Fashion in China: who’s gonna win the e-commerce challenge?

Few days ago JD.com, one of the two big players in the Chinese  e-commerce market, launched Toplife a new online platform focused on luxury product and providing a top level customer experience. A further move with the purpose to improve the customer journey evolving to an experience closer to luxury offline shopping spots, and a smart strategy aimed to differentiate the service range from the usual basic marketplace turning into a price comparison tool or an Amazon-like product search engine.

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Farfetch: one of the top fashion e-tailer. JD.com  recently invested $ 397 million in this company

A further investment following the $ 397 million stake acquired in Farfetch last june, stepping into one of the top players worldwide, that works with more than 750 boutiques and designers in the luxury segment in 40 countries and scored a $ 800 million revenue in 2016. Chinese market is still confirmed as the major e-commerce challenge in the next future, and apparel, footwear and accessories are the fast paced segment on which many players concentrate investments and resources. While it’s a large market with more than $ 117 billion volume only in the e-commerce channel, competition is intensyfing day by day: fashion giants are reshaping the whole industry deploying competitive advantages based on scalable business models and resources, lean supply chains, unrivalled logistics and big data potential (for tech companies like Amazon stepping into the fashion and e-fashion segments) posing actual threats to traditional models and companies that are less adaptive to the new context.

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Impressive: compare the red e-commerce market size in Chinese fashion segment to the sum of the blue EU+US market volumes

Every single report on fashion you’ll have the chance to read (Euromonitor Megatrends, but also many more reports freely available on the web) will underline same patterns together with these insights: if top player are reshaping the whole industry as mentioned above, there are also drivers and trends which open up relevant market opportunities for lean and smart companies able to deliver winning customer approaches. If we think a second of companies like Supreme New York (there’s also an official fake brand in Italy…really!) that were born from subcultures and local communities, we realize that wisely designed business models could turn a local company in a market niche into a winning international brand driving the demand and recording impressive revenue performances.

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Supreme NYC means limited edition apparel, key influencer on social networks, subculture like brand identity and luxury maison marketing strategy. A great winning mix!

The winning trends now are mass customization, premiumisation, healthy living and connected consumer: if you develop a wise omnichannel approach and deliver a structured business model, there’s a relevant potential in scaling up to an impressive performance. Lean SMEs could also lead a winning governance of their digital processes managing the customer experience in a way that delivers performance and drives the demand, providing products and customer journeys focused right on premiumisation, healthy living (OrangeFiber for example), customization and connected approach.

Finding the right unique experience, customized, aimed to the perfect fit it’s the key to express and individual identity and build up a winning strategy. Easy? Not at all, but it’s not impossible. It’s up to you to surf this wave like Col. Kilgore would, or drown without any chance.

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[header pic by Jens Johnsson via Unsplash]

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