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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 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.