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AI drives consumer spending during China's mid-year shopping festival

China

China

China

AI drives consumer spending during China's mid-year shopping festival

2024-06-18 21:55 Last Updated At:06-19 01:17

Retailers in China are using artificial intelligence (AI) in innovative ways to drive sales during the country's annual mid-year "618" shopping extravaganza, deploying AI-powered avatars and assistants to captivate consumers and optimize online retail operations.

The "618" festival, which originated with JD. com's anniversary celebration on June 18, 2004, has evolved into a major online shopping extravaganza with numerous domestic retailers latching on to the concept.

This year, AI is playing a pivotal role in enhancing the shopping experience and driving consumer spending.

One striking example is JD. com's use of an AI avatar, modeled after the company's founder Richard Liu, to host livestream sales events. In less than an hour, Liu's virtual doppelganger attracted over 20 million views and generated sales exceeding 50 million yuan, or 6.89 million U.S. dollars.

"Our digital avatars livestream for more than 12 hours daily and reach an average daily viewership of 20 to 30,000. Additionally, we utilize these avatars for customer service with a 24-hour issue resolution rate of 85 percent and a satisfaction rate exceeding 90 percent," said Wang Qiang, an employee of user operations at JD. com.

JD. com is not alone in employing this strategy. Many other online retailers have embraced digital anchors, lifelike virtual hosts who conduct livestream sales, mimicking human voices, expressions, and gestures.

These digital avatars seamlessly integrate specialized product knowledge, expert broadcasting skills, and natural interactions with consumers, making them essential for successful online hosting.

"For human livestream hosts, it typically takes around two weeks to become qualified for online streaming. In contrast, transitioning to digital avatars for livestreaming can be managed directly through computers. A single store can save at least 30,000 yuan monthly," said Zhang Tianbing, manager of an e-commerce jewelry retailer.

Beyond avatars, e-commerce giants are also employing AI assistants to enhance the shopping experience. Powered by big data analysis, these AI helpers analyze user habits and interests to recommend the most relevant products, and can even provide virtual try-on experiences for apparel.

The transformative impact of AI extends to inventory management as well. By leveraging historical sales data and market trends, the technology can help retailers minimize the risks of overstocking while optimizing profits and capital utilization.

The 618 festival itself has seen remarkable growth this year, with leading platforms, including Taobao, JD. com, and Pinduoduo, all extending their mid-year sales by one or two weeks.

On Tmall, the transaction volume of consumer trade-in orders surged by over 710 percent year on year. Sales of items in the air conditioning category alone have exceeded 1 billion yuan.

Cycling clothing has also emerged as a popular trend, with fashion platform V-I-P.com reporting a 54 percent surge in purchases compared to the same period last year.

"New Chinese style" clothing has also gained popularity among students who want to look the part for photo shoots of their graduation, with sales increasing 200 percent year-on-year driven by young consumers born after 1995.

AI drives consumer spending during China's mid-year shopping festival

AI drives consumer spending during China's mid-year shopping festival

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UN Board of Auditors holds 78th regular session

2024-07-25 10:35 Last Updated At:11:07

The United Nations Board of Auditors held its 78th regular session from Tuesday to Wednesday at the UN headquarters in New York.

Hou Kai, chair of the UN Board of Auditors and Auditor General of the National Audit Office of China, presided over the annual session, during which 22 reports of UN agencies and programs for the 2023 fiscal year were reviewed and approved. The Board further produced a Concise Summary Report for submission to the General Assembly and another three reports for submission to other governing bodies.

The Board members also had a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for an exchange of views on priorities and challenges faced by the United Nations.

Noting that the UN is a core platform for practicing multilateralism and promoting global governance, Hou said the Board of Auditors will further fulfill its duties entrusted by the General Assembly and play a better role in audit supervision and service guarantee.

Guterres highly appreciated the Board's role in assisting the United Nations to improve management, enhance governance, and strengthen accountability, and fully recognized the audit results and recommendations for fiscal year 2023.

Established by the General Assembly in 1946, the UN Board of Auditors serves as an important mechanism to promote accountability and transparency in the United Nations. It audits the accounts of the UN organizations and its funds and programs, and reports its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.

UN Board of Auditors holds 78th regular session

UN Board of Auditors holds 78th regular session

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