Welcome to Amazing Insights by Jonckers! In this mini-video series, we’ll be interviewing thought leaders from various industries to hear their insights on artificial intelligence and its applications in global business. Gain insider expertise and practical advice on everything from data and tech to supply chain and market entry, all in just a few short minutes.
Our next interviewee in the Amazing Insights series is Lewis Bacon. Lewis is the Head of Corporate Marketing at the eCargo Group, which helps retail brands increase sales in the Chinese market through the use of technology. With a wealth of experience in the region, Lewis was able to provide some ‘amazing insights’ into the e-commerce landscape in China (and Asia more generally), and the key areas brands need to tackle for successful entry into the Chinese market.
China is renowned for its e-commerce prowess: annual revenue for e-commerce in China stands at US$ 1.377bn for 2022. It is by far the country with the highest annual e-commerce revenue, outselling the next three countries combined by US$ 98m. As Lewis puts it, “e-commerce growth is unparalleled in Asia”.
When asked about the characteristics of the Chinese retail market, Lewis remarks that it is an incredibly quick-moving and reactive market: one that is tuned in to emerging trends and able to capitalize on them quickly. One of the reasons e-commerce companies in China are able to react to trends so quickly and efficiently is because they are vertically integrated i.e. they manage and control their own supply chain. As Lewis explains, vertical integration means e-commerce giants such as Alibaba, JingDong, and Pinduoduo are able to successfully “capture, generate, and manipulate data” from numerous touchpoints across the full supply chain. The wealth of data gathered helps these companies not only to react to trends in real-time, but to predict trends and the seasons these trends will be popular, which helps create efficiencies across other areas of the business, such as optimizing production output and scheduling.
Lewis explains that AI comes into play on the consumer-facing side of e-commerce. Vertical integration allows for data gathering, and AI makes use of that data to provide the ultimate personalized shopping experience. Asian e-commerce customers are suggested products based on their previous purchases, what type of products they purchased, even the time of month they purchased those particular products. AI in e-commerce also has the capacity to go much further than product recommendations; ‘visual search’ allows shoppers to upload a photo or image of a clothing item or piece of furniture, for example, into an online shop and see product offerings similar to the image they uploaded.
Vertical integration and AI can be leveraged by e-commerce companies to create personalized shopping experiences for the consumer and increased control of supply chain and logistics, but there’s one key piece missing. When asked what his advice would be for companies looking to enter the Chinese market, Lewis lists localization as one of the key elements to get right. He explains that Chinese and Asian consumers are very savvy to brands that are very obviously exploiting the Asian market to generate profits quickly, and that they are looking for “a brand that’s not just localizing their content, but is actually really committed to the market.”
Companies don’t need to compromise on speed or quality when it comes to localization for entry into Asian markets. Jonckers has developed our own AI-powered translation platform, WordsOnline, which combines neural machine translation with our pool of expert linguists – offering the speed and agility of AI with the quality and authenticity of the human eye. Our automated translation workflows keep the turnaround times to a minimum, thereby maximizing your time-to-market – which is of the utmost importance when entering the highly reactive, fast-moving Asian e-commerce markets.
Catch the rest of our Amazing Insights series on our YouTube channel, where you can hear Daryl D’Cruz of Hexdon talk about offensive and defensive AI strategies and Stuart Barker of Comestri shares his thoughts on headless commerce.
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