There has been a growing awareness in the west in recent years that we should look to China for the digital trends of the future, as it has become increasingly apparent that Chinese use of the internet, technology, ecommerce, social media and more is leagues ahead of ours.

But never has that been more immediately and literally true than now, as China slowly emerges from a pandemic that is still gripping the west, keeping people in their homes and shuttering businesses of all kinds.

Retailers across the UK, North America and western Europe are currently in dire straits as the coronavirus lockdown brings footfall to record lows, with shopping centres and high streets faring particularly poorly. But just because consumers are confined to their homes doesn’t mean they aren’t shopping – or that there isn’t demand for everything from food and entertainment to indulgent purchases like beauty products and alcohol that will give them back a semblance of normalcy.

The challenge for retailers is to reinvent how they market to, serve and deliver consumers. Here, western retailers can learn from China, a country whose approach to retail was already ahead of the west – particularly in terms of how it blends with technology, entertainment and social media.

The coronavirus pandemic brought about even more opportunity – and need – for innovation in Chinese retail, and their solutions could help western retailers rise out of their current slump. Here are four innovations that western retailers can learn from.

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