Tag Archives: e-commerce

TED Talk: China and the Future of Shopping

We all know that technology has changed the shopping experience. Instead of going into brick-and-mortar stores, or in addition to going into brick-and-mortar stores, shoppers now turn to PCs and mobile devices. Not only that, technology has changed our shopping behavior even when we are IN a store. This is true world-wide, but the future of shopping is here today in China.

In this TED Talks video, Angela Wang, a retail expert with firm BCG, explores the broad range of shopping services available online in China. In China, everything takes place on smart phones; 500 million Chinese consumers regularly use their mobile devices for purchasing goods and services. Think about that number – 500 million people. As Wang states, that is the combined population of the U.S., U.K, and Germany! And, all this has happened in only the last five years.

China’s technology firms are also powerhouses. Alibaba and Tencent own 90% of China’s e-commerce market, 85% of its social media, 85% of its Internet payments, along with diverse digital content, video, movies, literature, gaming and more.

Key trends that Wang sees in China shopping patterns are a growth in spontaneity, co-creation of products, ultra-convenience, and social shopping. Using WeChat, the mobile shopping journey in China far surpasses the U.S.

Marketers can learn a lot of lessons from this informative talk.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss with students that while the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process is problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior. Is this still the correct model?
  2. Discuss the changes that the students have made in their own shopping behavior. How do they use mobile devices to shop? Map the journey on the board.
  3. Show the TED Talk video. Make sure students pay attention to the end of the talk when the shopping journey is explained (9:00 minute mark): https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_wang_how_china_is_changing_the_future_of_shopping/transcript
  4. How does the Chinese shopping journey compare to the traditional U.S. consumer model?
  5. For a product, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps in the traditional model. Then have them work out the steps of the Chinese model.
  6. Debrief the exercise.

Source: TED Talks

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Personalized Packaging for Oreos


Still looking for a unique gift this holiday season? Well, everyone likes to have a gift that is personalized just for them, so it might be worthwhile to consider a package of Oreo cookies that are personalized just for that special someone in your life.

The holiday campaign invites Oreo fans to customize the packaging of the cookies, adding color, graphics, and the recipient’s name. The bright packs showcase exclusive illustrated designs from well-known graphic artists. The customer begins by choosing from a menu of different designs that includes snowmen, penguins, partridges, and more. Then, artist’s design colors can be selected, or the buyer can manually color each image with a digital paint brush. For a final touch, accessories such as scarves and antlers and custom messages complete each package.

While not as cheap as the Oreo cookies that can bought in the store, the custom packages are a way for the company to grow its e-commerce revenue and spread some special holiday cheer.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss a mass customization approach for manufacturing and marketing. Ask students for their examples of this strategy.
  2. Show the Oreo custom Web site: https://shop.oreo.com/
  3. Poll students: What are other applications for personalization of products?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product and develop a custom package approach.
  5. How could this be deployed?

Source: Brandchannel.com

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Mobile Shopping – Bringing the Store to the Streets


‘Mobile’ shopping is big – but ‘mobile’ means more than just the e-commerce shopping done on smart phones. In this case, ‘mobile’ means shopping from customized boutique trucks. Consumers are familiar with food trucks; most urban areas have at least a few trucks selling their menus on the streets. However, consumers are less likely to be familiar with mobile retail boutiques.

Over the past decade, entrepreneurs have looked for new and less expensive ways of doing business, whether it’s an online business, subscription model, or brick-and-mortar format. While retail stores can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to start, the costs for starting a truck-based business are much less. According to the Mobile Retail Association, average start-up costs range from $20,000 to $30,000, with monthly costs around $2,000 to $3,000.

Food trucks were one of the first mobile models of business, starting with Los Angeles chef Roy Choi’s taco trucks. Food trucks created a gathering place for consumers and have naturally expanded into different types of merchandise such as fashion, clothing, flowers, and more. Add lower operating costs, the freedom of the road, and it’s a recipe for success.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of opening a mobile store.
  2. Show several mobile stores at these Web sites:







  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a different type of mobile business.
  2. For each mobile business, have students determine the target market and marketing mix for the truck.
  3. Debrief the exercise. Which mobile business will do the best? Why?

Source: New York Times

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