E-commerce in China: a whole different world

Researching on critical factors of success in e-commerce targeting the world's most dynamic economies and some findings are just amazing. Of course the context is profoundly different from what we have in Europe, but consumer preferences may be even more different and perhaps counter-intuitive in certain cases, e.g. sites designs that would feel crowded and too "loud" in many European markets appear to be just about what Chinese consumers like in many product categories. Really fascinating read, which also makes it very clear that China is as much a big commercial opportunity as it is a riddle for European companies.

Here's a short sequence from a show on CNN in which the boss of leading player Yihaodian (backed by WalMart who have been smart enough to not interfere with the way the business is managed locally). He claims that one of their approaches is to list the top 5 things foreign players are doing when entering China and do the exact opposite (100% different as he says). Better watch:


Market share and trends for top e-commerce platforms

E-commerce has been a very hot area for many years and we were lucky to be involved in different roles in e-commerce businesses. After the disappointment of the early years of our century, click-and-mortar visions have morphed into cross-channel and then omni-channel approaches focusing a lot on delivering a consistent experience to consumers across touchpoints throughout a wide variety of possible customer journeys. What is the market share of each of the top e-commerce platforms in different segments of e-commerce sizes? What are the trends? Which look like good entry-level options with potential to scale? Some answers in a summary of a bit of research in this post.


Brand equity and brand content

Working on brand equity, storytelling and community management with customers in recent months gave us food for thought regarding the relationship between a brand and the contents associated to that brand. Our conclusion is that the interaction between brand and brand contents may either be nurturing or weakening the brand irrespective of the intrinsic "quality" of contents. In fact, it's a matter of consistency between what the brand stands for in the minds of its consumers and the contents associated with that brand. That degree of consistency will define how trustworthy the brand appears to be and how credible and desirable the brand stories are in the eyes of the consumers.


Zappos' Hsieh: Building a Formidable Brand

As usual Hsieh speaks with passion about the importance of culture and of creating a workplace that is fun to work in. Crucially he shows how building a formidable brand is never divorced from the endeavor to developing an amazing culture and to creating a workplace that's fun to work in day in day out. The presentation below is really worth your time, especially if you live and work in a country where customer service is not the strongest point of focus of businesses.


Kate Spade Saturday concept trial in Manhattan

Back in the summer of 2013 Kate Spade Saturday tried a concept involving huge touch-screens deployed at different locations in Manhattan to offer a service making it possible for consumers to order and get the products delivered anywhere in the city. The concept was deployed in cooperation with eBay.

The whole operation definitely captures attention. It may be a good way to communicate with the public about the brand and its cool, innovative spirit, but is this a viable business model?

A case of botched pivot

A few days ago GetGlue merged with i.TV and executed a "zoom-in" pivot dropping its universal check-in model to focus on becoming the platform for real-time updates about live TV. Aside from the expected benefits from the move itself, which is discussed in a post on Engadget, the dimension of execution seems to be leaving a lot to be desired and shows how carefully a pivot should be prepared.


From inspiration to acquisition

According to recent reports, ASAP54 recently got a round of funding in excess of € 3m to develop its app, which allows smartphone users to process images and identify products in the picture. With only minimal interaction with the user, the app will offer a list of products similar to those in the picture and allow the user to filter them according to criteria like color and price range. So, your favorite actor is wearing a jacket that would suit you perfectly? All you have to do is take a picture or a screenshot and have ASAP54 suggest similar products along with links to shops selling the jacket. Same thing for nice design objects or furniture. The app will also allow users to publish their "asaps" and their lists of asaps which could end up looking like moodboards or like more intelligent versions of Pinterest's pins. The following video will give you an idea of how the app will work.


The obvious business model for this app feels like being affiliation, whereby online merchants will pay ASAP54 a fee for business the app sends their way, but there is also strong potential for that app actually becoming a tool of trend-setters and influencers in fashion, interior design and styling.