Can China Electronics Stores like Buynow Survive the Onslaught of Online Retail?
Xujiahui is one of Shanghai's more prominent shopping districts where we visited Buynow, one of the more successful electronics retail chains in China. However, when we visited Buynow, it was very empty, and seemed to face the challenges that Best Buy in the US did during the rapid growth of ecommerce. With JD.com and Alibaba offering competitive prices and same day delivery, the online shopping experience in China is the better than what Amazon delivers in the US, making it much less necessary to go to a physical store, especially given the typical Chinese urban shopper's hectic schedule.
It's no wonder that Buynow is using a model like Best Buy where it gets paid by brands to showcase their products.
Although some Chinese brands like Lenovo, drone company DJI, and Mobvoi (makers of ticwatch) were on display, most of the brands being shown were famous non-Chinese brands like Samsung, GoPro, Asus, etc.
There was also a large VR demo for HTC VIVE although no takers while we were there.
There was also a Best Buy branch not too far away, but companies like them and Buynow will continue to face strong head winds in China from China's very successful ecommerce industry.