Lessons from China: on adding value during tougher times

The Drum 30 Jun 2020 02:30
Lessons from China: on adding value during tougher times

As one of China’s biggest e-commerce brands, found itself in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic with consumer need for its products and services growing during the lockdown. However, the retailer stuck to a guiding principle that it would only do anything if it created value.

The company has also witnessed major shifts in consumer behaviour throughout each part of the pandemic, from the initial stages and lockdown to a return to normal after. senior manager, global corporate affairs Ella Kidron, explains that the items people bought followed a distinct pattern as the pandemic progressed.

“We have looked at consumption and the structure of consumption throughout. At the beginning of the epidemic, a huge portion of people's consumption would be spent on medical needs, prevention or anti-epidemic prevention materials. Then if you go a little bit further in, there was definitely a spike in fresh produce, meat and vegetables.

Kidron believes the spike in home appliances is indicative of the fact that people wouldn’t have been able to buy these prior to the lockdown lifting because they wouldn’t have been able to have them installed.

Likewise, there was more shopping from lower-tier regions and cities, which may have been because people stayed at home with families, rather than returning back to the major cities where they worked.

“JD Health was actually launched online at the end of last year as a medical consultant, like an internet hospital. What happened in the pandemic is that there were a lot of people with different questions, whether it was concerns around whether they had coronavirus, or to differentiate the symptoms of the common cold, or how to maintain a chronic disease when you can't get to the hospital.

While some of the projects launched in the past six months perfectly correlated alongside consumer trends and needs, the role of the company was also to find ways in which it could spark new behaviours, particularly for its brand partners.

“You could dance around in your living room if you want but the stream allows the brand to come in throughout the entire session to introduce different liquor products and sell them with a discount. What's great about that is it gives the brand an opportunity to introduce themselves tell a little bit more of their brand story. In the virtual scenario that's very much how you'd encounter such a brand offline.

Kidron and’s lessons from throughout the pandemic may have been based entirely on Chinese consumers experiences but the trends towards e-commerce, live streaming and the digitisation of services are all global trends.

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JDcomKidronJD HealthElla KidronChina
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