DangDang.com’s Online Retail Innovations
DangDang.com has long been dubbed the “Amazon of China” because it matches the online retailer in broad ambition; it leads the Chinese online marketplace, and, well, founder Peggy Yu openly admits that she wanted to build an Amazon.com for China. Certainly no shame in that. Sales growth for DangDang.com is at an unbelievable 100% per year since it setup virtual shop in 1999. The site cribs the most popular Amazon features like the product recommendation system, search engine and customer feedback loop, but DangDang has also done some innovating of its own to tailor online selling for the Mainland.
DangDang’s gives back to its customers (and encouraging their vigilant attention to the site) by randomly assigning one hour a day as “Lucky Time” in which all purchases made within that hour are free of charge (restrictions obviously apply). Online rebate coupons and VIP membership are offered as an extra bargain incentive as well.
DangDang also works to give its customers a reason to trust them. China never had an established mail-order industry so it was previously unheard of for customers to part with their money first before getting what they paid for. To put customers at ease, DangDang has a door-to-door return policy within seven days after purchase and allows exchange of goods within 15 days. Also because this is China, the site makes a pledge not to sell pirated products.
And finally, the online supersite makes the transaction all the more convenient and worthwhile with its flexible payment options. Zero debt is seen as a virtue in China, so credit card penetration has been slow. This means that DangDang can’t just rely on credit card payments like Amazon does. Instead, it allows customers to pay cash upon delivery. Not surprisingly, this has proven to be the most popular payment option. For those willing to embrace technology, DangDang has partnered with Yeepay (China’s answer to PayPal) which enables customers to pay online using credit cards, via mobile phone using SMS messages integrated with customer bank accounts or through a touch-tone phone by linking with the interactive voice response systems of the major banks.