The challenges ahead for the China’s e-commerce market
The recently-concluded e-commerce and digital conference held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai determined that the key challenges facing China’s retail e-commerce market are improving the online trading environment, retaining brand strategy and applying social networking to boost sales.
According to eMarketer’s forecast, China’s digital retail sales are expected to top $899.09 billion this year, representing 47 percent of all digital retail sales worldwide, and 55.5 percent of these sales will be contributed by mobile users.
“We’re working hard to connect the real store and online shop with a neutral beneficial relationship such as putting the QR code of the online shop in the store and promoting store activities online so that they can help each other grow,” said May Ng, vice president and general manager of e-commerce at fashion retailer Gap, during the panel discussion at the conference.
E-commerce in China has reached a total market value of more than $3 trillion this year, a growth of nearly 40 percent, due to improving internet infrastructure, an increase in the number of mobile phone users making online purchases and the ongoing digital revolution that is influencing how companies brand and sell their products.
The overall e-commerce sector in China employs 3 million people and 20 million more indirectly across China. Cross-border e-commerce in China is estimated to be worth $86 billion.
“The rapid development of the internet is giving smalland medium-sized enterprises more opportunities to engage in international trade but it also comes with challenges that should be fully understood in order to promote an electronic world trade platform,” said Yi Qian, the global business development director of Alibaba.
The use of social networks is also showing explosive growth. By the end of June 2016, the monthly active users of WeChat reached 806 million. A WeChat user report released by Tencent Penguin Research revealed that nearly 70 percent of users spend more than 100 yuan ($15) per month on online purchases.
Industry experts said that big data is poised to play a major role in e-commerce, with Silver Sun, vice president, integrated marketing, Heyi Group, saying that the use of big data will be pivotal to determining an efficient method to attract new consumers based on their preferences.
During the conference, industry experts also discussed how retail companies can adjust to the surging demands of e-commerce and shift away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores, how social media marketing can drive sales and how standardized packaging, better route planning and optimization across transport modes can help to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and reliability of the distribution of goods.