Technology in focus at retail industry event

Ding Yining
Advances in data and information infrastructure are seen as key to driving growth in profitability and efficiency across the consumer sector.
Ding Yining

Information infrastructure and the convergence of online and offline offerings were major themes at a retail industry forum held on Thursday in Shanghai.

President of the China Chain Store and Franchise Association Pei Liang said that retailers are becoming aware that continued technological innovation has bolstered new business growth and enhanced key metrics such as profitability and operation efficiency.

“At the same time, service will remain an indispensable part of retailing to create value for customers when merchandise is becoming accessible from various channels,” he said at the China International Retail Innovation Summit. 

General manager Qiu Yuwei at Bailian Omni-Channel E-commerce Co said the company formed a technology platform in 2017 to support various retail outlets and business formats, and also hopes to fuel its innovative businesses in the coming years.

"A unified platform would allow different business groups to deliver synergies when carrying out marketing campaigns and promotion activities," he noted. 

Tencent vice president Lin Jinhua said that turning consumer data into  business assets for retailers has been a major challenge for sellers. 

The gaming and social networking giant has been using its popular social networking tool WeChat to gather consumer data and is also leveraging third-party service providers' data capabilities to fuel business decisions for retailers such as Yonghui and Walmart.

Bailian's Qiu said that building up its own technology platform also offers an opportunity to trial new offerings on a small scale with relatively low cost, so that new business models can keep up with the fast-changing market landscape.

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