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Fashion Buying in the Age of COVID-19

fashion

Fashion Buying in the Age of COVID-19

Fashion buying has always been a complex task. But in the age of Covid, getting hold of the right stock has become even trickier for boutique owners. With many supply chains severely interrupted and some businesses on the verge of collapse, fashion indies now have the added worry of whether the right products will reach their stores at the right time – says Mina Melikova, CEO of TradeGala.

Some retailers canceled much of what they originally planned to carry at the start of the lockdown, while others are waiting with anticipation to see if their full orders make it to their stores. Much-loved brands could go into administration before the season ends while others might not be able to deliver their full collections.

Some indies are planning to order more products in-season than they would have done pre-pandemic. There are many benefits to buying this way including versatility, guaranteed stock, immediate deliveries, and being able to react to the weather and consumer demand. Short order buying also means paying for stock as you go along, which can help with managing the business’s cash flow.

But it’s not always easy to find suitable brands that offer in-season collections. And with most major trade shows now canceled for the rest of the year and recommendations against non-essential travel, finding new brands and stock to buy in the middle of the season is even more problematic for retailers.

The digitalization of the wholesale model is offering a much-needed alternative for boutique owners and brands. Thanks to a new wave of B2B marketplaces such as TradeGala – the B2B online marketplace it is now possible for buyers to hunt out new products and place orders from the safety of their computer, tablet or smartphone. Many buyers are already used to scouring for new brands online via social media platforms such as Instagram. TradeGala takes it one step further by allowing buyers to browse entire collections and then place orders – all on one convenient site.

TradeGala’s roster of brands is ever-expanding and the marketplace offers a comprehensive line-up to suit myriad tastes and budgets. Standout pieces available to buy via its site include on-trend printed midi and maxi dresses by Zibi London, Liquorish and Hoxton Gal, party dresses, and jewelry from Haus of Deck, and affordable sustainable young fashion designs by Nesavaali. Buyers can choose from casual yet elegant womenswear pieces from Figi and Lenitif, sparkly heels by Glitz Shoes, fashion trainers from JR Artisan Fashion, and intelligent underwear designs by Magic Bodyfashion. There are also beautiful occasionwear pieces such as flowing gowns and bridesmaid dresses from City Goddess and Goddiva.

With a simple order process, retailers can make product selections with just a few clicks. Buyers can refine their search using the site’s in-built filters to find particular colorways, styles, or prices – making it easy to curate unique and harmonious collections from a range of brands. Each product also has its own detailed page with professional photographs and in-depth information, which makes it easy to select the right pieces. And because TradeGala is in operation 24/7, retailers can research and choose products whenever and wherever it suits them.

TradeGala also offers centralized customer service and payment protection so buyers can feel confident when ordering. Many of its sellers offer low minimum order stipulations and sell single garments, so boutiques can make a small trial order to test the brand’s viability with their customer base with very little risk. For brands, TradeGala offers greater visibility and access to new international markets and the latest technologies with minimal commitment. Smaller, independent brands are able to take their first steps into the wholesale market, which may have previously seemed too daunting.

The fashion wholesale world will probably never be fully digitalized given the tactile nature of buying. However, as the country gets to grips with living through a pandemic, TradeGala offers a great way for retailers to access stock safety, conveniently and cost-effectively. This year has been difficult for so many reasons.

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Mina Melikova is the CEO of TradeGala

fashion

Post-COVID-19: Slowing Down Fast Fashion and the Retail Sector

As brands and retailers scramble to adapt to the post-COVID-19 world, one thing is clear – the fast fashion trend that has dominated the sector as we know it is no longer sustainable.

The race to get ahead of the competition has ended up distorting fashion’s seasonality – whereas once the bi-annual fashion shows were held 4-5 months ahead of the upcoming season in order to allow brands and buyers time to create forward-orders and produce stock, these days retailers rush the latest trends from the catwalk to the stores within a question of days. It’s no longer unusual to see Summer dresses on the shelves in February and Winter coats in the stores before August is out. And yet consumers, bombarded with the latest fashion trends at all hours of the day via social media influencers and celebrities, want fashion they can wear now, not in months’ time. So in order to stay relevant, retailers are pressured to buy stock months in advance of when it’s needed, and then end up having to sell it off at sale prices just as it’s coming into season so they can introduce the never-ending round of latest trends.

