In this excerpt from PSFK's China Retail Debrief, explore the key techniques and strategies that keep the nation's retail giants at top of market, from localization and autonomous delivery to digital-led stores

China’s retail landscape has transformed from very traditional to cutting-edge in just a few years, thanks to the strategic vision of its leading customer experience innovators. The following eight initiatives can serve to inspire brands and retailers in other markets, helping them identify the necessary steps to implement their own visions of the ‘New Retail’ experience.

1. Construct A Unique Ecosystem
China’s key players have constructed vast and complex ecosystems of brands and subsidiaries. Mobile apps serve as a portal to these ecosystems, giving shoppers easy access to a connected portfolio of marketplaces and services, allowing them to seamlessly navigate from social media to entertainment to shopping and payments.

2. Expand Capabilities Through Strategic Partnerships
China’s key players have achieved dominance through strategic collaborations, by offering their services and expertise as a platform for other brands, investing in tech-focused startups or overseas companies in order to extend their capabilities and reach, or partnering with established foreign brands in order to help them enter the Chinese market.

3. Think ‘One Channel,’ Not Omnichannel
China’s key players are taking the elements of ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores to develop an entirely new shopping experience that implements the best aspects of the on and offline worlds in order to put consumer needs front and center.

4. Surprise And Delight Every Day With Connected Digitally Integrated Store Experiences
China’s key players are using technology, such as RFID and facial recognition, in order to create personalized in-store experiences for shoppers.

5. Leverage Real-Time Data To Quickly Adapt To Shifting Needs And Desires
Thanks to the breadth of their portfolios, from social media channels to physical stores, China’s key players have access to a tremendous amount of real-time data around consumer behavior that they can use to continually refine their operations.

6. Move Closer To The Consumer With Localization & Autonomous Delivery
As supply chains become more complex and consumers become more demanding, China’s key players are making major investments in their logistics operations to stay ahead of the competition.

7. Go Social And Make Retail A Form Of Everyday Entertainment
In China, shopping has become a fun, social activity that is woven into everyday life, thanks to digital platforms that seamlessly integrate content and commerce.

8. Be Bold Yet Nimble When It Comes To Innovation
China’s key players are constantly implementing new retail innovations and using the marketplace as their focus group, scrapping the ideas that don’t perform well and scaling the ones that do.

For more examples of how China is leading the retail sector with innovation and technology, download PSFK's China Retail Debrief.