Everyone wants a slice of the Chinese market - be it in China or through Chinese customers outside their home country as Chinese consumers are still spending, despite the slowing economy and an ongoing trade war with the United States. Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés - the largest one in Europe and third largest in the world - knows this, given that about 150,000 visitors from China find their way into one of close to 100 locations in Spain and Portugal every year.
These are not only an increasing number of leisure or business travelers from China - thanks to more direct flights from China to destinations in Spain - but also Chinese expats working or studying in Spain. The department store chain has been doing everything in their power to make the shopping experience as pleasant and efficient for Chinese customers as possible - from finding the desired product and completing the tax free process in store to being helped by a salesperson who speaks Chinese and being able to pay through known providers like Alipay, as Javier Fernández Andrino, El Corte Inglés’ director of international marketing & luxury strategy, revealed in a recent interview with Jing Daily.
Now, the Spanish department store giant is planning to push its internationalisation ahead with a move into the Chinese market through a partnership with Secoo, one of China’s biggest marketplaces representing 15 percent of the luxury market, as reported by MDS. Luxury brands like Prada, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu are also selling their products through the marketplace.
El Corte Ingles has entered into an agreement with Secoo to sell its children’s and infant fashion brands Tizzas, Brotes and Cotton Juice through the platform in China, keeping the possibility open of adding other brands to it in the future.
At the end of last year, the Spanish department store chain had announced a deal with Alibaba to sell its products through platforms like Tmall and AliExpress, showing its seriousness to enter the Chineses market. "We are looking forward to joining forces with them to provide consumers in China and worldwide with the greatest products and experience," commented Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio, the Alibaba Group's managing director for Spain, at the time.
In addition, being active on social media and engaging Chinese consumers there is crucial. “We know Chinese digital and social media is booming and we leverage two main Chinese social media platforms to keep communicating with Chinese shopping lovers: Weibo and WeChat. There are two ways to encourage Chinese consumers to share about El Corte Inglés: One, through high-quality content. In the weekly content we push out, we focus on content quality and feature current fashion trends and inspirational topics with charming imagery. The goal is for the viewer to want to share this social content with their friends,” added Fernández Andrino.
Photo courtesy of El Corte Inglés