This problem has confounded the industry for some time, but there seemed to be no way out of it – nobody wanted to be the first to “slow down.” And yet here we are, after months of enforced factory lock-downs and store closures, with an unexpected opportunity to rethink the way the industry works.

Gucci announced in late March that it would lead the way into a more mindful future, abandoning “the worn-out ritual of seasonalities” by reducing their number of yearly shows from five to just two. Other major brands were quick to follow suit, with a focus on less season-influenced and gender-exclusive collections, creating more fluid styles designed to last for months and years as opposed to the buy-wear-throwaway designs that have taken such a toll on our environment. It’s not just the brands themselves who are calling for change, consumers are becoming more aware of the impact the fashion industry has on our planet and demand for sustainable fashion has never been higher.

However, sustainable fashion production itself is still in its infancy and there are still a limited number of brands that are wholly dedicated to reducing the social and environmental impact of clothing production. But by changing the way retailers buy and sell their products we may see a real change in the reduction of waste before the product even reaches the consumer, and help end the practice of brands destroying unsold stock in order to maintain a fabricated “exclusivity.” It’s a case of changing the industry mindset, from fast fashion to fast provisioning, in which retailers can react quickly to new trends and only buy what they actually need. Those retailers who have embraced this new “test and repeat” model are among the few to have come out of the crisis with increased profits, as they were able to respond almost immediately to the changing demands of the consumer and weren’t stuck trying to offload months’ worth of dead stock to a public for whom it was no longer relevant.

For small retailers, the benefits are obvious – purchasing small amounts of stock regularly based on customer demand frees up storage space, reduces forward investment, and minimizes financial risk. Plus, they are still able to offer regular stock updates and variety which continues to be a major attraction in a social media influenced society with a notoriously short attention span.

Wholesale brands are looking for new ways to reach their buyers, offering livestock that can be delivered in a matter of days. With TradeGala – the B2B online marketplace, B2B fashion is simplified for both brands and buyers, with a retail-like, user-friendly e-commerce platform that allows buyers to go from order to receipt in less than a week.

The Coronavirus has forced an entire industry to stop, take stock of its problems,, and start looking for solutions. Amid the suffering and struggle that undoubtedly still lays ahead for the industry, this crisis offers us an unprecedented opportunity to change, hopefully for the better.

trade shows

The Future of Trade Shows in a Post-COVID-19 Fashion Industry

The fashion sector woke up recently to yet another trade show cancellation – the newly launched footwear show Sole, due to take place in August after its February success, announced that the decision had been taken to cancel for now, with 2021 dates to be announced soon. And today, Hyve Fashion has announced that their upcoming events Pure, Pure Origin, Scoop and Jacket Required will also be cancelled until next year. They’re just another in a long line of cancelled shows this Summer, including Premium Berlin, Modefabriek, Tranoï and Scoop International to name but a few.

There are some, perhaps more optimistic platforms, which have simply postponed their dates to later in the year, but there is a real sense in the industry that things might not go back to the way they were before. There is a universal feeling of uncertainty – lockdown restrictions are being eased, but with mixed messages from governments throughout the world, the idea of visiting exhibition centres packed with thousands of people from all corners of the globe is less than appealing for many.

TradeGala works with thousands of small boutique owners and, of those that we surveyed, 66% responded that they had no plans to attend a trade show for the rest of 2020. But if the very foundation of the industry is under threat, what will fashion buying and selling look like in a post-COVID-19 world?

In the short term, some of the major players are experimenting with technology and virtual reality to continue reaching their target audience. Shanghai Fashion Week was first to take the step into the unknown, holding their first fully digital event in April, while London’s famous Fashion Week followed suit with a virtual showcase in June.

