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Social Commerce: Models and Players in China

  • Catégorie(s) :Press release
  • Auteur : KT Wu
  • Source : Hanshow Retail Academy
  • Visites :

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Social Commerce: Models and Players in China

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The increasing integration of social behavior, shopping behavior and business scenarios is profoundly changing the structure and ecology of e-commerce. Social interaction, in China, has become an important force driving the development of e-commerce, expediting the evolution of traditional e-commerce in the era of mobile socialization. 


Below are a few models/major players in China worth noting.

Content Sharing Platforms

Content sharing platforms such as Xiaohongshu (小红书), one of the largest and fastest growing social e-commerce apps in China, encourages a "safe space" for like-minded consumers to write reviews and share their shopping experiences, good or bad, and thus develops a closed shopping cycle.


Xiaohongshu closed shopping cycle


Since the Covid-19 outbreak, more and more shopping notes of food, entertainment, and fitness have attracted the attention of users stuck at home. Xiaohongshu launched a two-week online shop exploration event in May 2020, inviting a group of internet celebrities to go to Shanghai landmark business districts to explore shops through live broadcast. The live broadcast promoted offline consumption. It is reported that the live broadcast interaction rate on the day was 44%!



Xiaohongshu online shop exploration event


During the pandemic, Xiaohongshu also granted live broadcast permissions to many merchants and helped them establish connection with potential customers through interactive live broadcast before normal business could resume, thus helping the small merchants as well as its own business. 


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Xiaohongshu live broadcast for barbershops


Social Retailers

In order to avoid people gathering during the pandemic, 7Fresh (Jingdong fresh food supermarket) launched a group purchase tool Xiaoqipin to meet the needs of community residents. The head of the purchase group publishes the commodities in the community group, and collects the residents’ orders in the community. 7Fresh can provide fresh food for communities within 3 kilometers and ease the inconvenience of grocery shopping during the pandemic.

The products of Xiaoqipin are mainly selected by the platform and announced by the head of the purchase group. They cover all types of fresh goods in 7Fresh, such as meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Residents need to send the receiving address and basic information of the order via the app after placing the order. After the amount of orders reaches a threshold, the store will deliver the goods to the neighborhood, typically on the same day. Residents can then collect the purchase in their own neighborhood at a designated point to reduce unwanted contacts.


Orders in Xiaoqipin Wechat groups


Pinduoduo, a major social commerce platform also launched a group purchase program Kuaituantuan to help collect the needs of community residents and fulfill online orders for small business owners. Merchants can post available commodities on group purchase page in Kuaituantuan Wechat small program. Consumers living in the same neighborhood can also initiate group purchases. After the amount of orders reaches a threshold, the goods will be delivered to the community collecting point without contact according to local pandemic prevention requirements. Since the outbreak, Kuaituantuan has helped stores in more than 10,000 communities, providing local community consumers with centralized group purchase services for fresh produce and daily grocery needs.


Group purchase on Kuaituantuan Wechat small program

Freshippo (Alibaba's grocery chain) also provided community group purchase service. Each store of Freshippo has Wechat groups and customers can place orders in them. Staff of Freshippo collect orders every night before 23:00 and deliver the orders the next day. The practice integrates the originally scattered delivery orders to communities and saves a lot of logistics cost and resources than before.


Freshippo pick up spot in the community


Group Buying Platforms

Products and services are offered at a reduced rate if enough buyers agree to make the purchase together in these platforms.
Jingxi (Jingdong’s interactive e-commerce platform) provides commodities with low price and high quality, connecting retail to the social relationship in WeChat friends and focusing on the lower tier markets. 

During the pandemic, Jingxi has implemented supporting measures for small enterprises. More than 40,000 companies has settled in Jingxi platform and more than 50,000 companies has benefited. Jingxi also launched plans to help factories, farms, and foreign trade businesses in industrial belts and places of origin to build efficient online sales systems so as to meet domestic consumer demand in lower tier markets. The release of production capacity also brings more good products to consumers in those lower tier markets.


Promotions for factories and farms on Jingxi


It is no wonder then, major players like DiDi (yes, DiDi the transportation company),  Meituan (the food and everything else delivery company) and Cainiao (the powerful logistics company under Alibaba) have all jumped into the arena with huge resources behind. Partially thanks to the pandemic, consumers with a mobile on hand in China can expect to have even better prices and services from the social commerce players near them – everywhere, basically. 


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