Tencent looks to capture offline customers online
Leveraging technology to create a seamless online and offline experience to build sales from stores is creating new ways of shopping, Cecilia Tian, General Manager, Tencent Smart Retail, told World Retail Congress delegates this morning.
She said that the high adoption of tools such as WeChat and of QR codes in China makes connections with consumers in physical environments easier, saying that brands have to work out: “how do you connect online and offline?”
Tian pointed to “massive adoption of technology” in China as a platform for new ways of retailing. “Scan and pay is becoming very common in China, which requires building trust and removing the fear of technology,” she said. “That is very valuable. If you look at the results almost 40% of the consumers in the shop are using scan and pay, which is driving a very unique experience.”
She also said that the online experience should start with real relationships. “Fundamentally it is about who sent what, we want the relationship to start with face-to-face, offline, where people feel comfortable in building the relationship,” she said.
Part of this approach is encouraging sales people to get in connection with the consumer. “Staff and shoppers can be connected by WeChat. We are seeing a lot of good results coming out of that,” she said.
She said that this has boosted sales orders when the store is physically closed because they can still talk to the shop assistants via WeChat.
However, she warned that this approach is complex and admitted: “It is not easy.”