Experimentation was the order of the day, with everything from live-streamed, green-screen catwalk shows to 3D virtual reality design galleries. Despite some detractors who found the new format somewhat lacking, and a few technological glitches throughout, both events were considered a success, and Paris is planning to host their first virtual events in July. Independent trade shows are also dipping into the digital world with Modefabriek launching an online B2B marketplace in July to showcase the collections from their cancelled event, while collaborations are emerging with Coterie, Magic and Project to launch “digital tradeshows” in August and September.

But won’t things all just go back to normal eventually? If we’re honest, do we really want to go back to the way things were before? Perhaps it’s about time we embrace the ways that technology can enhance our analogue experience. Why should brands and buyers be obliged to travel internationally (investing stretched budgets and increasing the fashion industry’s already heavy burden on our carbon footprint) when we have the option to reach out and connect via the web? London Fashion Week is already planning their next event in September as a virtual/real-life hybrid (lockdown restrictions permitting) and looks to continue this trend indefinitely – perhaps this is the future of trade shows as we know them?

At the end of the day, we’re tactile creatures, and there’s nothing quite like being able to see and feel a satin dress or leather handbag when considering our next season’s stock. But as bulk forward-ordering is no longer the only option (and a risk many buyers no longer wish to take), retailers will still have the option to attend one or two shows a year to source new brands or trends while supplementing their stock more regularly with suppliers online. This is where TradeGala can make a difference.

A year-round “virtual tradeshow,” TradeGala showcases brands throughout the world offering short-order stock for instant purchase. A user-friendly platform, it allows buyers to respond quickly to the changing trends and offer their customers what they really want to buy, rather than speculating months in advance.

One day soon, we hope, we will be able to attend our favorite trade shows as we did before – sourcing, networking, finding inspiration. Our Trade Show Calendar is regularly updated with upcoming shows throughout the world (both virtual and physical) and you can subscribe for the latest updates, so you won’t miss a date! But the future has come more quickly than we expected – is your fashion business ready to embrace the digital revolution?

shopping

Impulsive Shopping and Post-Pandemic Consumer Behavior

Picture this. You are in the supermarket in your neighborhood queuing to pay and see some delicious and totally irresistible chocolates that you did not even think about buying but that now are something that has become essential. That is what in marketing is called “impulsive buying” and, for example in the case of supermarkets, it is their main source of benefits.

Let’s take it up a notch. Have you thought about how you can translate an Instagram or Facebook like into a sale? That’s called Influencer Marketing, and I’ll show you how to unleash this online technique by starting a conversation and ultimately driving sales and establishing impulsive shopping, whether this was your initial objective or not. Remember, one like, share or comment, might equal one sale.

The Internet and mobile devices, as instant tools, favor impulsive purchases. Different promotions present on your website can trigger unplanned purchases by Internet users. Imagine being able to have those displays that are in the boxes of the supermarkets integrated into the design and shopping experience of your online store… How much extra income could they bring you? The experience may surprise you.

Flash sales (Time-limited): Flash sales are time-limited sales that are very often used in e-commerce to encourage impulsive buying. Generated by an attractive offer but limited in time, the user has to make a quick decision if he does not want to miss this opportunity. It works very well, especially in specific seasons where people are willing to spend more money (Christmas, back to school, Halloween).

Free shipping: The hook is to set a minimum purchase price so that the shipping costs are free and, if the customer does not yet have that amount, offer low-cost products in the checkout process that achieve the minimum required quantity. If we use products that far exceed the minimum amount, it will not work, but if they are inexpensive and related to the purchase that has been made, success is practically guaranteed.

Stock level: Showing available stocks can, to some extent, favor impulsive buying. If the number of products in stock is low, the interested visitor will tend to buy their product for fear of not finding it again at the price proposed in your online store.

Give away discount coupons or free products (gift): On condition of making a purchase, of course. This type of tactic has been shown to also boost sales since the customer must buy in order to receive their gift.

Expiration date:  Discounts on these types of items range between 20 percent and 50 percent of their initial price. For example, if they are products that expire the next day, the price is usually cut in half, but if we talk about products that have weeks to expire, the discount stays between 20 percent and 30 percent. Stores free themselves of products that would end up in the garbage and without any benefit if not bought, while customers get a good deal for a product that they would either buy or just purchase to take advantage of that specific occasion.

