"If the apparel business is not involved in e-commerce, it will soon be eliminated by the market." In the face of e-commerce, which has become very popular in recent years, many people send such a feeling. However, Lin Li is quite disagree with this argument.
As Li Ning (China) Co., Ltd. e-commerce director, Lin Li heart very clearly that in China, e-commerce business accounts for only about 1% of business. "That kind of argument is a bit extreme, such as offline will be replaced online, not online business, how will the clothing company in the long run, online business and offline business development trend must be a fusion: you have I, I have you, not replace each other. "When I said these words, the telephone interview Lin Lirui voice is very calm.
However, Lin did not turn a blind eye to the "menacing" e-commerce tide, because she knew that from the business development trend of traditional garment enterprises, the proportion of e-commerce will be more and more, "Do not do e-commerce today It may affect only 1% of the business, the future impact will be 5% or more. " "Participating in e-commerce is definitely a plus for apparel companies and will produce 1 plus 1 greater than 2 results." Lin said.
In April 2008, Li Ning opened its first online flagship store in Taobao. One year later, its monthly income was 12 times that of the same period of last year.
The perfect e-commerce
In Lin Li's view, Li Ning into the e-commerce market is a matter of course. "When Li Ning has not yet entered the e-commerce market, a spontaneous online sales channel is already there." Lin Li recalls.
By the end of 2007, Taobao has more than 700 shops selling Li-Ning products. However, mushroomed "growth" out of the shop did not let Li Ning company excited, due to the lack of effective management, these online store sales are relatively disorder, and product quality can not be guaranteed. "At that time, the company considered it necessary to manage this channel and stop the chaos of online price war, which in some ways is also support for offline business," said Lin.
Since then, Li Ning company began quietly brewing test water e-commerce. However, Li Ning really contributed to the company's determination, but because it saw the company "the implementation of the natural advantages of e-commerce." Li Ning companies conduct some annual consumer research and brand awareness survey, the results found that the target consumer groups more than the age of 14-28 years old, and these people in their spare time to do the most thing thing is the Internet. In other words, Li Ning's target user group and Internet user group coincidence is very high.
"The Internet has become a part of their lives, whether after '80 or '90, and even if they are not currently our target audience, if we cultivate the awareness of these young people of our brand from now on, Big may Lianyin products more acceptable, more willing to buy. "Lin said.
Lin Li believes that from the perspective of cultivating future consumer groups and nurturing the future market, e-commerce will certainly be helpful for the development of the Company's business. In addition, 2008 coincides with the "Olympic Year", if it is possible to launch e-commerce before the Beijing Olympic Games, Li Ning will also allow companies to seize the "prime time" initiative. "At that time, we saw that C2C (Consumer), B2C (Business to Consumer) grew rapidly and the environment was very good. With the accompanying third-party payment, the logistics are getting mature. From the environment, To Li Ning spontaneous network channels, and then to Li Ning target user base and network users highly overlap, Li Ning from these three perspectives that was a good time to try e-commerce. "Lin Li told reporters.
In the fourth quarter of 2007, Li Ning decided to start e-commerce; in January 2008, Li Ning's e-commerce department was established; in June 2009, Li Ning's official online mall was launched. At this point, Li Ning's e-commerce trip officially began.
Solve the difficulties one by one
Although less than a few times when the gymnastics pride of "parallelism" 180 degrees upside down, but for the first test of Li Ning e-commerce, many difficulties and challenges before it is unpredictable.
In this regard, Lin Li and colleagues' experience is that only by doing so can we know what problems exist and solve them one by one.
The problems of organizational structure bear the brunt. "E-commerce whether the market department, sales department, or by the company directly to the top?" In the eyes of Lin Li, it is very important. If you belong to the marketing department, then the e-commerce brand meaning is greater than the commercial significance, it will more as a brand exists. If placed in the sales department, once the online sales and offline sales conflict, usually sacrificed new channels to preserve the old channels, after all, 99% of the business from the latter. This question quickly got the answer. Li Ning E-Commerce operates entirely in an independent manner and is directly led by the company's COO (Chief Operating Officer). Clearly, the high-level determination is to include e-commerce in the company's strategic deployment rather than short-term market or sales behavior, so that when problems are encountered, it is easier to coordinate the company's resources and to ensure that new things are born without infancy.
Second, the channel. "Everyone will ask, do you make the Internet, online and offline channels will conflict? Is there any contradiction ah? How to solve these problems?" Lin said, "These are the most asked, but Unavoidable problems. "
Li Ning's approach is to establish a price system, both online and offline. For channel operators and partners, the entire price system can be interconnected. At the contract level, when signing a contract with a channel merchant, it is expressly stated that an online channel merchant can not open a shop offline and an offline channel merchant can not open an online shop. Lin Li said that more online stores will be classified as the company's authorized management system to ensure that the management system under the company's retail shop to follow the retail price system to avoid price war in order to ensure the healthy development of the channel. It is understood that, from its inception to the present, Li Ning e-commerce has not received any complaints about the channel.
