Store visits in Beijing


As already announced in my last blog post I was going to visit some typical retail stores. Samantha, my HR colleague and me were picked up by Sam, the city manager for the Beijing area.

We have been visiting all different kinds of stores:

Hypermarkets: Carrefour, Lottemart and Wumart

Supermarkets: Jenny Lou’s, Jingkelong

Drugstores: Watsons .

The channel infrastructure in China is dominated by regional and provincial players whose level of organization varies hugely. A good example of a regional retailer is Wumart (Chinese for “good product”). It has 100 hypermarkets and 330 convenience stores located primarily in the cities of Beijing, Tianijn and the cities of Hebei province. Wumart has a very similar business model to Walmart (not only the name and colour coding of the logo). So if you have been to a Walmart store you can imagine the variety of products Wumart has to offer. 

Sam showed me all the tracking overviews the sales representatives receive from the trade marketing team regularly: market share devlopment by market and SKU, distribution development per region/tier, value and volume sales, promotion sales uplifts etc.

In England you talk about the weather – in China about food. Especially lunch is important in China. So early in the day we already decided on our lunch break: The Peking duck we had for lunch was amazing!

RB’s biggest brands in the Chinese market are Dettol, Durex and Veet  so we had a close look at the shelves and second placements of those and our competitors’ brands in these categories. Dettol was launched in 1993 and now has a brand awareness of 90%. The business started with the iconic brown disinfectant bottle and laundry disinfectant followed by soap. We now have 8 different fragrance soap bars on shelf. We also entered the personal care category with shower gels and have the handy hand sanitizer on the go in the market.

The fact that Dettol, Durex and Veet are all very well known but the awareness of RB is very low brought me back to my actual project and why I am here: so back to the office to continue working on the corporate brand strategy for the Chinese market…

P.S. If you want to learn more about the sales and trade marketing function I suggest to you Jason’s blog posts – he is regularly in store to check the situation and analyzing the retailer landscape and performance as well as researching consumer insights.


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