After the pandemic

From toilet paper in the early pandemic to bleach and flour, during this crisis consumers have modified its consumption and its way of making the purchase. But what will the consumer be like after pandemic? It is evident that many consumers have had to test the online channel as a result of this crisis, and they have realized how comfortable and safe it is for them.

The confinement has made the segment of the population that least bought online, those over 55-60 years old, now the group that needs it the most, especially those over 70, who are the most vulnerable to the disease and those who, therefore, should be more confined and without the help of their families. Although the consumer preferred to buy some specific products in person; if consumers verify that the product they receive at home meets their expectations, it is very likely that after the crisis it will continue to do so.

On the same line of shifting consumer behavior, for instance, some of the most popular products today are related to protecting employees and separating consumers with employees, like speak-thru devices, trays and shelves, and sliding service windows.

Where do impulsive purchases predominate: in physical stores or on the internet?

Physical stores are the main claim to get a customer to buy without having thought about it before. This fact is partly logical because most impulsive products are food, clothing, drinks, and personal care products. If discounts and promotions are added to that, the mix is ​​perfect. Supermarkets, shopping malls, and convenience stores are the central places for this type of sales.

Furthermore, some stores go the extra mile by using techniques that play with your senses, by releasing exquisite coffee and fresh cookie smell to get you in, even if they’re not in the food business.

Online advertising is the least appreciated to generate buying impulses, but that does not mean that their tactics are useless: Brands that use digital platforms as the first approach and establish the first connection have the potential to reap the benefits when the time comes to make the final purchase in the store, according to a study by Geoblink. 69 percent of those surveyed stated having bought between one and five products spontaneously in the last week, while 26 percent admitted having made between six and ten purchases of this type.

The millennial generation is the one that buys the most on impulse: a small group of 7 percent have bought up to 11 items without foresight in the last week. The previous facts serve as a great opening remark of the aforementioned Influencer Marketing technique. If you got until this part of the story, it means that there’s impulsive buyer material within you.

Influencer Marketing is nothing more than getting the right people to talk about you, firstly triggering your target audience to talk about you, secondly prompting that audience talking to each other about you, and finally you and the audience listening to each other. When this two-way conversation is in place, it is very probable that some of your social media likes, whether on Instagram or Facebook, are in fact translating into sales in your physical or online store.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule on digital impulsive buying: the first, that those who already have a subscription to a platform like Amazon, which avoids having to go through several stages before buying, are better able to combat the impulsive factor. The second: when the object to buy is an electronic item. 55 percent of the participants chose the Internet as the preferred medium for the impulsive purchase of these items.

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Featured in the Best Online Shops 2020 – Newsweek, DK Hardware is one of the largest online home improvement retailers for a variety of hardware manufacturers all over the United States and Canada.

brands

Research Shows These 5 COVID-19 Changes Really Can Help Brands Grow Market Share

“We’re all in this together.”  “We’ll get through this and emerge stronger.”

By now, the entire nation is familiar with these COVID-19 era mantras that brands are repeating on the airwaves, social media and in stores. But have consumers had enough of COVID-19 communications? And are these messages really helping brands — not just in the moment, but also with the future in mind?

Because emotions drive consumer behavior, we need to look at how consumers are reacting emotionally to each message to answer these questions. From several major studies with thousands of consumers my firm has conducted, we’ve seen that the brands that connect with consumers emotionally and in particular have a positive impact on how a person feels about themself, are the ones that are most likely to be purchased in general. We’ve also seen that during this period when people’s work and personal lives have been upended and worry, stress, frustration and anxiety are running high, companies that make consumers feel better are the ones that will gain market share and be recommended during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Product offerings are one way to make people feel better. Brands are certainly stepping up to the plate by providing products and services that help people feel better by fulfilling a need for indulgence, self-care and control.

Just as importantly, though, is what brands are saying and doing.  Messages of togetherness and reassurance—such as in State Farm’s Ad announcing, “For now, we’re all living a new normal…we’re here to make this new normal feel just a little more normal,”—are indeed helping. So are the actions that back these messages up, such as offering 0% financing, delivery and generous return policies.

