News

Online retail sites: Prepare for a surge in China e-commerce

BY CSA STAFF

By Jeff Kim, [email protected]

As the Chinese New Year approaches, online retailers and the brands they represent are making huge investments in their China-focused websites. But unlike years past, it’s not just the luxury brands that stand to perform well this coming January. Online retailers offering a spectrum of Western brands, luxury or otherwise, have gained market traction among China’s 25-35 year olds. In fact, Western products across a broad range of categories drove the nearly four-fold leap in holiday e-commerce in 2010. According to Taobao.com, China’s largest online retail site, online sales during the New Year’s Spring Festival rose from 280 Yuan in 2009 to 1 billion Yuan (150 million U.S. Dollars) in 2010.

To prepare their websites for the coming holiday season, online retailers should borrow a page from the playbooks of luxury brand retailers with strong online sales in China. These retailers have succeeded through an ability to both draw consumers to their sites and retain consumers with high-performing, immersive site experiences. Such experiences ensure customer loyalty, and Chinese consumers tend to be far more loyal shoppers than Western consumers.

But delivering immersive website experiences has proven difficult, especially for early entrants into China. The imperfect nature of China’s Internet infrastructure slows the performance of online retail sites. Page load times of thirty seconds to one minute are not uncommon, and this leads to high shopping cart abandonment. Online retailers who have adjusted quickly to the shortcomings of China’s Internet infrastructure improved their website performance and enjoy strong China revenue today.

Aligning site optimization with website performance optimization
Online retailers in China do well to align their investments in search optimization and Web applications with the proper content delivery strategy. Through the use of a distributed content delivery network, or CDN, their website performance stands out among online retailers, particularly during the peak holiday shopping season. By leveraging an in-China CDN, they ensure high website performance and a quality end-user experience ― regardless of traffic volume and fluctuations in demand.

Recognizing that customer loyalty erodes fast in China when a website suffers from poor performance, website performance measurement companies (I.e. Compuware, Keynote, etc.) have established extensive China operations and partnerships to help online retailers measure their performance. It’s an important development, because it underscores the nature of China’s online consumers: They typically come from China’s younger, Internet-savvy generation, and this generation demands both optimal website performance and an immersive brand experience.

Against this backdrop, online retailers must leave nothing to chance. They’ve spent great time and effort to attract Chinese consumers and wow them with dynamic shopping applications. But shopping cart conversion only comes with strong website performance. Unlike the US and Europe where standard website acceleration techniques prove effective, the same rules do not apply inside the Great Firewall that surrounds mainland China. Mainland China’s internal Internet infrastructure can be hazardous, resulting in drastically reduced website performance. But site managers can take three critical steps to turn China website performance in their favor.

Step 1: Get into mainland China
Many companies have attempted to reach Chinese consumers from data centers in Hong Kong or Singapore. But content originating from outside China must first pass through a filtering process, resulting in partial delivery of web pages or slowed full-page delivery. This drastically reduces the quality of the end-user experience.

After successfully passing through The Great Firewall, content slows as it crosses mainland China. Data centers located outside of mainland China simply lack the visibility and control needed to overcome the network peering issues that arise within the mainland.

Step 2: Navigate the mainland’s networks
China’s Internet is a fragmented network made up of multiple telecommunications networks, with no network dominating in all regions. Moreover, the different networks do not cooperate or inter-connect well. To ensure smooth delivery of website content into China’s various regions, retailers must use website delivery methods that do not rely heavily on a single network operator. The answer for many website managers is to forego the standard data center hosting arrangement in favor of an in-China CDN.

By locating content delivery servers within multiple Chinese networks, CDN service providers help websites to circumvent weak peering between the networks. Additionally, since CDNs can deliver both dynamic applications and static content, website managers have no need to contract with local China data centers.

Step 3: Measure potential for success
Numerous online retailers and other organizations have launched their China websites over the past several years. Some have built out their own infrastructure, while many have leveraged managed hosting service providers and CDN services providers. Thanks to third party site performance measurement tools such as those provided by Gomez and Keynote Systems, IT teams can gather reliable evidence to discover which websites are performing well in China and which have a drastic need to improve.

Conclusion: A little homework goes a long way in China
The ecosystem of Internet infrastructure, service providers, and regulations surrounding China is still evolving today. Rather than committing large budgets, staff resources, and learning curve time to manage China complexities, leading online retailers rely on global CDN service providers with a presence inside mainland China. Such CDNs provide the obvious benefit of navigating China on behalf of online retailers, drastically reducing their operational risk and streamlining time to market. CDNs with a global presence beyond China also enable online retailers to leverage China success and easily replicate it around the world.

Jeff Kim is the COO of U.S. and EMEA at CDNetworks (http://www.cdnetworks.com). He can be reached at [email protected].

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

S.Kr says:
Jan-02-2013 05:27 pm

What an intresting thought which is written on the site , we had read it and it was very help full and i had learnt it and my friens Manual Social Bookmarking also learnt it.

