How JD.com envisions the future of retail


Amsterdam – To get an idea of how the future of retail might be like, it’s
always worth looking to China with its tech-savvy consumers and its
companies pushing the boundaries of e-commerce. Here are three takeaways
about the future retail landscape, according to Chinese online retail giant
JD.com.

No borders

“The future of retail is about boundless retail. Consumers can get
whatever they want, wherever they want it,“ said Ling Chenkai, vice
president of corporate strategy & investment at Chinese online retailer
JD.com, at the World Retail Congress on Thursday. “In boundless retail we
aim to bring the retailer to the consumer.”

Rather than being divided between online and offline, “shopping moments”
will be popping up everywhere and in many different ways – from social,
conversational, AI-based – all of which will be seamlessly joined
together.

”The value of products will decrease”

“The value of products will decrease but the value of content and
service will increase,” said Ling during his talk.

The relationship with the consumer doesn’t end after a purchase – that’s where it begins. Ling used smart home speakers as an
example: The speaker won’t be just a product; it will be the starting point
for further purchases of content, music, weather forecasts and other
items.

This new way of thinking about a product also means that the
manufacturer and retailer will work together more closely.

“Nowadays, because retail understands the consumer, we are more and more
involved in the creation of the product. We will feed the brands based on
our insights on consumer behaviour and market dynamics.”

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The time of the integrated vertical value chain is over

Instead of owning most of the value chain from warehouse to system of
delivery, retailers must examine which parts they need as the complexity of
the industry increases. JD.com has started to look for help from outside
specialists and recently decoupled its distribution unit. By building what
it calls an ecosystem, the company brings in outside technology expertise
and hopes to set a new standard for retail.

“We really need to understand throughout the value chain, throughout the
ecosystem which part we need to own, which part has a strategic value for
us,” said Ling.

Picture: JD.com media resources



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