E-Commerce in the Mobile Internet Age
3G, SNS and the ever-increasing number of new mobile devices are transforming the online shopping experience. Chinese e-commerce platforms accounted for 84% of mobile Internet traffic in Q1 2013 – an increase of 250% from the same quarter in 2012. With the number of mobile Internet users in China now at 420 million, both old and new players in mobile e-commerce face unprecedented challenges – unprecedented because of the number of users, as well as the exponential increase in online shopping with mobile devices. How can companies continue to enhance the user experience without compromising the quality of their services? China’s online shoppers expect companies to be innovative and cutting edge, yet, at the same time, to have a proven track record. However, more fundamentally, the greatest challenge facing Alibaba Group and Jingdong Mall is – how do we keep the Internet speed from slowing with an ever-increasing number of online customers? A slowdown for one day might lose the company millions in sales revenue. For that matter, not only does the Internet speed need to be constant, it needs to be constant for all 420 million mobile online shoppers across China – the majority of whom now live in lower-tier cities.
The Next Facebook Will Be Born in China
In the beginning, the Internet was something confined to offices and PCs. Now, it is on the move. The mobile Internet, that is to say the Internet accessed from tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices, is turning China into the world’s largest mobile Internet hub. The increasingly multichannel online retail environment has been made possible by the spread of online access throughout both rural and urban areas. Users can shop from the comfort of their couch while watching TV, on their way to work, or even in the bath! This enables online shopping providers to hoard mountains of data – data related to consumer behaviour, individual user preferences and brand loyalty, but to name a few. This is what e-commerce gurus mean when they say “We are now in the era of big data!” But what are the implications of this for social networks? Although Facebook is the dominant global player in SNS at present, it is no longer a sensation. The next SNS sensation will combine the mobile Internet, multichannel online retail and big data – three interconnected elements of the Chinese digital landscape that are set to boom in the coming years.
Source: Tencent Technology
Sina Weibo –Taobao is now online!
Sina Weibo and Taobao have officially tied the knot. As of today, users will be able to synchronize their Weibo and Taobao accounts – if they wish to. All users have to do is select the “Bind Accounts” option on either sites’ “Account Settings” page. So what are the new features? A joint Weibo-Taobao account means users can combine Sina’s microblogging services with their Taobao activity. For example, if a user wants to share content about a recent Taobao purchase with their Weibo circle, they can now do so with ease! But couldn’t a Weibo user do this already? Why is the partnership with Taobao necessary? The answer? – Utility. Both platforms want to make it easier for users to combine microblogging and online shopping. They recognise that social media and e-commerce are interconnected – both Sina Weibo and Taobao will benefit from increased cooperation for at least two reasons. Firstly, when it comes to online shopping, Chinese consumers are greatly influenced by the opinions of people in their social circles – they are more likely to visit a brand’s flagship store if they have seen positive reviews of it on a microblogging site. The second reason is online advertising. Taobao will use Sina Weibo’s online footprint to promote itself using online advertising space.
Source: Sohu IT
The Expansion of Smart TV
Just a few weeks ago we heard of Alibaba’s campaign to enter the smart TV by working on the development of a set top box. It seems like more and more companies are seeing the opportunity there is in this raising market. Chinese smart TV penetration has already reached 50 percent. Besides this impressive level of penetration, it is important to acknowledge the fast paste at which the sales of these products are rising. From January to June smart TV sales reached 4.57 million units, meaning a rise of 105.7 percent from the same period last year.
Amazon Expands in Social Media
Amazon is aiming to develop a social media feature similar to Pinterest’s Collections, which have been really popular. The users are allowed to post the pictures of the product they like or already bought. Also, if one person is interested in a good posted in the Collection page of another, it’s very simple for them to purchase it. Amazon, however, is not the first e-commerce player to imitate Pinterest’s Collections. Last year, eBay launched a similar feature. Despite this being a significant step of Amazon into social media, it is not the first involvement of the e-commerce platform in the field, earlier this year it acquired the book and recommendation sharing website Goodreads and 3 years ago it integrated Facebook for user-based merchant recommendations.