Digital strategy: Examples from China

In Sanofi’s recent Q3 earnings call, new head of Consumer Healthcare Julie Van Ongevalle said the company’s CH operation had “untapped potential”, and that her previous experience in the beauty industry would help with the strategy of leveraging consumer insights and maximising the digital and e-Commerce channel. In this week’s blog, we summarise three examples of innovative digital strategies by three companies (Alibaba, GSK and Bayer) operating in China.

Alibaba has kicked off its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival with new features to meet rapidly-changing consumer needs. These include the participation of Alipay’s digital lifestyle platform, broader consumer reach, as well as livestreaming technology creating more engagement for Chinese consumers, and with the largest international presence to date. A new sales window will be added from 1st-3rd November, ahead of the main event on 11th November, to provide merchants – specifically new brands and small businesses – the opportunity to showcase their products and tell their brand stories amid the pandemic. For many brands, 11.11 is the single biggest growth driver. This year, more than 2mn new products will be introduced, double the amount compared to last year.

OTC marketers are also building ties with local digital shopping platforms in China. GSK CH and Dingdang Kuaiyao have agreed a new strategic co-operation, which will utilise their R&D and data capabilities to drive growth and improve consumer access to healthcare products. Initially, the companies will focus on the concept of “Internet + Medicine” and work together to build brands and content, as well as consumer traffic and experiences. In 2021, the collaboration will cover brand awareness, global marketing, consumer trust and consumption scenarios. The news comes a month after GSK CH became an Alibaba “digital captain” after agreeing a joint business plan with its marketing technology platform, Alimama.

In addition, under a strategic co-operation agreement with digital shopping platform Meituan, Bayer CH aims to become a full-service healthcare solutions provider to help individuals better manage their own health. The businesses will work with 20+ chain pharmacies to integrate online and offline healthcare products and services by exploring digitalisation options, expanding consumer services and developing a new era of pharmaceutical retail. The co-operation aims to reach consumers more efficiently under the “new normal”, which has resulted in growing public awareness of healthcare issues, rising demand for healthcare products and a change in consumption habits, with online purchasing increasing significantly.

We are pleased to announce the next round of savings in our special Q4 promotional event, running until the end of the year! Plus, for November only we are offering a 25% discount on annual subscription rates for our combined CHC.Newsflash and CHC.NewDirections news service! If you would like additional information on any of our publications or subscriptions, or would like to place an order, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com

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