TECHNOLOGY

Report: With Walmart’s help, JD.com amps up customer loyalty efforts

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is deepening its relationship with JD.com.

The two companies are merging their membership systems in China. This effort will enable customers to receive discounts and other benefits from both retailers, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

The partners will also introduce a new system that allows JD.com to fulfill customer orders using Walmart inventories, the report said. In addition to operating approximately 400 stores in China, Walmart has about a 12% stake in JD.com.

The project comes on the heels of another integration project. In August, Walmart more tightly integrated its operating platform, supply chain and customer resources within JD.com’s operations in preparation of the launch of the first JD-Walmart 8.8 omnichannel shopping festival on Aug. 8. The event offered savings across all the different JD and Walmart channels, and rewarded customers for shopping multiple touchpoints.

With 8.8 under its belt, JD.com is making new moves in preparation of the upcoming Singles Day Shopping Festival in China.

This time, JD.com is teaming up with web services provider Tencent (which holds almost 20% of JD.com’s stock), to launch a targeting marketing solution. Called the JD-Tencent Retail Marketing Solution, the platform integrates insights on consumer behavior from Tencent’s social platforms with online and offline shopping data from JD, Walmart and its brand partners.

The two companies are developing a secure database of shopping data that will combine its customers’ purchase history with data on Tencent’s WeChat messaging app. Using artificial intelligence to predict shoppers’ buying preferences, JD.com will better target sales promotions, coupons and preferred discounts

“Supplementing JD and Tencent’s big data with offline store information helps us paint a complete user profile, closing the loop across a fragmented Chinese retail landscape,” said JD.com chief marketing officer Lei Xu, said.

“In more than three years since we began leveraging our Tencent partnership, about a quarter of first time users have come from WeChat and Mobile QQ, demonstrating the power of the cooperation,” he said. “With this significant advance, we are now able to enable brands to further leverage the enormous reach of the JD-Tencent partnership to build customer loyalty.”

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TECHNOLOGY

E-commerce giant builds Singles Day excitement early

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

To make the most of the world’s biggest shopping holiday, Alibaba Group is getting a jump on marketing efforts and preparations.

The e-retailer launched Singles Day pre-sale activities on Thursday. The campaign includes more than three weeks of interactive marketing promotions, new retail experiences, support and new product offerings from around the world.

Over 140,000 brands will participate in this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival event, offering promotions for more than 15 million product listings. More than 60,000 international brands will be available to the more than half a billion Chinese consumers visiting Alibaba’s platforms.

This year’s 11.11 shopping event also plans to showcase the possibilities for the “future of retail” by illustrating the value of merging physical retail elements within social media, interactive content, and entertainment in one ecosystem at an unprecedented scale. Some online to offline initiatives include merchants utilizing various online and offline integrations under Alibaba’s New Retail models, and creating “smart stores” that feature virtual browsing, shopping tours, virtual fitting rooms, payments and deliveries.

More than 600,000 local convenience stores and 30,000 Rural Taobao service centers will also join the 11.11 event this year, and use Alibaba’s technology to digitize their businesses and to assist merchandising and inventory management. Alibaba will also feature augmented reality games that will allow Chinese consumers to earn special promotion coupons and prizes when they find and scan the Tmall mascot using the Mobile Taobao App. Tmall mascots will be featured in thousands of retail stores including Starbucks, KFCs and other shopping locations across China, the retailer said.

For the first time, Tmall will also bring more than 100 Chinese brands overseas. It plans to offer special promotions targeting over 100 million overseas Chinese consumers in Asia and around the world.

Alibaba’s logistics network, Cainiao Network, also plans to have more than 3 million logistics personnel on hand to handle the millions of packages generated from the 24-hour shopping festival. Cainiao Network will invest over $200 million (USD) to help merchants and logistics partners handle the increase in demand.

 

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TECHNOLOGY

Report: Walmart eyeing department store chain to ‘anchor’ potential online mall

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A potential partnership could give Walmart another way to compete with its rival Amazon.

The discount giant is nearing a deal with Lord & Taylor that would give the department store dedicated space on Walmart’s website. Besides encouraging other brands to follow suit and also come aboard, this move could also be a stepping stone for the discounter to establish Walmart.com as an online mall, according to Fortune.

The partnership would benefit both companies. For Walmart, the Lord & Taylor presence would establish the company’s position as an alternative to Amazon. The brand would also complement the discount giant’s recent acquisitions, Bonobos, ModCloth, Moosejaw, ShoeBuy and online retailer jet.com — all of which could also be featured in the virtual mall.

According to the report, the partnership could also spur website traffic for Lord & Taylor, which described its online volume as “modest” last quarter. Looking ahead, Walmart stores also could be positioned as another distribution channel for shoppers to pick up the department store chain’s online orders.

Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.

The strategy rivals similar operations run by Amazon and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which both offer dedicated space to brands on their websites. Such arrangements allow companies to increase traffic to their e-commerce platforms and let retailers boost their online assortment, according to Reuters.

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