Third, logistics and customer service. "In August 2008, Li Ning had been shipped for five consecutive days, the site is almost paralyzed." Lillian described the days as "the worst period", "the first few orders, only a few dozen Single or a hundred single time, no problem, but gradually increased shipments, reaching hundreds of orders a day, our delivery system can not keep up. "
Li Ning's previous logistics system is B2B, and now are B2C, as a result, how to decompose the goods, how to ship, choose what kind of courier company, followed by a series of problems. Lin Li said that they start with the process, the configuration of IT equipment, and the reform of the warehouse and warehousing structure, a little bit better.
Another example customer service. Lin Li said with a smile, originally thought that the business should be a little bigger, the first only with a customer service staff. But the business unexpectedly hot, customer service staff soon enough. As a result, customer satisfaction decreased, and consumers complained one after another. "Quickly recruit people to find outsourcing call center, this problem gradually improved until the solution."
After getting rid of the difficulties one by one, Lin said she has shifted her time and energy from "fire fighting" to enhancing the customer experience. "It is not the poor customer experience but the better."
Work together to create a suitable IT platform
Do e-commerce, first of all need a platform.
In more than a year's actual operation, the problem of not being able to use the IT platform once made Lin Li "very painful and annoying." "With the company's previous platform, our experience is that some of the features are not perfect and some features are not developed, so we need some semi-manual semi-automatic means to solve the problem, but this will certainly reduce efficiency, but also appear A lot of problems. "Lin Li once complained," The existing system can not meet my requirements. "
Li Ning e-commerce emphasizes the B2C, and before the business model is based B2B, which means that work processes, financial processes, and even IT processes have to re-create. Li Ning and some IT companies began to engage in the final choice IBM WebSphereCommerce as the main system of its e-commerce back office.
In the entire project cooperation and implementation process, one thing makes Lin Li impressive. "The strengths of WebSphereCom-merce are mainly in the B2C section, which includes many customer experiences, while Li Ning's e-commerce has some personal needs, such as B2C, B2B, B2B2C (Enterprise to Business to Consumer). As the company's existing ERP system does not have e-commerce capabilities, direct integration of B2B and B2C is very difficult. "Lin Li said," IBM thoroughly through our entire needs developed in this platform, with a lot of B2B and management capabilities so that Our entire platform becomes a complete solution. "
Let IBM China Development Center, general manager of WebSphere Development Tongyu Ling unforgettable, how to find ways to meet the two conditions proposed by Li Ning: First, IT systems to be on demand and change; Second, the internal and external multiple systems Integration. In addition, IBM must also consider the unique experiences of Chinese customers. "The experience of Chinese users is certainly different from that of other countries. The scroll bars will not be seen in foreign websites, but China has some." Tong Yuling, who is directly involved in the project, said.
IBM leverages SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) to help Li-Ning e-commerce integrate systems and optimize the core processes that support back-end business, such as purchasing and logistics, and achieve various sales models for distribution, consignment and direct marketing support. Before the project went online, IBM completed the first round of integration with Li Ning's ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) system, SAP and logistics system.
June 1, 2009, Li Ning e-commerce IT platform on-time one, which gives Lin Li and her colleagues, "the biggest surprise," because in their experience, the previous similar projects will be postponed. "This gives us great confidence, the expectations of the second phase (Li Ning e-commerce) is also higher." Lin Li told reporters.
Use IT to string clothing e-commerce
If the clothing e-commerce supply chain, product manufacturing processes, logistics, data marketing, etc. are like pearls on the necklace, IT is undoubtedly the "string" them up the chain.
Obviously, for the traditional garment enterprises, e-commerce is a very good competitive method, which can encourage enterprises to make changes to internal systems and processes, help enterprises to grasp market trends in a timely manner and quickly respond to the needs of consumers. However, successful e-commerce aside from the front-end interface we have seen, there is a lot of back-end stuff that needs to be integrated. In addition, an e-commerce website needs to be continuously optimized in order to make a quick and timely response to the business. And to do that must be supported by a flexible IT platform.
Lin Li told reporters that traditional clothing companies do e-commerce, first of all need a suitable IT platform. Because real e-commerce is not just as simple as opening a store on the Internet, but also "stringing" the supply chain, product manufacturing processes, logistics and data marketing. And Li Ning put forward higher requirements: a single platform to support all its business models, whether it is B2C, B2B, B2B2C or even more complex. If you do not have the appropriate IT technology, want to meet Li Ning sounds like some harsh requirements probably only fantasy. It is precisely because of this well understood, Li Ning eventually choose IBM as a partner to build e-commerce platform before considering it again and again, cautious.
The web has brought endless possibilities to the apparel industry. The e-commerce dream of Li Ning who makes "everything is possible" still needs to start from IT.