As a technology-driven company, JD.com has focussed considerable effort in developing a robust and scalable platform which not only supports the company’s rapid growth but also allows it to provide cutting-edge technology and services to its partners and customers. Here, RLI sits down with Kevin Jiang, President of International Business at JD Fashion and Lifestyle to discuss how the company has gone from strength to strength and what’s next.
JD.com was founded by businessman Liu Qiangdong on 18 June 1998, and it began life as a classic offline business, stocking and selling goods first in wholesale and then in retail. The company took a different approach from many sellers in Zhongguancun and only sold authentic products at reasonable prices. As time went by, it accumulated a group of loyal customers and launched its retail platform online in 2004.
Starting as an online magneto-optical store, the group expanded to sell electronics, mobile phones, computers and similar items. The company changed its domain name to 360buy. com in June 2007 and then to JD.com in 2013, with the latter understood to have cost $5M.
Since its inception JD.com has invested in high tech and AI delivery through drones, autonomous technology and robots, and possesses the largest drone delivery system, infrastructure and capability in the world.
“We can now proudly say JD is China’s largest retailer, online or offline, and customers can buy almost everything they need on JD.com, from electronic products, clothing, luxury products and consumer goods to fresh food,” explains Kevin Jiang, President of International Business at JD Fashion and Lifestyle. “The company also operates the largest Business-to- Consumer e-commerce logistics network in China that covers 99 per cent of the country’s population.”
n recent years Chinese consumers have become more discerning, and JD.com has become the preferred destination for safe, high quality, branded and imported products in China, and more and more luxury brands are choosing to cooperate with the business, these include Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Armani and Paul Smith. With its long standing commitment to authenticity it has attracted many loyal customers.
This premium experience is another ley consideration of consumers when they buy luxury products. Jiang explains that Chinese luxury consumers are even more sophisticated today than they were just a few short years ago. They want an entirely new experience with luxury so it is not enough to just have access to the best brands.
Chinese luxury consumers are even more sophisticated todaythan they were just a few short years ago. They want an entirelynew experience with luxury so it is not enough to just haveaccess to the best brands.
“This is why JD has developed a white glove delivery service,JD Luxury Express. With JD Luxury Express, our couriers wearformal attire, including white gloves, and drive electric cars todeliver products. What’s unique about JD Luxury Express isthat it adds a highly-personalised, intimate and innovative offlineelement to the e-commerce experience,” says Jiang.
Top luxury brands highly value their in-store luxury express,so JD’s mission is to complement its online experience with anoffline experience that is commensurate with what the brandscan offer in their stores all around the world. JD helps luxurybrands design and decorate their online stores, offering a high-end shopping experience to consumers.
The company also pays much attention to product selection.They have a team of professional buyers who know JD’s luxury consumers profile and can help select products which will bepopular on their platform. An example of this is when SergioRossi launched on JD. Before the launch, JD’s luxury buyerswent to Milan to Sergio Rossi’s showroom to personally selectproducts based on Chinese customers’ taste. “We also have in place a strategic partnership with Tencent,making it possible for brands to reach over one billion Chineseconsumers. For brands that open a store on JD.com, we canimmediately open a mini-program on Tencent’s WeChat, helpingto attract more consumers,” explains Jiang.
In the future, Jiang feels that omni-channel solutions will be an important strategy for JD’s luxury business, and they are also exploring omni-channel with some luxury brands. The business started its Omni-channel Fulfilment program in the consumer goods category in early-2019. The program integrates offline channels to deliver products that are ordered on JD. When customers order a product on JD which is available in one of the offline channels near them, JD’s system will analyse whether it is most efficient to deliver it from JD warehouse or from an offline channel. For brands, this model can bring more orders to their offline stores and improve the turnover rate; for customers, it can shorten the delivery time to two hours on average. Apart from consumer goods, the program is also expanded to medical category, and will be expanded to luxury in the near future.
Through the integration of online and offline, JD hopes to provide an upgraded shopping experience to its customers and bring further benefits to brand partners.
“The pandemic has affected many industries, and luxury is no exception. It has encouraged many luxury brands to attach greater importance to online. JD has unique supply chain advantages that enabled us to continue the delivery around China during Covid-19. The support that JD provided to the brands during COVID-19 has attracted many brands to form partnerships,” explains Jiang.
Since the beginning of January, around 20 luxury brands have opened stores on JD, including the world’s oldest fine leather goods house Delvaux, Chanel-owned jewellery brand Goossens and luxury cashmere specialist Barrie.
“To date, over 200 luxury brands from around the world have established partnerships with JD and we look forward to many more in the future,” Jiang concludes.