Macy's is going to China — digitally speaking — with the 2017 launch of a Chinese eCommerce portal in the largest eCommerce market in the world.
Macy's announced the planned move last week at an event in Shanghai. Currently, the American department store chain's main Chinese digital representation is a storefront on Tmall Global, a web shopping site for imported products operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Macy's launched on Tmall last November.
Macy's had not disclosed specific sales or revenues numbers out of Tmall Global, but clearly, the experience has been positive as Macy's is touting the approximately 300,000 consumers that have taken advantage of the social media-like features of Tmall Global to follow Macy’s so they can learn about new products and other information.
Alibaba further confirmed that Macy’s has become one of the most popular sellers on Tmall Global, where Macy's is the brand behind the other brands — notably, Kipling, Anne Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Fossil.
Apart from offering desirable merchandise, Macy's is increasingly connecting with young Chinese shoppers through online shows. A show during New York Fashion Week attracted about 100,000 Chinese viewers and netted about 150 million posts to Chinese social network Weibo.
Macy's is already a popular shopping destination for Chinese tourists in the United States, though Dustin Jones, Macy's managing director for China, notes the customers in the two nations are very different and have rather distinct needs.
“Chinese consumers want to know many details, while U.S consumers only want to check out quickly,” Jones said. “We are still learning in China, and we will speed up our expansion next year.”
Macy's, as of yet, has released no plans to open a physical store in China, though many analysts have noted that might well be the endgame given other structural challenges in penetrating the Chinese consumer market en masse.