Some actions and messages are more effective at making people feel good than others. They’re the ones that will help move the needle as far as retaining and growing market share. In a study of 1,000 consumers, my team and I uncovered the following 5 things brands are saying and doing that increase the chances of purchases and customer loyalty now and in the future by making people feel good:

Saying we will get through this and emerge stronger

A full 70% of those we polled said that since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, they have developed a more positive opinion of brands that remind them “we will get through this and emerge stronger.” Two-thirds (66%) say they will definitely purchase the product when this crisis is over, and 45% say that hearing this makes them feel very good about themselves. Of course, there are different ways to convey this message. Guinness ads acknowledged that St. Patrick’s Day was going to feel a bit different this year, adding, “we’ve learned that over the years, we’re pretty tough when we stick together” and “we’ll march again.” This Coca-Cola ad reminds us that for every loss, there is a gain, that for all the scaremongering there is also care mongering, and for every virus, there is a vaccine–implying humans are ultimately positive and resourceful.

Offering exclusive hours for at-risk groups

It makes good, practical sense that numerous retailers such as Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Publix and Stop & Shop are offering special hours to those who are most at-risk of contracting the virus such as the elderly because these groups are less likely to leave their homes to make purchases.  But these actions and the messaging behind them are also helping from a short- and long-term marketing perspective.  Four-fifths (80%) of the people we polled said they have developed a more positive opinion of brands that offer exclusive hours for at-risk groups since the COVID-19 crisis began.  Almost three-quarters (73%) say they will definitely purchase from these providers when this crisis is over.

Reminding consumers that we’re all in this together

This is another phrase we are hearing from brands over and over again. In just one example, Hershey’s recent ad Heartwarming at Home begins by saying that we’re in this together and that these experiences give people a chance to come together in meaningful ways. It ends with pictures of people connecting through windows, several feet away, and with family members at home, sending a clear message: you’re not alone.  And it’s working.  Of the people we surveyed, 73% said that since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, they have developed a more positive opinion of brands that remind them “we are all in this together, while 67% say they will definitely purchase the product when this crisis is over. Hearing this makes 42% feel very good about themselves.

Sharing reliable updates about the COVID-19 situation

Apple has released a new screening tool that allows people to determine if they potentially have the virus and if they should seek medical care. They created a new COVID-19 website and app with the CDC to help them understand how to manage the virus, and a Contact Tracing App with Google to help curb the virus’ spread. Quest Diagnostics’s website provides information about COVID-19, and consumers can sign up for email alerts for news and testing information. Although it’s helpful in the moment, being a resource for consumers is also likely to pay off over time: 81% of the respondents said they’ve developed a more positive opinion of brands that share reliable updates about the COVID-19 situation, 49% say that purchasing from such brands makes them feel very good about themselves, and 60% say they will definitely purchase from these brands when this crisis is over.

Reminding consumers to take care of themselves

Surprisingly simple messages such as Uber thanking people for staying home and not using their service, and Sesame Street explaining that “taking care of yourself is also taking care of others” during a campaign that features Elmo and three friends washing their hands to upbeat music are proving extremely effective for brands. A full 77% of those polled said they’ve developed a more positive opinion of brands that remind consumers to take care of themselves, and 57% say they will definitely purchase from these brands when this crisis is over.

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Anne E. Beall, PhD is the CEO and Founder of Beall Research, Inc, a marketing-research consulting firm that uses research to create solutions for Fortune 500 companies. Author of Strategic Market Research: A Guide to Conducting Research that Drives Businesses (3rd Edition) and 7 other books on reading body language, gender dynamics, human-animal relations, and fairy tales, Anne previously worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). She received her MS, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University. A lover storytelling and walking, Anne lives in Chicago.

TradeGala

Online Wholesale B2B Marketplace TradeGala Makes Buying Even Easier

Chances are you’re already a regular online marketplace customer. With popular sites such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy conveniently bringing together a range of sellers, buying goods through the wholesale fashion marketplace is now as common as popping to the supermarket.

