JD Watch made its official introduction to the watch industry a year ago as main sponsor of the GMT cocktail during the SIHH ; what have the major steps been since then ?
We continuously partner with more new brands, with Oris and Carl F. Bucherer having recently opened flagship stores on JD. Brands always rely on us because of our commitment to product authenticity and protecting their brand images. In October, we signed a strategic partnership with international watch retailer Xinyu Group, aiming to provide better integrated shopping experiences designed for our over 300 million customers. We have also strengthened our cooperation with our existing partners. This year in Basel, TAG Heuer launched its Explore the Moon special edition on JD.com, in cooperation with the China National Space Administration. A year into its successful partnership with JD, Chopard’s exclusive concept store, whose launch last August marked the brand’s e-commerce debut in China, has now become an official flagship store. We will continue to leverage our resources in e-commerce, marketing and logistics to help brands build greater awareness in China. We have expanded our presence in Europe, including an office in Paris, through which we are deepening our partnerships with brands and working with them on their China strategy.
Have you seen an evolution of the demand in 2018 ?
Younger customers are fast becoming watch users, which has a huge impact on the industry. At the same time, they are leading more active lifestyles, which has led to a surge of leisure sports and activities and sales of more functional and smart watches, including new models from TAG Heuer. We are beginning to see that women increasingly want to feel empowered by their watches, to look more professional. Chinese watch buyers are also very experiential ; they like it when their purchases come packaged with additional flair, such as in special gift boxes or with a bonus, delivered by our white glove delivery service, JD Luxury Express. There has been a trend for middle and upper middle-class consumers to buy luxury products within China, rather than abroad, as JD’s new luxury online experiences offer competitive – and in some ways, better – service.
How important is the technology to assist JD Watch ?
Just as with all JD departments, technology is at the core of what we do. Our proprietary technology and in-house smart logistics network allow brands to better anticipate sales, and enable us to delivery watches on the same or next day, with luxury packaging and delivery. We already use AR/VR (Editor’s note : augmented reality/virtual reality) in our business, especially for fashion, and we see opportunities to apply it to watches. We already have an AR Glasses Try-on feature, for example, which lets shoppers virtually try glasses on to see if they suit their faces. Earlier this year, we launched a new AR/VR makeup feature named AR Styling Station, with over 100 brands on its platform. It allows consumers to virtually “try on” products including lipstick, blush, colored contact lenses and eyebrow pencils.