(Yicai Global) Feb. 20 -- Sales staff in China's conventional sectors have had to become online marketers to push products via live broadcasts as the number of customers in physical stores plummets over coronavirus fears.
"Before the epidemic, some 75 percent of our sales came from physical channels, with the other 25 percent from online ones being only a complement to these," said Sun Laichun, founder of cosmetic chain retailer Forest Cabin. "The Spring Festival season is a golden sales period for physical cosmetics stores, but our offline sales (during the period this year) are not even 5 percent of those of the same time in a normal year from the impact of the epidemic."
To save itself, the beauty brand has detailed several hundred of its shop assistants to start pitching products via live broadcasts early this month and sales have staged a rebound ever since. "As of Feb. 19, our sales have been more than the same period last year," Sun said. The company's survival will be a sure bet as long as sales this month and next stay at or above those of the same time last year.
The cosmetics brand will enshrine live-streams as a routine means to lure customers from now on, Sun said. "We will not cut the number of new stores planned for this year, but will more greatly prefer digital outlets," he added.
Retail is not the only business wiring up to overcome the novel challenges posed by Covid-19. China's realty sector has also turned to e-marketing to make headway against the blast of the epidemic. Jointly introduced by Alibaba Group Holding's Paimai platform and Taobao Live, Yunfangwang, their service for selling property online, for which some 5,000 property agents in 500 real estate projects have signed up, covers nearly 100 Chinese cities and drew 2 million online visits between Feb. 11 and Feb. 17.
Alibaba will let all physical stores in China use its Taobao Live for free during the epidemic, the tech titan announced on Feb. 10. Live broadcasts have already risen on the e-commerce streaming platform by an annual more than twofold in consequence this month, and it also registered double annual growth in the number of live channels.
"The activities of many of conventional sectors, such as car sales, launch events and concerts, appeared in the live channel," Taobao Live staffer Jian Rou said.
Editor: Tang Shihua, Ben Armour