Live streaming experiential shopping – how JD.com is adjusting to the new normal

As Covid-19 is entering a new stage in China, omnichannel models are helping to unlock suppressed demand. One of which is JD E-Space. I wrote about JD E-Space – JD’s 50,000 square-meter mega experience store in Southwest China’s Chongqing city – back in January. JD E-Space’s claim to fame is that it offers consumers the chance to try virtually everything in the store – from go-karts, to washing machines and more. JD E-Space adopts an omnichannel model, where customers can order online for delivery to their homes or buy online for pick up in store, enabling consumers beyond the Chongqing area to “visit” the store virtually. As all of the products are sold through JD’s retail model, consumers still experience same- and next-day delivery, even if they don’t live near the store.

At the time of the publishing the first piece, JD E-Space’s brick-and-mortar business had temporarily – as were other offline stores in China to contain the spread of the virus. JD E-Space resumed in-store operations in early March, but in fact, the store was never actually “closed”. How is that so? As Covid-19 has developed, JD E-Space has used its omnichannel business model to stay in close contact with consumers at all stages of the virus. Now, while maintaining strict protocols to keep customers in the offline store safe, JD E-Space is using livestreams and other online innovations to interact more with consumers.

In the offline store, in order to give customers peace of mind, JD E-Space has adopted comprehensive epidemic prevention measures, including regular, full-scale disinfection and protective supplies for employees. Additionally, when customers enter the store, their temperatures are checked before entering.

As for online, live-streaming has become a new favorite tool of E-Space. Through the use of young, popular anchors and celebrity shopping guides, rich technology-forward experiential content and joint promotion of products with brands, JD E-Space is leading the trend for experiential eCommerce live streaming. So far, JD E-Space has organised 45 live broadcasts, with 27 brands actively participating including the likes of Midea, Haier, Gree, AUX, Hisense, Samsung, Siemens, Panasonic, Lenovo and Xiaomi. Through livestreams and other innovative measures, E-Space has significantly increased user stickiness, gradually realising high quality, high-end user conversion.

At the same time, in April, JD.com launched a series of offline promotional activities in E-Space’s brick and mortar store in Chongqing. Several brands have chosen to launch their new products at JD-Space through offline events as well. Huawei P40, Honor V30 and Blackshark 3 series mobile phones are among the many new products recently available in store, attracting consumers who want to be the first to get their hands on the latest products.

With the coming of spring, life in China is gradually reaching a ‘new normal’ or a ‘tentative nomality’. More people are outside on the weekends, in the malls and in the parks. But eCommerce also remains highly popular. JD E-Space, which offers a fully-integrated omnichannel model is an example of how the connectivity between the online and offline worlds is providing agility and flexibility in the midst of unpredictability.

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