Driven by digitalisation and advancement in technology, customer requirements are rapidly changing too, to a more consumer-centric approach termed “New retail”, which involves a mix of offline and online strategies. New retail means to redesign the customer experience through merging online and offline commerce seamlessly, from click and collect, store to home, subscription-based retail to product research. In the Asia Pacific region, China is the most enthusiastic in terms of e-commerce adoption, with 24% of its total retail sales owing to e-commerce in 2020, according to Statista. Key drivers of retail growth include mobile payment apps which allow quick and easy payments and social media apps such as WeChat for appointment bookings and review marketing. The growth of new retail was further fuelled due to the global outbreak of Covid-19, which resulted in the closure of many physical stores, making online shopping the only alternative for consumers.
Furthermore, new retail is attractive since it leverages on the cost-effective, and accessibility of online commerce without compromising on the joys of physical retail therapy. For example, Amazon has taken a giant leap in reinventing the customer service experience, promising one-day deliveries and launching Amazon Fresh for fresh produce distribution. To achieve such rapid delivery, it requires distributors to set up warehouses in new strategic locations, revamping the traditional mass distribution process throughout the world. Therefore, the speed of execution is an innovative strategy which is remodelling the retail landscape.
As for the new retail market in China, it hinges heavily on digitalisation and data. In China, consumers are accustomed to e-payments and use their phones to scan QR codes for each transaction. New retail stores in China also allow people to try clothes on virtually, fill a virtual cart with virtual groceries which will then be delivered to their doorstep, or pay via facial recognition without having to checkout.
Another reinvented retail experience in China is the See Now Buy Now (SNBN) practice. This strategic technique is often used during showcases where consumers, while watching a showcase of products, can immediately scan a product which they like and add it to their “shopping cart”. After which, they can check out before leaving the venue and the product will be at their doorstep before they reach back home. How convenient!
To conclude, new retail is the up and coming commerce method which fulfills immediacy, especially in today’s fast paced world. However, to achieve such speed, the supply chain is required to be transformed in real-time, with a fundamental “test, measure and optimize” data analysis.
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