Jan 27, 2021|

JD’s Kevin Jiang Talks Fashion’s Digital Transformation on NRF Panel


by Ella Kidron

According to Kevin Jiang, president of international business, JD Fashion and Lifestyle, in the past year, customers are moving from buying standard and less expensive pieces to more expensive and sophisticated items.

Roughly one year since the outbreak of COVID-19, the global retail industry has been turned on its head. This is particularly true in fashion, which has been one of the hardest hit sectors. COVID-19 is one of factors driving brands – even the most traditional of luxury brands – to go digital. JD, as an e-commerce company backed by a strong supply chain is contributing to this effort to move online, as well as to go omnichannel.

This was the focal point of a panel JD recently participated on during the National Retail Federation (NRF) Chapter One event held entirely online from Jan. 12-22 in place of NRF’s annual Retail’s Big Show. The panel was moderated by Chris Field, a retail analyst and the managing editor of Retail Connections. Jiang, as well as Karin Tracy, Head of Industry, Facebook and Jessica Murphy, Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer, True Fit, were the featured panelists.

Chris Field (top left), Jessica Murphy (bottom left), Karin Tracy (top right), Kevin Jiang (botton right)

The panel emphasized the immense importance of keeping pace with the customer, while making the experience more responsive, engaging and personal.

“Consumer demands are very diversified,” said Jiang. In the first part of last year, at the height of COVID-19, there was a lot of growth for household and grocery products. “Later, as people got used to buying online, they started buying other categories such as luxury products.” Luxury is certainly not one size fits all in terms of consumer preferences. This is part of the reason Jiang and the team at JD focus on building out its offering of top luxury brands, accessible luxury and small, niche designer brands.

Chris Field (left) and Kevin Jiang (right)

Another key element, in addition to product selection, is experience. “In China, we’ve noticed a lot of brands and department stores expanding, but what has changed is that they are shifting from traditional retail to more experience-driven retail.” As Jiang sees it, eventually everything is heading in the direction of the coexistence of online and offline via a well-oriented and integrated omnichannel solution. Although AR/VR technology allows customers to interact with products and have a more personal online experience, they still want to touch and feel the fabric, and understand the brand story and aspiration behind its designs. At the same time, online is extremely convenient, especially for repeat purchases. Combining the two allows for the best of both worlds.There are conveniences on the supply chain side too – integration means better efficiency in terms of inventory turnover.

One of the benefits of the hybrid omnichannel experience is being able to help customers understand more about the brands. Jiang explained that JD worked with top luxury brand Delvaux to bring VIP JD customers to the brand’s flagship stores, effectively helping Delvaux land new customers in-store. Moving forward, JD will look to further analyze consumer behavior and help brands to attract more customers with increased precision.