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China Will Soon Be the World’s Largest Online Marketplace: Here’s Why

Posted By: SGK March 20, 2013

The current issue of SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities includes an in-depth article on China’s fast-growing e-commerce space. Here are some of the highlights from “E-Commerce in China: Social Media Is the Fuel,” provided by Anh-Huan Tan, Director of Brand Strategy/Asia Pacific for Brandimage, part of the Schawk, Inc. brand development practice.

From Cluster-Oriented Consumption to Me-Consumption

The Chinese used to shun "individualism." Not so today: the rise of personal media is proof. Each individual, and thus each consumer, is now a source of information and is becoming the hub of his/her sphere of influence. The power is moving from brands to consumers, and consumers online are embracing unique kinds of self-expression.

The Virtual World Lighting Up the Real World

Here are some Chinese examples.

  • Show.QQ.com lets consumers to try out clothing and shoes virtually. Each selection is displayed on the bottom of the page with a link back to Taobao for final purchase.
  • Taobao Mall in Beijing offers an “experience center” for home decoration, bringing together e-shopping and offline sampling to help the consumer make better choices when shopping online.
  • Yihaodian, the famous online supermarket, offers QR-code shopping in every big Shanghai metro station, facilitated by giant LEDs and the shopper’s mobile phone
  • The Yishion clothing brand has launched an online fitting activity. After purchase, consumers are invited to use augmented reality online to try out new outfits. Their sessions are recorded and advertised live in-store.

Consumption Guide Planners

  • The Qunar.com aggregation site allows shoppers to compile information on products and services from multiple sources.
  • Taobao experts will respond to user-published photos of products they’re looking for, providing information on other relevant products.

Grass-Roots Decision-Making

In Volkswagen’s People’s Car project, consumers can vote on potential design features and strongly influencing the final design of a new model.

For the full article and five more on emerging markets, categories and brand management technologies worldwide, download SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities now. It’s free.