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  • Amber Ran BI

How Will Stores Prepare To Reopen In A Post-Virus China?


As new COVID-19 infections cease, and life starts returning to normal, reopening businesses has become the top priority in China. After staying home for more than two months, consumers are itching to return to marketplaces and rediscover the shopping and entertainment they’ve sorely missed.

According to the country’s official data, commercial centers in many cities across the nation have resumed over 50 percent of their operations. In Shanghai, the largest commercial hub in China, over 70 percent of day-to-day businesses have reopened, including shopping malls, restaurants, and luxury outlets. In Chongqing, one of the biggest cities in southwest China, almost all of the shopping centers have resumed business, and customer flow in those spaces has consistently exceeded half their normal amounts, as per the local commerce commission.

As the country’s spending-starved consumers return to their usual consumption tendencies — if not the much-hoped-for “revenge spending” binges — its shopping malls face the challenges of getting out of a recession and setting up new business plans to deal with the havoc COVID-19 is creating overseas.

Go virtual, go social

The worst has passed in China, and the urge to shop there is returning. But, in the meantime, stores have had to completely restructure how they market and sell their products because of the pandemic.

As opposed to just reopening their physical stores, many commercial centers hope to boost consumption by creating new forms of shopping like online livestreaming sales, KOC virtual “try-on” videos, and virtual reality (VR) shopping. Even in the country with the world’s most advanced e-commerce systems, plenty of stores had to quickly adjust their ideas about e-commerce in order to stay afloat during China’s battle against the coronavirus.

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