Exclusive meeting with David Lloyd from the Alibaba Group
13. april 2021
Wednesday 14. April David Lloyd from the Alibaba Group was among the prominent guests in the virtual VL Studio and Fireside Chat.
The worldwide e-commerce success is a competitor to American Amazon, and the two giants are fiercely fighting for first place as the leader of the global e-commerce market.
David Lloyd is General Manager of Alibaba in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and the Nordic region and is responsible for the development of the Alipay payment service in Europe.
He has an amazing knowledge of the global retail and tech industry and prior to joining Alibaba in 2016, he worked with Google for ten years.
We are happy to bring this exclusive interview with David Lloyd as an introduction the virtual session: Digital Resilience.
What does the concept ‘Digital Resilience’ mean to you and Alibaba?
-Digital resilience is simply the way a business prepares and adapts to the evolving online environment. Over the past year, thanks to the pandemic, many were forced to accelerate the digitalisation of their entire business. It has tested the resilience of many. These unusual times have further focused my mind on the long term, on fulfilling our mission in ‘making it easy to do business anywhere’. In response to the events of 2020, Alibaba mobilized its entire digital infrastructure to support the economic recovery of businesses across a wide range of sectors to ensure it continues to create true value for customers.
Consumers around the world – are we more alike today? The needs, the speed, the demands – what are the most important consumer trends to watch?
As China is the fastest market to recover from the pandemic, I believe there are some lessons we can take from its recovery. There are three key things I have observed in China.
Firstly, the pandemic has created pent-up demand, leading to a trend that some refer to as ‘revenge buying’. As Chinese consumers came out of lockdown, retailers benefited from this pent-up demand. Luxury
Covid-19 moved nearly all consumers online and this trend is here to stay. The store will still play a very important role in the customer experience, but retailers need to bring the very best of online to offline, and vice versa. We have seen an increased use of augmented reality to create gamified experiences. For example, IKEA’s flagship store on Tmall is integrated with IKEA’s membership program and offers virtual 3D furniture-filled showrooms.
French brand Hermes reported its flagship store in China generated $2.7million of sales in one day as shoppers splurged post lockdown.
-The second is how consumers are shopping. Covid-19 moved nearly all consumers online and this trend is here to stay. The store will still play a very important role in the customer experience, but retailers need to bring the very best of online to offline, and vice versa. We have seen an increased use of augmented reality to create gamified experiences. For example, IKEA’s flagship store on Tmall is integrated with IKEA’s membership program and offers virtual 3D furniture-filled showrooms.
-Finally, I have observed what Chinese consumers are shopping for. Sectors like groceries, health, wellness and beauty all experienced a boom during lockdown in China and the data shows us that this is continuing post-lockdown.
Alibaba has earlier been appointed as one of the World’s most admired companies by Fortune Magazine. What does it mean to be on that popularity-list?
-We are driven by our mission of ‘making it easy to do business anywhere’ and this award means so much, as it tells us that people recognize what we are doing and agree that it’s important.
Could you give one or two tips for Danish businesses on their digital journey?
-A digital strategy needs to run throughout your business – it cannot sit in isolation. Consumers are becoming increasingly digitally savvy and the distinction between online and offline is blurring. Brand should focus on creating seamless experiences and bringing the best of online to offline and vice versa.
-An interesting shift we have seen over the past few years is that Chinese consumers increasingly want more from their shopping experience. They come to Alibaba’s platforms for much more than a product. They are looking for a rich, engaging and entertaining experience – this trend is known as ‘shoppertainment’. Shopping in China is more than just functional, it’s a pastime, and brands need to find ways to entertain and delight their shoppers, turning them into fans.
-Businesses can access and connect with a global customer base, something that even just a few decades ago was unimaginable. All businesses must start to think about the digital journey in order to be able to compete and attract new customers.