Going to China is fascinating, as it feels like going into the future and the past at the same time. One moment this gentleman rides past me, appearing from a world many years ago, and next you see a spotless subway, high end retailers or a technology we don’t yet have in the west. Twenty years ago, marketing in China was lightyears behind the west, however with the current generation we are seeing huge advancements in china branding.
Universal payment apps
I was doing some workshops in China and my client says “let’s order lunch.” She opens her wechat (equal to Facebook) and it lists all the takeout options in the vicinity, she orders lunch from one and tea from another and pays. Done. All without leaving wechat. The two main payment apps are weepy and Alipay which is owned by Alibaba.
Ten minutes later, the delivery guy (photo evidence below) walks through the office and delivers it to the boardroom we are in, at the back of the office, tracking the gps location of the phone that ordered. China is a great way to see our future in 5 or 10 years. Yes, we have preloaded visa on our fav pizza sites. Sure we have payment apps for specific places like Starbucks. But not a universal payment app through our favourite social media. The same app pays for taxis, clothing or groceries. Anything.
Given our fears over Facebook’s privacy issues, when can we expect to order a hamburger and ice tea through a social media app? We might need senate hearings on whether FB can deliver pizzas.
How comfortable are you with the delivery guy delivering it right to your phone, wherever you are.
These payment apps are starting to feel like Neo from the matrix, knowing exactly where you are sitting.
Does the future excite you or scare you?
Hema by Alibaba is the most innovative grocery store is in China
I had a chance to visit a Hema store in China, which is Alibaba “new retail” intended to be the perfect blend of offline and online. It puts the consumer in the drivers seat to shop how they want.
For every item in this Alibaba store, hold your phone to the QR code, and learn about the product. So much potential to bring your brand to life with technology.
What’s holding you back? You can online, go pick it up or get it delivered within 30 mins. Or Shop on person, and get it delivered. Third, as shown here: pick out the seafood yourself, hand it over, get it cooked by a chef and enjoy it with your family. This concept felt similar to Marche in Switzerland or a few degrees beyond what Whole Foods does with cooked options.
This could be a good move for a store in the west to take on.
Below is a video by Alibaba about their view on “New Retail.” This will give you a feel for the smart and creative areas where retail can go.
Anyone seeing other interest blends of technology and in person shopping?
High speed trains in China
I took a high speed bullet train, going 300km/hour, as fast as prop planes but no “plane travel crap” we all put up with. You just get on the train and sit in your seat. Business class seats, recline the whole way, for only $100 US.
Imagine going from New York City to Boston in 90 minutes or LA to San Francisco in 2 hours. No taxi cabs, hour long pre-boarding.
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