Frederic Henriques




Much has been written about the move online by Chinese consumers and the country’s explosive growth in ecommerce. Less well understood is how Chinese shoppers use the internet—and how their buying experience differs from that of consumers in other markets.

In the West, ecommerce originally emerged as a more efficient way to shop. Today, consumers still go online to shop because it is often easier, faster, and more convenient than going to a store. Many ecommerce players optimize their platforms for efficiency by building search functions, payment features, and delivery capabilities. They want customers to shop frequently and quickly.

In contrast, ecommerce in China has been about providing a richer alternative to traditional shopping. Consumers like to spend time in a discovery-driven online world of energetic chaos where shopping is an adventure. Ecommerce players optimize their platforms for customer engagement, blurring the lines between entertainment and ecommerce as well as between online and offline commerce. Shopping is a social experience, not a solitary one. The Chinese consumer’s unique path from prepurchase to purchase holds valuable lessons for retailers in the West.

Client: Alibaba Group

Direction: Huey Fern Tay
Camera & Editing: Frederic Henriques
Agency: Weber Shandwick