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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Alibaba taps user data to drive growth spurt

Earlier this month, it forecast annual revenues would increase 45 to 49%, besting analysts’ consensus estimates by 10 percentage points and adding $42.25bn to its value — almost an entire Barclays bank — the following day.

“Alibaba is evolving into a big data conglomerate,” enthused Jessie Guo, analyst at Jefferies.

Alibaba’s vertically and horizontally integrated services span shopping, movies, finance and logistics, all collecting information on people’s spending, location and viewing.

Once refined, the data are fed back to merchants, who in turn can better target their goods and sell more over Alibaba’s ecommerce platforms.

At the other end, data are routed back to merchants and, in turn, manufacturers, to tell them what items are in demand. Alibaba uses predictive data ahead of its mammoth annual Singles Day shopping frenzy to let merchants know where they should be warehousing goods the day before.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. A timeline of JD.com’s long march into luxury and fashion

JD.com, China’s second-largest ecommerce company, just announced to the public an ambitious plan to advance its position in the flourishing luxury and fashion industry through a $397 million deal with the global luxury e-tailer Farfetch.

In recent years, with the maturing of the fashion industry in China, and rival Alibaba aggressively entering the field with strategic deals with luxury powerhouses Louis Vuitton and Burberry, JD.com’s embrace of the fashion and luxury industries was maybe only a matter of time.

In February 2017, the company created a new online channel named “JD Fashion” which sells products from big-name brands like Armani, Swarovski and Zenith. In June 2017, the company launches its “white glove” delivery service that has men in tuxedos bringing customers their orders.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Visa: Thai people are using more e-payment options, less cash

A recent survey from Visa has shown that Thai people are gradually carrying less cash around, and adopting digital forms of payment as they are starting to see it as more convenient.

73% of respondents in the Visa survey has stated that they use different forms of e-payment. This covers credit cards, debit cards and mobile payments.

It was found that millennials were the group most likely to use online payments (83%), and 60% of them said that carrying around too much cash is not safe.

Visa’s PayWave contactless payment is filling this interest, and users can tap their device at supermarkets and restaurants nationwide.

Read the rest of the story here

 

In the world of luxury clothing brands, there are two that stand out: Burberry and Hermès. Both brands enjoy a longstanding history within the fashion world, but they differ greatly in ecommerce offerings, according to econsultancy.

Burberry is a brand that gets it right. The brand offers a digital experience that perfectly aligns with its design; creating a sleek and modern feel to the website. The bold visuals are integrated with interactive elements that easily captures the attention of an online browser. Here’s what Burberry did right and how Hermès can improve:

1. Compelling visual design

Burberry succeeds at creating innovative product pages that sets it apart from competitors. Product images are shot on a consistent backdrop, with elements of the products in clear view. This function makes it possible to see small details without zooming in.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermes

Burberry offers detailed product info without the clutter. Source: econsultancy

One unique feature that Burberry manages to utilize is the use of larger image tiles, which elevates the visual experience. supplementary product details are sectioned off so consumers can quickly find the information they are looking for.

Burberry also reduces the footprint of any product recommendation display and aligns it off center to not distract from the main product while still offering the option.

2. Consistent brand experience offline and online

Burberry manages to provide consumers with a platform that tells an engaging, interactive story about the brand. They infuse content and commerce to create an online experience similar to visiting a physical store.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermès

The ‘acoustic’ section adds an element of personalization and offers an engaging visual story. Source: econsultancy

The website has an ‘acoustic’ section where up and coming musicians perform in natural environments while dressed in Burberry clothing, without any feelings of ‘hard sell’.

3. Easy-to-navigate website 

Brands often feature an extensive product line-up, so categorizing each product can be challenging. This can make it difficult for consumers to navigate through the website without a good UX design.

Burberry succeeds at providing online shoppers with a simplified site. The search bar on the left hand side of the site is very easy to navigate and organizes products by category/collection.

Hermès, however, provides a slightly different online experience.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermes

The homepage instantly calls for a divide between store and commerce experience. Source: econsultancy

Hermès makes a stark divide between online and offline, forcing shoppers to pick instead of allowing them to soak in the entire brand experience.

4. Creativity is balanced with functionality

Hermès is a brand that goes far in differentiating their sites from competition, but it ends up being confusing. The homepage looks more like an art gallery than a brand store, with its hand drawn images and lack of product description.

ecommerce lessons from Burberry and Hermes

The product page lacks commerce functions. Source: econsultancy

5. Robust product pages

There is a lack of information in Hermès’ product pages. Product descriptions consist of a few words such as ” Printed Beach Towel”. Images are presented on sketches and not on models, which doesn’t translate well for commerce.

It could be said that this approach may resonate with the Hermès’ loyal customers, but will fail to engage the brand with new customers in an increasingly competitive digital commerce landscape. However, another way to look at this is to recognize that Hermès is an exclusive high-end luxury brand that promotes the ‘waiting list’ culture or in-store browsing experience. The brand expects its customers to understand its vision, which is why it fails to adopt traditional ‘boring’ product pages or craft an interactive story on the homepage.

A version of this appeared in econsultancy on July 6. Read the full version here.