao iron man

Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chopard, Cartier, Mercedes-Benz, Adidas, Moët & Chandon, and L’Oreal knew what they were doing when they hired actress Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) as their celebrity brand ambassador: a report last month by online retail giant Alibaba’s Taobao revealed that the Iron Man 3 star has generated US$74 million (RMB450 million) in e-commerce revenue.

Showing that “star effect” is actually quantifiable, the e-tailer released its list of the most lucrative brand ambassadors generating income for the site in 2013. According to the report, Fan easily topped the charts. The ranking was calculated by taking into account the name keyword searches that brought in the most revenue, along with the total sales revenue of each brand with a celebrity ambassador, according to Taobao. Unsurprisingly, her largest influence was in the areas of women’s dresses, handbags, high heels, and sunglasses.

 

Try on virtual makeup and pay with your hand with Retail Tech at CES 2014, by Brand Channel

ModiFace Makeup Mirror

Traditionally the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is an event that offers a glimpse of the future in technology from a consumer perspective. CES 2014 is no different—but it wasn’t just a glitzy keynote by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer that was creating buzz. Also on display were several technological innovations that suggest a whole new retail world is right around the corner.

The latest innovations are: “3D Augmented Reality Makeup and Anti-Aging Beauty Mirror” by ModiFace, The Biometric Scanner by PulseWallet, the virtual currency BitCoin and the tracking technology iBeacon by Apple. This is just the beginning of a brave new retail world—and consumers have yet to weigh in on just how much technology they want to help them shop.

 

China’s LightInTheBox acquires Ador, the Seattle-based social commerce site, by Tech in Asia

Ader LightInTheBox social ecommerce

LightInTheBox, the China-based e-commerce and sourcing company, has acquired Ador, the Seattle-based social e-commerce startup, for an undisclosed sum. The Lockerz team then launched Ador last April as a site where users could follow celebrities and models, track what they wear, and then purchase goods from retailers that provide Ador with a cut.

The acquisition is quite an interesting one. Ador appears to be in a state of constant transition, and a relationship with LightInTheBox – which, as a business and a brand, is pretty far from a sexy social e-commerce firm – will likely bring about further changes in its business model. Meanwhile, LightInTheBox can leverage Ador’s expertise in social and its existing partnerships with US retailers to move beyond its reputation as a seller of high-quality, inexpensive Chinese goods. In addition, the Ador team’s experience at Amazon will bring along knowledge and industry connections.

 

China Luxury Trends for 2014, by Red Luxury

China Luxury trends

China is a country in constant change. The rate of change related to anything China has been phenomenal, presenting both challenges and opportunities for luxury companies who want to part of this promising market.

Despite a much-reported growth ‘slowdown’ and political upheavals, China’s growth will continue. We expect Chinese luxury consumers’ desire for less conspicuous consumption and unique experiential pursuits to gain further momentum this year. Other trends to watch in 2014 include:

E-Commerce/M-Commerce Becoming the Norm – Lower Tiered Cities Become Major Battlefield – Research & Purchase Model Is Here to Stay – Growth of “Lifestyle” Brands – Shift from Rapid Store Expansion to Improve Store Productivity – Second Hand Luxury Boom – China to Become Greener.

China Digital Roundup I Martell, Bomoda, Snap Fashion

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

Martell’s Savvy WeChat Campaign Engages China’s Frequent Flyers, by JingDaily

Martell WeChat

Travelers making their way through Beijing and Shanghai airports this fall can participate in an innovative new ad campaign by Martell Noblige Cognac that combined mobile and offline marketing with a focus on interactive participation by consumers. The campaign, entitled Dangdai MingshiYingxiang Xun Lu (当代名士•映像寻旅) in Chinese translated as “Modern Elites and their Journey of New Elegance”, sent famous photographer Justin Jin to 6 Chinese cities to photograph “men of elegance” .

The Beijing and Shanghai airports both featured interactive exhibition of Jin’s photography with a special QR code below each photo. Scanning the QR code allowed users to access the brand’s WeChat page and access profiles of each “elegant man” with audio descriptions of their accomplishments. The campaign also featured a free plane ticket giveaway to winning participants, and those who were not physically in the airport can send a number or voice command via WeChat in order to be entered in the drawing.

 

Bomoda Launches Mobile App Aimed at China’s Connected Fashionistas, by JingDaily

Popular - BOMODA

Since its launch in May 2012, New York City-based online community Bomoda has been building up a quarter-million strong network of China’s most discerning luxury shoppers through its Chinese-language online fashion and lifestyle newsletter. In the past two months, the curatorial site has embarked on a new chapter with the launch of its new mobile app and social sharing site, enlisting major brands, retailers, and key opinion leaders (KOLs) to promote a new interactive platform that is the first of its kind in the China market.

