We know that China is the largest and fastest-growing consumer market in the world. What is less well understood are the forces that shape consumerism in the world’s most populous country. Is it merely self-indulgence and materialism? In what ways are consumers in China different from those in the West? Click here to learn more, in Export Now CEO Frank Lavin’s latest feature in Forbes.
Recent global GDP growth numbers are out, which means all eyes are on prospects for the future. While US growth fell to just 1.6%, China continues to hold strong at 6.6% overall. Perhaps more importantly, we anticipate enormous growth of 50%-60% still on the horizon for China e-commerce, which is detailed in CNBC’s interview with EN CEO Frank Lavin
The most important e-commerce meeting in the U.S. (world?) just concluded in Dallas, the National Retail Federation’s Digital Summit, which brought together some 20,000 leaders and practitioners for three days of presentations, case studies, discussions, workshops, and let’s face it, socializing.
Now in its 15th year, the Digital Summit can boast some of the best and the brightest of the e-commerce world. Thanks and hats off to NRF CEO Matt Shay and the Fieldworksteam who invited me to present on one of the fastest growing fields in e-commerce: China.
Here are the main lessons from Dallas….
- Multibrand Stores Still Under Pressure. Mike Amend of JC Penney explained that their product mix will grow from 50% proprietary brands to 70% in just a few years. A wise move in my view, but the broader question of how to refresh the brand still needs to be addressed.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality. Google’s Sophie Miller explained how AR will shape customer experience, and Sephora’s Johnna Marcus took VR into the beauty space, allowing for experimentation and creativity. Why not try on 50 shades of lipstick when it is all VR? Also, Johnna offered a well-received word of caution against trendiness in tech. All tech needs a “why.” It must be utility-driven and it must fit the business model.
- Emerging Markets. SP eCommerce’s Marcelo Wesseler gave a strong overview of emerging market strategy. Remember, e-commerce penetration varies considerably across these markets so you need a strategy that can be calibrated.
- Logistics can drive the transaction. Neda Nevab of Enjoy tied together a customized delivery model with enhanced installation to demonstrate that innovative logistics is not the tail of the dog. It can wag the entire transaction.
- Millennials. Gabbi Baker and Hunter Thomas spoke about what this group wants: consistency across channels, a conversation not a sales pitch, and a merchant who anticipates needs.
- Mobile and Video. Maz Sharafi from Facebook related two core truths: mobile is the starting point for digital engagement and video usage is exploding.
- Data Analytics. Discussion of this topic was pervasive and a strong testament to the maturity of the industry. Every other participant was in data analytics, process flow, scientific marketing or a related field. The mathematicians are beating the poets.
- It’s a big world. Every successful brand needs an international strategy. The U.S. Department of Commerce (yes, I have a soft spot) has a special international e-commerce team lead by Josh Halpern. Go see him as you think through your international strategy.
- China. China. China. OK, I have to at least mention China. David Roth gave a great talk on Chinese consumers. My message: China comprises 40% of global e-commerce and the U.S. comprises 25%. So any global brand must have a China strategy.
Key takeaway: If e-commerce is important to your business, make sure you attend the next NRF Digital Summit.
On September 19th, Frank Lavin will be leading a special China session for all senior executives attending the NACD’s annual conference. Be sure to catch all of the China insights from EN’s CEO so you can take your brand to the next level in the world’s largest e-commerce market.
For more information, check out the agenda for the summit
Export Now’s Founder and CEO Frank Lavin will be a key speaker at the 2016 GetGlobal Expo on October 20-21 in Los Angeles, CA. Join us on Day 2 at 10:45 am, when Frank will lead the China Super Session to provide decades of perspective on the world’s largest e-commerce market!
GetGlobal is where U.S. companies can begin to get the knowledge, connections, and confidence they need to embark on expansion into other countries. Check out the agenda to learn more.
Click here to learn more about Alibaba’s role in China IP.
Managing Director of NFL China, Richard Young, and Export Now China CEO Ron Wardle discuss the NFL’s success in entering China and growing a loyal fan base.