- TikTok owner ByteDance has launched a new e-commerce platform, two years after the tech giant initially dabbled in the marketplace. ByteDance's first foray into e-commerce was in 2018, when the firm launched an e-commerce feature (in partnership with Alibaba) in short-form video social platform Douyin, which enabled users to shop whilst watching 15 second videos. The company is now combining its e-commerce businesses across Douyin, Toutiao (the AI-driven news platform), and Xigua (the short-form video platform). Following on from TikTok’s huge growth, ByteDance is potentially looking to attract luxury brands that hope to target the aspirational millennial and zillenial marketplace, both of which are filled with heavy social media users and news consumers. It’s believed that the platform will focus on livestream e-commerce, which is growing rapidly in Asian markets.
- China saw almost a return to pre-COVID consumer demand levels during its first post-pandemic shopping festival. Originally launched by JD.com, the festival is effectively considered a mid-year sale and is the second largest in China after singles day. This year, JD.com saw a 33% increase in sales compared to last year, and Alibaba’s TMall platform achieved USD $98.7b (£79.2b) in sales for the period ending 20th June. Agencies in China have reported that brands are looking for long-term growth over short-term sales. As a result, e-commerce platforms are experimenting with new creative and interactive ad formats that showcase products through content, including 3D shopping tools, online shows, and livestream e-commerce channels. These platforms are thought to be using these tools to offer customer interaction data, helping brands to start, or in some cases continue, having direct conversations with their customers.
- As the ongoing pandemic keeps most brick-and-mortar retailers shut, commentators are asking whether traditional brands should develop DTC offerings to survive in a post-COVID landscape. The pandemic has seen many brands rely on digital channels for direct sales, but some face stiff competition from established DTC challenger brands, whilst others lack the online presence needed to quickly establish themselves in a landscape of limited visibility. Knocking up a DTC site isn’t the most straightforward solution, but some brands have found success in developing marketplaces which either showcase a number of their products together (such as Pepsi, which built its own e-commerce sites in 30 days on Pantryshop.com and Snacks.com) or by selling across a number of digital marketplaces. How sustainable is this approach for traditional brands, and will we see more fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands doing something similar?
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