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Challenges of E-Commerce in China with Thibault Villet

La French Tech Shanghai invited Thibault Villet, co-founder of a famous Chinese e-commerce platform, to share his experience on Chinese e-commerce and how he experienced 11/11 (single’s day). is a Chinese platform doing flash sales for luxury and fashion goods, from high-end brands such as Armani, Michael Kors or Lancôme. Founded in 2010 by Thibault Villet, it became the largest flash sales and discount platform for luxury & fashion goods in China.

That position interested several actors, and the king of the kings #Alibaba, invested 100 millions USD in 2015. (Reuters, 2017) Home Page – Jan 2017

A Win-win Partnership with Alibaba

They established a partnership to help Mei enter the Alibaba ecosystem, and increase its user base, product offerings, logistics & IT infrastructure. In return, Alibaba could learn from the expertise of with luxury, and help upgrading the Tmall image and content towards a more high-end platform. Sophie Marceau
Sophie Marceau

The capacity Alibaba has to leverage big data boosted Concretely, it resulted in amazing changes on the conversion rate and targeting the traffic. Underlining one method from several: they determined the data profile of Mei customers, and then they go look for customers that answered the same characteristics in the Alibaba database.

11.11 never participated to 11.11 before. For the first time, in 2016, they participated and did x4 more sales yoy. They took this decision based on two factors, first their partnership with Alibaba, and second the changing nature of 11.11 itself.

Thibault Villet

“11.11 is switching from a pure shopping event, to an event to limited edition, curated and evenmential products ” – Thibault Villet

In fact, they believe that 11.11 is switching from a pure discount event, to a curated event with
great content. It is a perspective that fits more to their industry.

What strategy for the future?

Stage Fashion Show
The stage fashion show, with Olivia Palermo shifted from selling products to inspiring customers with creative content. In this purpose they hired people from magazines like Vogue and plan to create great content. Then they bring the content to the products. Parallel to this, they stopped doing social media activation, to start branding on social media.

“The experience will play a major role in the future” – Thibault Villet

For example, they enhanced the experience by mastering live streaming. In January 2017, they went to Milan, livestream the fashion week. Furthermore Alibaba and Mei unveiled a new flash channel, with the TMALL fashion show, where people could watch the show in live and buy the articles in live. Millions of customers watched it. (Marketwire, 2017)

“In other countries eCommerce is a way to shop, in China it is a lifestyle. – Jack Ma

People can watch a fashion show live on their phones, on the metro, and buy instantaneously the products. You don’t go on Tmall app just to buy something, you almost go there as many times as westerners go on Facebook. There are so many functionalities, and variety of content that it creates a rich experience for the customer.

For more information concerning I recommend this interview of Thibault Villet done in November 2016.

A Chinese digital ecosystem

China has a very rich and particular ecosystem, and there is really a feel of advance in many fields. set for an event an immersive VR (virtual reality) experience to enable customers to explore their own style. In February 2016, Thibault Villet said that WePay represented 10% of sales in China, and easy to guess in which direction its going. Furthermore in the beauty & fashion market there is a multiplication of the categories of customers (10) what makes it even more complex in such a rich ecosystem. This complexity creates opportunity.

We are living exiting moments, in a world that never innovated that fast. As a Silicon Valley celebrity once said: ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’.




Marketwire. (2017). & Alibaba Launch the TMALL Luxury Flash-Sale Channel With Star-Studded Live-Streamed Fashion Show. Available at: .

Chan, I. (2017). Exclusive Interview: Thibault Villet, Co-Founder and CEO of Luxury Society. Available at: .

Marketwire. (2017). & Alibaba Launch the TMALL Luxury Flash-Sale Channel With Star-Studded Live-Streamed Fashion Show. Available at: .

By Etienne Serres

Multicultural student (tck) having my masters in Shanghai.
After living in several countries I am now in China to discover and understand the local culture & digital.

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