S.Kr says:
Jan-02-2013 05:27 pm

What an intresting thought which is written on the site , we had read it and it was very help full and i had learnt it and my friens Manual Social Bookmarking also learnt it.

Geogre10 says:
Dec-13-2012 09:00 am

magnificent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don't notice this. You must continue your writing. I'm confident, you've a great readers' base already! auto shipping gold dealers should i refinance down for everyone expired domains

Geogre10 says:
Dec-13-2012 09:00 am

magnificent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don't notice this. You must continue your writing. I'm confident, you've a great readers' base already! auto shipping gold dealers should i refinance down for everyone expired domains

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Are you hiring seasonal employees this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
News

eBay offers multi-channel incentive

BY CSA STAFF

SAN JOSE, Calif. — eBay announced that it has partnered with Toys“R”Us, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Aeropostale for a new incentive for you to spend money online and in stores.

According to the companies, when customers spend $100 online using PayPal atToys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us on eBay, ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com, Dicks Sporting Goods or Aeropostale.com, they willearn $10 to shop in-store.

“We’re excited to offer this first ever online and in-store multi-channel rewards program with Toys“R”Us, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Aeropostale,” said eBay Inc. president and CEO John Donahoe. “This innovative rewards program reflects the future of retail and the convenient, seamless shopping experience consumers are looking for.”

The promotion runs through Dec. 19.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Are you hiring seasonal employees this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
News

Help Wanted: Walmart hiring 4.3 million

BY CSA STAFF

Yes, you read that correctly. Walmart will need to hire an estimated 4.3 million people over the course of the next five years to keep pace with anticipated growth and turnover. No wonder the company is such a big supporter of an organization known as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), which held its Global Partner Summit in Rogers, Ark. earlier this week.

The late Jack Shewmaker lent his considerable support to SIFE for many years as one of Walmart’s top executives and that trend continues today with Walmart International president and CEO Doug McMillon serving as chairman of the SIFE Worldwide board of directors and Sam’s Club president and CEO Brian Cornell serving as chairman of the SIFE USA national advisory board. Both attended and spoke at the Partner Summit. Also appearing on the program were Sharon Orlopp, Walmart’s global chief diversity officer and SVP corporate people and John Boswell, Sam’s Club’s SVP marketing, member insights and e-commerce.

It was Orlopp who mentioned that Walmart, which already employs some 2.1 million people, would need to hire 4.3 million more to satisfy growth and fill empty position when people leave. In addition, Orlopp said Walmart will need to hire 91,000 managers and 400 vice presidents.

Many of those are likely to come from the ranks of the roughly 57,000 students worldwide who participate in SIFE chapters at 1,600 universities. These students tend to be articulate, motivated and among those least likely to participate in an “Occupy” event given their pro-business leanings. Their belief in SIFE’s mission of creating a better and more sustainable world through the positive power of business was readily apparent among those attending the Partner Summit where they referred to their infectious passion as being “SIFEd.”

It’s why, as Orlopp noted, Walmart spends a lot of time in its recruiting efforts changing perceptions of the retail industry and employing some unconventional strategies. For example, she said most students would be unaware that the average Walmart or Sam’s Club store manager earns more annually than the average doctor or lawyer. So when Walmart shows up on campus it goes in with a plan to identify top candidates, quickly educate them about the potential in retail and when appropriate bring them to Bentonville for a whirlwind indoctrination. The goal is to provide what Orlopp called a “unique candidate experience” that provides exposure to the company’s culture, different areas of the business and senior leadership. Offers are then extended within 72 hours and Orlopp said the process results in a 90% acceptance rate.

Other novel approaches to campus recruiting involved sending applicants a Web cam so that a video interview can be conducted as opposed to flying prospects to Bentonville. Orlopp said the approach has saved millions. On other occasions she said the company will bring soundproof booths to campus hiring events.

It is all part of a strategy to attract the best and brightest to a company where some college students may harbor preconceived notions of the retail industry in general and Walmart in particular. And faced with such staggering demands as outlined by Orlopp, it’s no wonder that Walmart is a big supporter of SIFE and such top executives as McMillon and Cornell are continuing in the tradition of Shewmaker by lending their leadership and commitment to the cause.

In closing comments at summit, Cornell asked the gathering of roughly 300 senior CPG executives and SIFE students from throughout the country to embrace the concept of “ambassadorship,” because the organization is at an important inflection point.

SIFE will undergo a rebranding in 2012 and is looking for more students, faculty, CPG executives and companies to get SIFEd, which is why it is more important than ever for participating company’s to show their support and not just financially.

“This is about the way you can elevate your involvement and support for the organizations in ways you haven’t in the past,” Cornell said. “I believe the best for SIFE is yet to come and I would ask all of you to step up your support over the next 12 months so that this organization can achieve its full potential.”

According to SIFE USA president Donna Patterson, one of the organization’s top goals is to increase the number of teams competing and extend to industry segments beyond retail and consumer packaged goods.

“When we are able to get students or teams to participate in competitions, that is when they get SIFEd,” Patterson said.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Are you hiring seasonal employees this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...