Luxury brands want to embrace China’s e-commerce scene, but battle the constant challenges inherent to it. Brands have to assuage consumers’ fears of online counterfeits and struggle to deliver a shopping experience as authentic as that of a physical store. Convincing Chinese consumers that the online experience is just as good—if not better—than brick and mortar can certainly be tricky for luxury brands.
This week’s episode of Thoughtful China includes Glamour Sales China CEO Thibault Villet, Observer Solutions Founder Julia Zhu, KPMG International Principal for Business Development Anson Bailey, Clarins Asia-Pacific Head of Digital and E-commerce Julien Chiavassa, and Razorfish Senior Vice President Alexandre Misseri.
Trust remains a big barrier for luxury brands trying to operate digitally in China. “The ecosystem in China has been allowing those [counterfeits] to be sold online,” says Villet. Other issues include consumer awareness of price discrepancies between local and overseas stores, both physical and online.
Despite these challenges, Zhu believes that brands should act fast before more brands enter to saturate the market. “If you wait for infrastructure to reach optimal levels, it will be too late,” says Zhu. “By entering now, you gain necessary experience as the market matures.”