Lessons from China in Luxury Brands E-Commerce: the new benchmark for the West?

Examining successful online operations in China, I wonder if they are not showing us the way.. at home – to improve E-Commerce and multichannel sales in our Luxury Brands’ domestic markets.

Why are we acknowledging that Chinese customers require an excellent service and do not apply it at home? Very strange.. is it complacency?

It came to my mind that although business in China forces us to break our conventions to follow new models, with a requirement for perfect customer service, immediate ROI and constant (re)iteration… this should be our focus everywhere, don’t you think?

In China, I observed the following absolute requirements:-

– Customers expect a superb experience from end to end – customer service in Chinese, beautiful packaging and ‘white’ glove deliveries that are very quick (next day nationwide is a must-have);

– Consumers expect to know and learn more about the Product, and not only about the brand. How the product was designed, conceived, and why.. how it was manufactured, what makes it special, stylish and exclusive.. which one is good for me? Product Knowledge is of paramount importance.

– they expect Brand Engagement, and conversation.. regardless of the channel and the device (think Mobile..)

– It has become natural to consider offline and online retail as one single experience – in particular in a country where high street retail is absolutely saturated

– they are ready to pay for quality and brands if the sale is of high service level (40% of Chinese HNW customers purchase in store abroad.. even if the product is available in China)

– individuals are sensitive to social media and peer recommendations (conversion rates of traffic coming from social media are tenfold vs search)

– Brands are important, but grey market sites and operators mix them all up. So focus on mono-brand sites and deliver knowledge, experience and functionality.

– Digital marketing is very mature, competition is tough and campaigns are expensive – they need to be thought through

So.. at the end of the day, shouldn’t it be a model for E-Commerce in the West?

If you think honestly.. all these requirements are not unique to China, but we simply have a tendency to assume that we do not need to challenge our models in the West.. is it complacency? I do believe our E-Commerce platforms will become true businesses the day we challenge our conventions and really address the Customer Experience as a pre-requisite.

I wonder if the fact that we already sell in our Domestic markets – thanks to our brand awareness – in a way does not allow us to be less attentive to details and focused on our customers experience and service.. Whilst Chinese customers will immediately sanction you.

Cheeky? maybe.. but probably worth a thought