Surmounting COVID-19: Chinese Department Stores and Shopping Malls' Approach to Operating in Uncharted Waters

Ms. Teresa Lam, Vice President, and Ms. Yvonne Mok, Senior Research Manager from Fung Business Intelligence gave a talk about their latest research on the impact of COVID-19 on China’s retail sector.

During the webinar, Teresa and Yvonne shared with HKGCC’s members from the Real Estate and Infrastructure Committee, and Retail and Tourism Committee the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on China’s department stores and shopping malls, and the responses of these retail enterprises. They discussed the online strategies, omni-channel initiatives and marketing tactics adopted by the major players and their effectiveness.

According to Teresa, to survive and prosper during this difficult time and gear up for the post COVID-19 era, the department store and shopping mall sector should pay attention to the following issues/ trends:

1. Tech-savvy players with well-developed omni-channel strategies, including e-commerce platforms, loyalty programs, partnership with on-demand delivery services providers and proficiency in using a variety of communications and marketing tactics are more likely to thrive.
2. The habit of online shopping will be solidified; but physical retail is here to stay. Physical retailers should explore intersections between online and offline to meet the needs of consumers.
3. Community malls came on the scene to provide goods and services to satisfy everyday needs of residents amid the epidemic outbreak. They will continue to make rapid strides.
4. There are imminent needs to improve property and corporate management. More funds should be invested for hygienic facilities upgrade in response to higher awareness on public health. Enterprises should also set up crisis management teams and develop business continuity plans.

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