Suning Retail Cloud, a unit of Chinese retail and e-commerce giant Suning.com, announced on March 30 that it achieved its goal of opening 600 retail cloud stores in the first three months of 2021.
Launched in July 2017, Suning Retail Cloud aims to help micro and small business owners thrive in China’s lower-tier cities and counties.
People with an entrepreneurial character can buy franchises from Suning Retail Cloud and open their own stores, which stock home appliances and 3C products. With its parent company Suning.com wielding powerful brand reputation and industry know-how in managing supply chains, logistics and inventory, Suning Retail Cloud enables its franchisees to easily start a business in county-level markets.
In recent years, Suning Retail Cloud has taken advantage of business opportunities in the home furnishing industry as residents in Chinese counties and towns see their wealth grow and move into new houses. In March 2021, the company opened its first retail cloud furniture stores in Jintan District of Changzhou, a prosperous city in Eastern China’s Jiangsu province.
Chen Yun, owner of Suning’s first retail cloud store in the furniture and household goods category, chose to return to his hometown and start his own business in 2017. Chen recalls that in the 1980s, Jintan was a tiny county affiliated with the city of Changzhou, with a stagnant economy and bleak business prospects. However, since 2015, Jintan has developed rapidly, given Chen, who was working in Suzhou at the time, the exciting idea of returning home to open his own store.
When Suning launched its Retail Cloud project in 2017, Chen grasped the opportunity without the slightest hesitation. “Suning Retail Cloud turned out to be the best possible way to help me build my own business,” says Chen. “I believe that we businessmen need to be sincere. The most important thing is to make customers feel comfortable enough, so that they can trust you. Small moves, like excellent customer service, can foster word-of-mouth recommendations by my customers about my store, which is the best way to gain trust from other people.”
The philosophy of caring works. Since its inception, Chen’s store has seen its revenue reach 500,000 yuan ($76,142), almost half of which was generated from the sale of furniture and household goods.
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Traditional mom-and-pop stores in China’s lower-tier cities and counties face difficulty in going online and developing digital marketing tools. By leveraging Suning.com’s enormous retail capabilities, Suning Retail Cloud empowers these small businesses to move from offline to online. Nationally, the service helps hundreds of thousands of business owners in China thrive and prosper in the digital era.
As of December 31, a total of 8,000 retail cloud stores have been opened across the country. Earlier this year, Suning set its goal of opening 12,000 retail cloud stores by the end of 2021.