Customers have become accustomed to the levels of personalisation they are being offered through D2C channels and will keep coming back to brands that can provide it whilst demonstrating a unique value proposition.Ochama bringing New Retail to Europe?On 10th January, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com announced that it had opened two new bricks and mortar retail stores in the Netherlands: one in Leiden, and one in Rotterdam.
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The stores, opened under the brand name Ochama, introduce what JD.com has described as “an unprecedented shopping format”, which merges “online ordering and pick-up shops in which robots prepare the parcels, and home delivery service”. Not only is Ochama significant for being JD.com’s first physical store outside of Asia, it may also be the first instance of the concept of ‘New Retail’ in Europe.
New Retail is a term coined by Alibaba’s Jack Ma in 2017 to describe his vision of the future of shopping: the integration of online and offline, along with logistics and data, into a single value chain. Alibaba Group President Michael Evans said in 2019 that “Consumers don’t think about the world [as] online versus offline – neither should brands and retailers.” Alibaba’s vision for New Retail is best embodied by its Hema Xiansheng (known outside China as Freshippo) grocery stores, which blend experiential with digital, allowing consumers to browse and sample fresh produce that they can learn more about on their smartphones, with orders placed via a dedicated app.