Business & Economy

Chinese retailers turn to live-streaming as coronavirus halts footfall

Guangzhou, China, May 22 (efe-epa).- When the coronavirus outbreak forced the closure of shops in China, merchants could no longer count on their customers coming to them.

Without the usual footfall and to keep sales afloat in a prohibitive atmosphere for consumerism, they decided to take their products directly to the client via live-streaming.

Ying Meilong, CEO of the Gonoy Clothing Company, did just that.

“We are a clothing factory but we also have 16 shops in China. Due to the coronavirus epidemic we started to think how we could continue.

“Our company would not be able to survive if we didn’t start live-streaming. 600 people work in our company, another 2,000 people work in my partnering companies so there was a great deal of pressure with having responsibilities for them and their families,” he says.

“So, we started as early as possible, on 5 February”, within days of lockdown orders being issued.

Ying runs his business with his wife, managing a production line that includes shops, factories centers and wholesales.

He has outlets in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where Covid-19 first emerged.

Ying and his wife decided to give their Hubei-based employees an additional 2,000 yuan ($280) to help them buy provisions and feel secure during the lockdown there earlier this year.

Hubei is a textile and fashion hub in China and plays an important role in the production chain for the Gonoy Clothing factory, which is based in Guangzhou, southeast China.  

Nowadays, partnering up with social media influencers is becoming ever more important for business in China as many still feel uncomfortable with the notion of heading to the shops. It has helped firms target particular markets and create brand ideas.

“Having a live broadcast is not as easy as it seems, it’s not just about having a beautiful woman presenting clothes and expecting people to make a purchase,” Ying says.

“The key is good communication with the customers, even small talk is important. When I do live-streaming, I play the role of stylist, helping customers understand how to match clothes.”

Weng Ruirui is a broadcaster and host who started working in the field a year ago.

“This year broadcasting is at its best,” she says.

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