How Did Alibaba Help Retailer Lin Qingxuan Cope with the Coronavirus Outbreak?
What Is Lin Qingxuan?
Established in 2003 in Shanghai, Lin Qingxuan is an innovative cosmetics company that adopts traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practices. Since its establishment in 2003, Lin Qingxuan is committed to making safe natural cosmetics using traditional Chinese herbs as raw materials. It now has more than 300 retail stores and more than 2,000 employees.
Challenges for Lin Qingxuan
The recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak severely affected businesses globally, particularly SMEs, and Lin Qingxuan was no exception. With decreasing demands from customers, the hospitality, tourism, entertainment, retail, logistics, transportation, and manufacturing industries have all been hit hard. On January 31st, Sun Laichun, the founder of Lin Qingxuan did something unexpected; he wrote a letter to his employees, calling for help. Why is that so?
Previously, during the Chinese New Year shopping season, Lin Qingxuan was able to attract customers to its retail stores and sales could easily reach one million. But with strict travel restrictions and limited supplies, half of Lin Qingxuan’s retail stores had to be closed indefinitely while those that remained open were barely receiving any customers. Just from COVID-19 alone, the sales plummeted by 90%.
How Did Alibaba Cloud Help Lin Qingxuan Innovate Better Solutions?
The first thing that the team at Lin Qingxuan did was to reach out to the team at DingTalk. Sun Laichun received the support from DingTalk’s CEO, Wu Zhao, and Xie Yuan, saying that they would help the company with anything related to DingTalk.
By using DingTalk plus Taobao, Lin Qingxuan started sending coupons while live streaming on Taobao to engage with customers. This strategy worked — business started coming back to life. Lin Qingxuan’s shopping advisors began providing personalized customer service and engagement using DingTalk and customers would check their orders directly using the Taobao app.
This solution was not only beneficial for the business but also for the customers. By using dedicated channels, customers are no longer disturbed and overwhelmed with irrelevant sales campaigns and naturally, relationships and loyalty started to develop. Even though customers did not physically enter the retail stores, they are still fully connected with shopping advisors at the comfort of their homes.
Fully Embracing Digital Transformation
Over the last three years, Lin Qingxuan has accumulated more than six million online followers, thanks to its O2O and new retail initiatives. With the survival for the company at stake, Sun Laichun decided to give everything he’s got.
On the eve of February 14th, Lin Qingxuan launched a large-scale live stream shopping event with more than a hundred of Lin Qingxuan’s shopping advisors. More than 60,000 people watched the live stream and they sold more than 400,000 bottles of the camellia oil. The results were simply amazing. The sales from one shopping advisor in two hours ended up equaling that of four retail stores. This further cemented Sun Laichun’s direction to devote resources to digital channels and develop its shopping advisors into online influencers.
Fighting against Coronavirus with Technology
During a live broadcast on February 16th, Sun Laichun summed up his company’s “comeback” by sharing his personal experience from the last three weeks.
“I have been operating in a traditional retail environment while eyeing opportunities for digital transformation. Suddenly, the old environment is no longer viable due to the coronavirus outbreak. We had no choice, and we had to take the new digital path. So, we went all in. And now, we’ve realized that we can do business in this new digital path.”
For Sun Laichun, who also went through the SARS epidemic, he is even more confident this time around. At the same time, the number of SMEs similar to Lin Qingxuan using Taobao’s live streaming service has increased by 50%. In the digital transformation era, going digital is no longer an option for enterprises, but a necessity.
It should be said that with the help of digital transformation, Lin Qingxuan wouldn’t be the first nor the last company to achieve business growth in this “darkest moment.” Under this epidemic, Lin Qingxuan is giving many enterprises the confidence to weather the storm. But in order to achieve digital transformation, it must be a priority and it requires hard work and commitment.
If Sun Laichun did not go “All In” on a digital transformation strategy, there won’t be shopping advisors selling online during the epidemic. This epidemic should push more traditional companies to accelerate their digital transformation journey. The SARS in 2003 pushed the e-commerce industry to blossom for more than a decade. And this time, how will this epidemic transform shopping for the next decade?
While continuing to wage war against the worldwide outbreak, Alibaba Cloud will play its part and will do all it can to help others in their battles with the coronavirus. Learn how we can support your business continuity at https://www.alibabacloud.com/campaign/supports-your-business-anytime