Costco announced this week that it will be opening a custom storefront on Tmall. In addition to being the retailer’s first foray into China, the Tmall platform will enable CostCo to build a relationship with Chinese consumers through seamless WeChat and Sina Weibo integration and multi-device loyalty program offerings. Tmall sites are also highly customizable; brands can choose to activate live chat, place multiple images and videos on product pages, and offer incentives for product reviews.

This graph from L2’s 2013 Intelligence Report: Specialty Retail shows that specialty retailers have dramatically increased their investments in live chat, video, and user reviews since 2010. In 2012, just 18% of brands offered live chat vs. 28% in 2013. And the percentage of brands offering user reviews jumped from 45% in 2011 to 55% in 2013.

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Tmall is considered a must for brands looking to expand in China. It is also a one-stop-shop for brands looking to up their Digital IQ.

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