The chal­lenges ahead for the China’s e-com­merce mar­ket

China Daily (USA) - - SHANGHAI - ByYURAN in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­

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.

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