China Focus: Chinese enterprises embrace livestream e-commerce amid epidemic

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-27 15:21:51|Editor: huaxia

HANGZHOU, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Sun Laichun, founder of the domestic skincare brand Forest Cabin, describes the past few weeks as the "darkest hours" for the company as its offline sales volume during the Spring Festival holiday was only about 5 percent of the same period last year.

The skincare brand has more than 300 offline stores across China, generating about 75 percent of the company's total annual turnover.

"The sales enter the peak season during the Spring Festival holiday. But the novel coronavirus epidemic hit us all of a sudden this year," said Sun. "In late January, the company's cash flow may only last for one or two months."

In an effort to cushion the impact of the virus outbreak, Sun pinned his hope on livestream e-commerce to engage consumers.

On Feb. 1, over 2,000 employees of the company started to work online. Nearly 500 shopping assistants turned into livestream hosts to sell products at various livestream and e-commerce platforms.

"In fact, we began online sales two years ago but didn't pay much attention to it," said Sun. "The online customers we have attracted over the past two years bring us a business opportunity to survive this hard time."

In the first half of February, the sales revenue jumped by 45 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Forest Cabin.

Apart from traditional retail trade, catering, education training, real estate and other sectors are all leveraging livestreaming to expand the online market and open new growth frontiers during the special period.

According to statistics from Taobao Live, the livestreaming unit of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba, since February, the number of live streaming rooms on the new sales channel has doubled year on year, and the number of livestreaming sessions has also increased 110 percent year on year.

On Feb. 10, Taobao also launched a livestreaming project for offline retail stores to power their e-commerce businesses.

Jiang Xinjie, assistant president of Intime Retail (Group) Co., Ltd., a famous department store chain in China, said over 2,000 shopping assistant teams of the company will start livestreaming this year to improve its online marketing capability.

"Livestream e-commerce is not only a choice for traditional shopping malls to deal with emergencies but a way to upgrade their sales model," said Jiang.