To Deliver Data Insight data is of course one of the most important and also complex keys to the retail castle. There are massive amounts available from ‘likes’ and ‘wants’ to shopping patterns and the Chinese consumer is constantly inputting data to social discussions, chats and review sites. However, for some time the burning question has been how to extract relevant and usable data for a brand. In the Year of the Horse, we foresee gaming will become a major part of the plan. Consumers in China love the novelty of gaming and we know they will provide information if asked. The ability to ‘gamify’ users’ experience with a brand to get the best quality consumer feedback has proved to be one of the most powerful forms of information gathering, and we expect to see this gain real traction and begin to drive brand behaviour. Social media has given us some insight into the users’ experience but none has engaged, connected or interacted with consumers in the way gamification has proved itself able to. There is no doubt that eliciting meaningful data is of the utmost importance in driving growth for brands and that gaming will play a key part in the process for smart brand owners and retailers.
As e-commerce continues to develop fast, so too will the ability of Chinese consumers to bank via mobile platforms. we’re already seeing this happening in multiple ways, from street vendors processing credit cards via their android tablets, to e-commerce companies like Alibaba offering their consumers small savings accounts, to phone-to-phone SMS transfers. Tencent (China’s largest internet portal) has started offering customers a banking platform and with its 400million+ users, it’s destined to have a big impact. In the Year of the Horse we’ll witness consumers being able to use, share and spend money faster and more easily, leading to more transactions in more locations. This is good news for small businesses that have previously been constrained by payment issues, and might well regenerate the steadily shrinking small, informal trader. Just imagine how the ability to transfer a relatively small sum of money with a simple cellphone connection will enable transactions that were simply impossible in smaller rural areas. We expect to see points of purchase springing up virtually anywhere – not just in markets, but even on the most remote street corner. Such is the growing power of digital and peer-to-peer banking.
As China rebalances there will be significant changes and challenges which bring with them tremendous opportunities. Retail is always fast moving, dynamic and change is a constant. The two together, retail in China, represent a potent recipe for success as long as you can orchestrate it. So, as we are now in a new Chinese year – the Year of the Horse, I have put together, with Mike Smollan, from Smollan the 8 key retail trends you should be watching out for and creating strategies and activities around. Will be posting each one over the next few days…Here is the first one.
The Irresistible Rise Of E-Commerce
e-commerce will continue to engulf many areas of retail worldwide, but it’s in China that we fully expect to see the biggest surge. So much that by the end of the Year of the Horse China will become the biggest e-commerce market in the universe. Rising digital penetration amongst the Chinese and the development of digital banking (see ‘bank in the hand’ below), is set to sharpen both the appetite and ability to purchase anything and everything online. Businesses like Taobao (consumer-to-consumer online retail) and Tmall (b2c online retail) are already leading the charge – and indeed Taobao’s creation of a safe and cheap option for everyone to be buyers and sellers in a digital market place looks set to cement e-commerce in Chinese daily life. It’s inevitable that as other enterprises realise that online can provide a greater return on investment, they will start to put more effort and resources into it. We foresee more and more businesses beginning to use the digital platform to stimulate their flat traditional retail sales, further fueling the digital retail revolution. Undoubtedly a key enabler of this continued growth will be China’s low cost, dynamic supply chain; products can be delivered swiftly with little or no extra cost to consumers and this, coupled with the decreasing amount of time available to visit stores physically, will help make online shopping a nationwide norm.
There are many useful gadgets that started lifewith a military mind set. Perhaps none so ubiquitous as the GPS.
DARPA, inventors of much James Bond style tech played a major part in the invention and development of The Global Positioning System.
Like all things tech, GPS was oncehoused in massive boxes that needed a truck to carry it, GPS enablement is now imbedded not just in military equipment but miniaturised in phones, watches and cameras.
Well that very ubiquity from a military perspective is now being seen in certain quarters as a major threat. As the reliance on GPS is significant, from a military perspective, it becomes a strategic vulnerability. GPS being scrambled by an enemy.
So it’s no surprise to learn that much work has been going on to develop a new generation of positioning technology that will work without satellites with the added advantage of working in areas without satellite coverage.
The Director of the Pentagons research agency has spoken about the Boffins at DARPA and the University of Michigan creating a new technology that works out position, time and direction – all contained in an eight-cubic – millimeter chip…which is remarkable when you consider that it contains an atomic clock, three accelerometers, and three gyroscopes. Without the need for a single satellite.
I wonder how long it will be until that will be a feature on the smart watch.