COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been dominating news headlines in China and around the world. For brands, there are two significant questions: how to respond, if at all, during the crisis. And, looking ahead, what changes in consumer behavior to anticipate as a result of a prolonged lockdown. A look back at the events of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 offers food for thought.
That fateful year could be marked as the year of ecommerce’s emergence in mainland China, when the crisis provided an unexpected turning point for faster ecommerce adoption. Many tech veterans remember how the severe outbreak forced the citizens of China to be stuck indoors, threatening the future of JD.com (then still called Jingdong, a brick-and-mortar shop which sold hard disk drives and electronics in Beijing).
Recognizing this as an opportunity to pivot the business, CEO Richard Liu revamped his physical storefront into an ecommerce model within a year. The country's long confinement in 2003 also boosted Alibaba, then resembling more a business-to-business directory. Spurred by then-CEO Jack Ma, the core team brainstormed a new idea that would eventually evolve into Taobao, the company’s business-to-consumer ecommerce powerhouse.
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The article is published by WARC, a sister company of Edge by Ascential. WARC provides the latest evidence, expertise and guidance to make marketers more effective. (WARC.com)