Just as we now think nothing of picking up our groceries alongside a new dress in Sainsbury’s, the majority of us also want to order what we need in one fell swoop online. The popularity of marketplace sites is hard to ignore: Amazon first launched its version 20 years ago and it now makes up over 50 percent of its overall sales – that’s $118.57 billion in 2018 alone. Many shoppers today use it as their first port of call when searching for goods to buy – even before Google.

Over in the independent fashion sector, small brands and retailers selling through such marketplaces is also becoming increasingly popular – particularly with the likes of Farfetch and Trouva gaining household name status. These sites offer access to all the best brands in one place, meaning you don’t have to venture far to find the sort of pieces that were once only available in brick-and-mortar boutiques.

However, when it comes to B2B marketplaces, there’s been a distinct lack of places where boutique buyers can make their in-season and forward order selections. That is, until now.

Step forward TradeGala, the fashion marketplace that connects independent retailers with international brands. Much like visiting a trade show or showroom, the site makes it easy for fashion buyers to source global labels in the same place online. Some of the labels on its roster are also exclusive and can’t be bought as wholesale elsewhere.

Ordering through TradeGala means buying professionals can save time and money. With a simple order process, buyers can make their store selections with just a few clicks, completely eliminating the need for complicated line sheets. It also offers centralized customer service and payment protection – meaning retailers can rest assured that they’re in safe hands. Plus, because the site is in operation 24/7, you can research and choose products whenever it suits you.

For brands, TradeGala offers greater visibility and access to new international markets and the latest technologies with minimal commitment. Smaller, independent brands are able to take their first steps into the wholesale market, which may have previously seemed too daunting. The site launched with 24 brands across accessories, active wear, casual dress, evening wear, and footwear, including Goddiva, City Goddess, Marc Angelo, KDK London, Gypsy Clothing, Gold Lunar, Haus of Deck, Hugz Jeans, Lindy Bop, Looking Glam, Geniris Paris, Glitz Shoes, Paradox London, and VILDNIS.

So, is this the future of fashion buying? It looks highly likely. Marketplaces won’t necessarily replace the more traditional methods of sourcing and purchasing, however, they’re a valuable tool in an ever more competitive industry. The most forward-thinking brands and retailers are already taking advantage of the opportunities on offer – perhaps now is the time for you to consider joining them.
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Visit TradeGala’s official website: https://www.tradegala.com for more information

China

What Every Business Should Know About Selling in China

Not only is China the most populous country on earth (1.3 billion people), it also has the second-biggest economy in the world by Nominal GDP (14.242 trillion dollars).

As the country has pursued ever more progressive policies to trade (and despite the current trade war between China and the United States) more and more opportunities to sell in the country have arisen to businesses across sectors. If you see China as a potential growth market, here are some of the most important considerations when selling in China.

Seek advice

When looking to enter a foreign market, it is always advisable to seek sage advice, and even look to local businesses who you can partner with. Although you may not wish to go down the partnership route, it is definitely advisable to seek the counsel of businesses who are already operating within the sphere, or groups such as the Global Innovation Forum who often provide free advice regarding penetrating new markets. 

This is a smart strategy because selling in China will be totally unlike selling domestically, or in European markets, for example. Any insights that you can garner will be potentially critical to the success of your sales strategy and approach in China, because as is abundantly clear, you will be operating within a totally different market, both literally and culturally.

“The cultural considerations when accessing new markets should never be overlooked. From the way that you brand and market your products to the way that you negotiate with local businesses and retailers, everything you do will be influenced by different rules: rules to which you are unfamiliar. Get the help you need to pass through this difficult phase,” advises Grant Tarrant, a business writer at Writinity.com and Lastminutewriting.com.

Understand Chinese governmental practices and rules

Although the Chinese Government has grown increasingly receptive to foreign businesses working and partnering in China, rules will still be a little conservative in comparison to the Western approach. Make sure you totally familiarize yourself with what you are expected to adhere too, especially when visiting the country and seeking to operate a sales operation from within China.

For example, you will need to understand the levels of bureaucracy that exist to set up a business entity that operates within China. For example, you may need to set up as a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) to operate, and this can be a costly and timely exercise that may delay you implementing your sales strategy. Forming a business plan which pays close attention to all the requirements (and timeframes) of the Chinese state is essential.

