New research on the customer experience in China by McKinsey suggests that there is no other market on earth where the distinction between online and in-store shopping is so blurred. It’s like all those dreams of a retail omnichannel have not only been realised in China, but have been magnified.
According to the new McKinsey study over 95% of Chinese shoppers can now be classified as omnichannel-only. Either they will research products online and then purchase in-store or they will visit a store to check a product in person before ordering online. Chinese e-commerce has been growing rapidly all decade so the predicted 19% growth this year actually appears to be quite modest, but then the report notes that while the use of online-only platforms may have peaked, there is still plenty of growth left in this market.
There are two distinct developments in China that McKinsey describe that I believe are underdeveloped in other markets, so China is potentially leading the way in defining how customers will experience retail in future:
Social Shopping: Over 70% of Wechat users say that they will shop for products there, if they can see that their favorite brands are on the platform.
Scenario Shopping: brands able to react to exactly where a customer is located and what they are looking at so they can offer specific time-limited promotions.
Both these types of e-commerce development are maturing fast in China and the customer experience is dramatically enhanced by these options, however there is one important area where McKinsey suggests that China needs to catch up – personalization. The research suggests that Chinese brands need to improve their data use to create better insights into customers if they want to really deliver a more personal service.
With such rapid developments in the use of tools such as social shopping, I don’t believe it will be long before Chinese shoppers are seeing more personal offers, especially as scenario shopping is already becoming common.
What do you think about the McKinsey research and in particular the fact that almost all Chinese shoppers are now omnichannel shoppers? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.