Jan 11, 2021|

JD Eases Gift Procurement before Spring Festival


by Kelly Dawson

Ahead of Chinese New Year, many enterprises are beginning to prepare stock for a ramping up of gift purchases. For one Shanghai-based gift procurement company, working with JD.com has streamlined the process and significantly decreased stress and inefficiency, according to employee Gong Xuan.

Xuan, who heads the company’s purchasing division, handles a high volume of procurement needs from enterprises. When she first started working for the company, much of the procurement took place offline, seen at the time as the fastest, most reliable method of procurement. She recalled one urgent order received from a customer that needed specific models of mobile phones for gifts. As was standard at the time, Xuan set out on foot and by taxi to find the phones from nearby mobile shops. Upon arriving at the first shop, she discovered that the store was out of stock, and unable to check on other locations. Xuan had no choice—she checked every store in the area, one by one, until she found the necessary cell phones at a shop 30 kilometers away from the store.

On another occasion, Xuan’s manager requested that she purchase a batch of laptops for gift distribution. She managed to find the laptops, but the supplier notified her that as the devices were for goods transfer, they would need to be opened and activated before purchase. Xuan declined on the spot—as gift purchases, they could not be opened.

After considering her options, Xuan called JD.com’s customer service, and explained the urgency of her request. She purchased the laptops, and they arrived by courier the next day.

Xuan was becoming more and more certain that online procurement was the best method—but her manager wasn’t convinced. Then, in 2018, Xuan’s company received an order for 600 rice cookers to be used for an employee lottery by a large real estate firm. As “Murphy’s Law” states, everything that could go wrong went wrong in the worst way. Two days before the event, the supplier notified her that poor logistics at the turn of the year would prevent the rice cookers from being delivered on time.

“When I heard the news, I really thought I would need to start looking for a new job,” Xuan recalled. If they failed to deliver the rice cookers to the client, Xuan’s company would need to pay a breach of contract fee. She would most certainly be held responsible. After receiving the news, Xuan stood outside and cried. When she was done, she gathered herself and tackled the problem, assessing the available e-commerce platforms.

After speaking with a JD customer service representative, she placed the order. The following day, all 600 rice cookers arrived.

Following this near-disaster, Xuan convinced her manager to transition the company’s procurement services entirely online. Not only would JD’s services be reliable and fast, the company could also enjoy better prices as a member of JD’s corporate membership program. “Many of the products are cheaper online than in stores—over the years, it’s a lot of money saved,” Xuan said.

At present, nearly 100,000 products on JD offer exclusive corporate prices, and corporate exclusive prices can be combined with discount coupons, full discount promotions, and gifts.