Understand your customer

This piece of advice holds for whoever you are selling too, but obviously your Chinese customer base will be different from your US customer base and will have different expectations. For example, haggling is a standard cultural procedure, and Chinese customers demand to know a product impeccably before they buy, so ensure that your eCommerce operation includes high numbers of images and product reviews: this will be expected.

“If you study Chinese eCommerce sites such as Taobao you will see that it facilitates the Chinese custom of haggling down prices. In the West we are totally unfamiliar with this practice as we are satisfied that the price is the price, Be prepared to change your approach accordingly,” says Rachel Walliston, a marketer at Draftbeyond.com and Researchpapersuk.com

Provide impeccable customer support

Chinese customers have come to expect an extremely high level of customer support from their retailers and will demand this from any new business operating within their sphere. Knowing this, make sure you ramp up support efforts, and that, of course, raises questions regarding how you will do this in a new language and culture. Seeking advice from established entities is again the recommended route, and establishing support centers in the country is also best practice. 

Understand the marketing and communication channels

If you go in with a Facebook-based marketing strategy, be prepared to be disappointed. In China the social media platforms are different, for example, WeChat is one of China’s most popular platforms, but barely exists outside of the country. It has been dubbed a ‘super-app’ because it can be used for a multitude of actions, so utilizing such platforms is an absolute must if you wish to successfully penetrate the Chinese market. 

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Ashley Halsey is a writer, editor and international business expert who can be found at both Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. She has been involved in many projects in Asia, and enjoys traveling, reading and cultural exchanges.

Giving Customers Choice: The Power of Personalized Delivery in the Age of Amazon

The past five years have paved the way for a new age of retail — where stores have become omnichannel-driven showrooms, checkout has become as simple as a flick of the phone, and teeming competition has driven retailers to create curated experiences for their customers. 

Most fingers point at the e-commerce giants, Amazon in particular, for putting pressure on brick-and-mortar stores to compete on convenience and personalization. Particularly around delivery, Amazon changed the game with two-day shipping for Prime members. As retailers have fought back by leveraging their physical footprints to improve fulfillment times with offerings like click and collect, Amazon upped the ante with one-day delivery. 

There’s no doubt about one thing: increasing consumer demand for convenience is as important as it’s ever been. The focus has been on enabling same- and next-day delivery, but that’s also been putting retailers under enormous strain and compressing already thin margins. 

If you’re solely focused on matching Amazon’s one-day shipping promise, you’re missing the bigger picture. Consumers want more than same-day, next-day, or scheduled deliveries – they want the freedom to choose

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Capgemini found that 73% of consumers think receiving a delivery in a convenient time slot is more important than receiving it quickly. It ultimately comes down to a question of time vs. money. Sometimes customers are willing to pay for something to be delivered in a few hours, and sometimes they’d rather save money and receive it in a week.

Instead of focusing on keeping up with Amazon’s expedited shipping, retailers need to focus on building better customer experiences. From a delivery standpoint, this means creating a logistics infrastructure that can reliably deliver orders when buyers want them delivered. This is accomplished by leveraging multiple delivery models and creating a reliable set of options that includes urgent, same-day, next-day, and more. 

For retailers determined to stay competitive, partnering with innovative providers for home delivery and last-mile logistics can add optionality while avoiding the challenges of building out owned asset networks or expanding service with traditional parcel networks.  

The bottom line is this: consumers want what they want, when they want it. The maturation of e-commerce has ushered in an era of personalization at scale and growing customer demand for convenient, flexible shopping experiences. Next-day and same-day delivery sit at the center, but customers are ultimately focused on choosing the right fulfillment option for each and every order.

Otherwise, they’ll leave and find the retailer who can. 

Will Walker is the Enterprise Manager at Roadie, the first on-the-way delivery service that connects people and businesses that have items to send with drivers already heading in the right direction. Roadie works with top retailers, airlines, and grocers for a faster, more efficient, and more scalable solution for same-day and last-mile deliveries nationwide. With over 120,000 drivers, the company has delivered to more than 11,000 cities and towns nationwide — a larger footprint than Amazon Prime.