This week, the Chengdu Motor Show partnered with Alibaba Group to allow Chinese consumers to buy cars online. Digital marketplace Tmall launched a camping festival ahead of China’s Golden Week. Swiss luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin joined a growing list of luxury brands going ‘phygital’ with their customer service. We also took a look at how delivery bots are addressing the challenges of last-mile delivery in China.
Meanwhile, AliExpress and Cainiao expanded their Brazilian and Korean operations. Also this week, jewelry brand Georg Jenson’s flagship store launches on Tmall and Ant Forest’s tree-planting milestone.
Chinese Consumers Go Online to Visit Motor Show and Buy Cars
The annual Chengdu Motor Show kicks off on Saturday with a twist this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. From Aug. 29 to Sep. 7, Chinese consumers will be able to visit the event online and even place orders for new car models on Alibaba Group’s marketplaces Tmall, Taobao and Taobao Live. The exhibition will feature over 1,500 new releases from over 130 auto brands, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Maserati and Porsche. Shopping for cars online has become popular in China, with more than 60 auto brands operating flagship stores on Tmall as of this month. During Alibaba’s 6.18 sales festival, consumers placed over 260,000 orders for new vehicles on Tmall, setting a record for cars sold during the online sales campaign.
Tmall Hosts Camping Festival as Revenge Travel Propels Domestic Tourism Ahead of Upcoming Golden Week in China
This week, Tmall hosted an online-to-offline festival promoting camping items, a fast-growing category on the shopping app. The platform launched an online sales campaign between Aug. 25 and Aug. 27 on top of its offline event in China’s Anji County, a popular destination for nature enthusiasts. Tmall forecast a surge in demand for traveling gear this upcoming mid-autumn festival and Golden Week holidays if the current wave of infections eases. Sales of camping and outdoor gears, in particular, are expected to see rapid growth as the lifestyle trend continues to take hold among Chinese consumers, whose willingness to go camping almost quadrupled last year, per Tmall.
How Luxury Brands’ Customer Services are Going ‘Phygital’ in China
Swiss luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin organized invite-only, private showcases earlier this month for prospective customers entirely online, part of a growing retail trend in China known as ‘phygital’ where online complements physical shopping. Vacheron Constantin piloted this VIP livestreaming tool for the first time ahead of Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as Qixi Festival, on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, a dedicated platform for luxury brands. Click here to read how luxury players like Vacheron Constantin make phygital work.
How Robots Will Revolutionize E-commerce by Automating Last-Mile Delivery
Robotics development has moved into top gear to meet surging e-commerce demand. Alibaba is deploying 1,000 delivery bots across Chinese university campuses and urban communities this year. The bots, called Xiaomanlv or “small donkey” in Mandarin, can deliver about 50 packages at a time and as many as 500 boxes in one day, covering 100 kilometers on a single charge. The bots pick up parcels at a local courier drop-off point and make their way to your building, trundling along sidewalks and bicycle lanes. To be sure, they can’t navigate a flight of stairs yet, but the technology is steadily improving. Click here to learn more about how these bots can address last-mile delivery challenges in the world’s largest consumption market.
AliExpress Ramps Up in Brazil as E-Commerce Booms During the Pandemic
Online marketplace AliExpress is expanding its services in Brazil, from payments options to delivery networks, as e-commerce takes off in Latin America’s largest e-commerce market during the pandemic. Last week, AliExpress launched an online portal for Brazilian merchants to sell to the swelling ranks of Brazilian consumers looking to shop digitally during the country’s third wave of the pandemic. The country’s small and medium-sized enterprises will now be able to handle local transactions, in addition to shopping globally on AliExpress. Click here to learn more about the initiative, Brazil’s e-commerce boom and our exclusive interview with AliExpress executive Ken Huang.
Cainiao Launches Direct Sea Freight Route to Korea As AliExpress Orders Surge
Smart logistics company Cainiao Network has launched a direct sea freight route between China and South Korea, as parcel volume on AliExpress surges. With the sea freight operating six times a week, Korean consumers can receive parcels within three days for selected products after placing orders on the marketplace. Cainiao’s latest announcement reflects rising e-commerce demand in Korea, where the company expects to see a 100% increase in parcel volume solely from AliExpress in the second half of 2021, compared to the same period last year.
This is the latest move by Cainiao to boost shipping efficiency between the two countries. In October 2020, Cainiao launched its logistics and supply chain services to support Korean businesses. In addition, it signed an MOU with the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency in June to operate as the official logistics partner for small and medium-sized enterprises in the country.
Danish Jewelery Brand Georg Jenson Launches Flagship Store on Tmall
High-end Danish jeweler Georg Jenson has recently launched a flagship store on Tmall, bringing a range of products to Chinese consumers, including its popular stackable Fusion rings. In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Mehul Tank said the launch would serve as an opportunity for the brand to embrace China’s fast-moving online retail scene and engage more closely with local customers. Georg Jenson’s Tmall flagship store launch marks the brand’s first partnership with a third-party marketplace in the country, as the brand seeks innovative ways to reach new audiences in the market.
Alipay’s Ant Forest Hits 600 Million Users Milestone
Ant Forest announced this week that more than 600 million users had joined its tree-planting initiative since its launch in 2016, contributing to planting over 326 million trees in China. Ant Forest, a program featured on Alipay’s e-wallet, converts Alipay users’ eco-friendly lifestyle choices into virtual “green energy points.” For example, users who pay their utility bills online instead of paper invoices will earn green energy points, translating into real trees that Alipay and its NGO partners plant in China’s most avid regions that need reforestation. Today, more than 100 brands have teamed up with Ant Forest to incentivize consumers to embrace low-carbon living. Click here for more on their efforts and to learn more about Alipay Ant Forest.
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