Cross-border e-commerce platform NetEase Kaola plans to open 15 new brick-and-mortar stores during 2019 in a bid to keep up with the new retail boom in China.
The company made the announcement at the opening ceremony of its flagship offline store in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. The store’s opening marks a continuation of NetEase’s plans to tap the ongoing new retail boom, which aims to connect the online and offline worlds.
Netease Kaola CEO Zhang Lei said the company will strengthen its offline expansion during the year to create more interactive shopping experiences.
Online versus offline was an “either-or” retail equation not long ago. The popularity of new retail is creating a more favorable third option that combines both in-shop and online experiences. All major Chinese tech giants including Alibaba, Tencent, JD, Xiaomi, and Meituan have made similar moves.
The newly launched shop selected over 3,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) based on big data analysis of consumer preferences and behavior. The SKUs covers a variety of categories including cosmetics, maternal care, and child products, luxury products, electronics, and sportswear, among others.
The store will feature interactive screens, which allow for browsing products and viewing popular items, and testing areas for cosmetics. The company hopes the feature will decrease customers’ decision-making times.
Last year, NetEase Kaola, which targets white-collar consumers, opened two offline shops in Hangzhou and Zhengzhou, the capital of the central Henan province. Similarly, NetEase’s cost-conscious e-commerce site Yanxuan, also opened offline stores last year. NetEase partnered with CenturyMart in 2017 to make its products available to the supermarket chain’s Jingxuan Store, a rival to Alibaba’s Hema grocery store chain.