The new mobile app, launched on November 18 for the iPhone, allows for the sharing of images through the company’s new Pinterest-like social site that was unveiled in October. On the site, users have the opportunity to upload, share, collect, and repost their favorite fashion-related images, as well as share on major Chinese social media sites including WeChat Moments, Weibo, Tencent, QQ, and Tencent Weibo. Its high-fashion aesthetic makes it the first of its kind in China, standing out from other more mass-market Pinterest-like sites such as Meilishuo and Huaban.

 

Stores Offer Click & Collect to Attract Consumers this Holiday Season, by Luxury Daily

Click & Collect

Bricks-and-mortar retailers are having to compete with online retailers such as Amazon for the holiday shopping season, and they are finding new ways to get consumers to shop with them. A number of department stores offer click-and-collect services where consumers can order items online and pick them up in-person in-store and, in most cases, with no delivery fee. By doing this, stores are able to merge the ease of online shopping with speedier return, getting consumers to visit their stores in-person for convenience.

Click-and-collect is becoming more popular as it allows the customer the convenience of shopping from home, but [with] the instant gratification of receiving the purchase virtually instantaneously,” said Robert Cuthbertson, senior manager at Boston Retail Partners. “Customers can avoid long lines, busy fitting rooms, being overwhelmed with roaming racks and racks of clothes and product.”

 

Snap Fashion and Styloko: Search Using Images to Find The Perfect (and Cheapest) Wardrobe, by Metro

Snap Fashion app

Snap Fashion just might be your secret weapon this party season – the website is the perfect tool for finding the exact item a celebrity is wearing. You can also use its phone app to snap an image of a dress you find in a shop to browse for similar alternatives, or to find the perfect heels to match.

The technology trawls through thousands of possibilities to find you that exact item, before redirecting you to the retailer’s site to purchase. Or it will present you with styles similar to the item snapped, from a range of different brands and price points.

 

How Ready is Southeast Asia for Online Payments? by Tech In Asia

Online Payment APAC

Rapid economic expansion, a young population, and low-cost smartphones and tablets are creating tech-savvy generations across Southeast Asia. Major e-commerce players such as GrouponeBayRocket Internet, and LivingSocial have ventured into Southeast Asia, making significant investments into these markets. With increasing penetration of e-commerce into Southeast Asia, global payment companies such as PayPal are investing in the region. But as they do, stiff competition is being demonstrated from a number of local players.

While the industry’s potential is obvious, technology investors and global payment providers should be wary of rushing into these markets without understanding the cultural and regulatory differences of each country, which affect how merchants and consumers behave. A tailored strategy then, which considers the unique stages of each market’s development, factoring in technology, infrastructure, consumer preferences, and regulatory environment, is far superior to a regionalized blueprint approach.

Velvet invited to the Lane Crawford Store Opening in Shanghai

Velvet was pleased to be invited by Lane Crawford to a special evening celebrating the Grand Opening of China flagship store.

Lane Crawford opening shanghai

Lane Crawford opens its China flagship store in Shanghai’s Times Square, providing shoppers with 150,000 square feet and four floors worth of 500 brands across women’s fashion, beauty, fine jewelry, menswear, and home and lifestyle, making this the largest Lane Crawford store ever! Featured brands include Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Lanvin, Saint Laurent Paris, Alexander Wang and Sacai; as well as collections including Alice & Olivia, Sandro, Maje and the introduction of J. Crew in China.

“Global retail leadership is now coming from China, and the China customer is at the forefront of fashion. We set out to create the ultimate luxury fashion and lifestyle destination – the largest selection of luxury brands in an innovative, highly visual space, offering world-class service at a scale never before seen in Shanghai”

Andrew Keith, CEO of Lane Crawford

The store was designed in collaboration with architecture firm Yabu Pushelberg, which has worked with Lane Crawford on four previous stores. The design takes a “modern gallery approach to retail”.

During the evening party, Lane Crawford welcomed a range of Chinese celebrities as well as über-stylish crowd.

Lane Crawford Store Opening shanghai

From left to right: Hong Kong actress Carina Lau, Chinese model Du Juan, Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu, Chinese TV Hostess Zhu Zhu, Taiwaiese model Godfrey Gao, Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung – Photo credit: Lane Crawford

Location: Times Square, 99 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Shanghai