Suning Sets Out Strategy for its Fourth Decade, Transforming from a Retail Franchise to Global Retail Service Provider
01 12, 2021

NANJINGChinaJan. 12, 2021 — Suning Group (“Suning”), one of the leading commercial enterprises in China, recently announced its strategy for its fourth decade, emphasizing its focus on retail and services. With more than 280,000 employees around the world serving 600 million customers, it ranks among the top three private companies in China, with its subsidiary among the Fortune Global 500.

Founded in 1990 in NanjingChina, Suning has transformed from the original air-conditioning franchise store all the way to the world-leading commercial retail giant that it is today. Its 30-year history of innovation has transformed China’s retail sector, as it has made the move from retailer to a retail service provider. Today, Suning’s portfolio includes, integrated shopping malls, home appliance 3C direct-sales stores, retail cloud franchise stores, Carrefour stores, and mom & baby specialty stores.

30 years of evolution

When traditional brick-and-mortar retailers were hit by the rise of digital rivals in 2010, Suning dove headfirst into its transformation. In August that year, Suning’s online mall was officially launched, sparking the integrated development of its online and offline operations.

In the following years, Suning has been dedicated to building a smart retail ecosystem that covers online and offline scenarios. Its large stores dot China’s big and small cities, while the core business is anchored in Suning Plaza and the Suning Cloud Store. In communities, Carrefour China, where Suning acquired its 80% stake in 2019, is expanding rapidly, with hypermarkets, curated stores, and fresh food stores ensuring full offline coverage. In lower-tier markets, the Retail Cloud model is dominant.

On April 30, 2020, the newly upgraded Nanjing Suning Xinjiekou store located in the city’s busiest business area opened to great fanfare. The store attracts consumers seeking to experience products and services in an immersive setting, with purchases done both online and offline. Within just 58 seconds of opening, the store’s sales exceeded CNY10 million, the company reported.

Currently, Suning’s retail operations cover all scenarios, categories, and consumer groups, with a full-scale business network that spans from online to offline, urban to rural, and electrical appliances to FMCG. It is not only a retail company but also a technology-driven retail service provider. Suning Group’s technology arm Suning Technology’s open Biu+ platform boasts more than 110 brands, thanks to its focus on open smart modules, OS systems, and IoT standard protocols.

The Decade of Scenario Services – From retailer to retail service provider

At last year’s Suning 818 Shopping Festival which celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the company’s annual shopping festival, the company announced that the next decade will be defined as the “Decade of Scenario Services”. Suning has continuously championed the philosophy that “service is the only product”. It now seeks to not only serve consumers but link up its entire ecosystem.

As part of this strategy, Suning recently announced that it has established the new subsidiary Yunwangwandian to focus on development and services that is empowered by its retail infrastructure including supply chain, logistics and IT infrastructure. It has already raised CNY6 billion in its Series A round of funding.

The four keys of retail service: Supply chain, customer operations, services and technology

As it embarks on a new journey, Suning is set to further consolidate and deploy its four core capabilities including supply chain, customer operations, services, and technical capability, and will construct an innovative smart retail mechanism, in an effort to empower players in its industry ecosystem. It will comprehensively enrich its product categories, promote refined supply chain operations, carry out personalized precision marketing, continuously strengthen its service capabilities such as logistics, after-sales, and customer service, enhance its data transaction and digital risk control capabilities, and boost multi-scenario smart retail implementation.

For example, Suning will enter the cloud supply chain with its B2S2B2C model, bringing enhanced, more valuable products to users. Suning has also increased the proportion of self-operated customized products to 25%, in an effort to bring more high-quality products and a better shopping experience to customers.

Suning Logistics currently covers 95% of China, with plans to complete 20 million square meters in warehouse space by 2025, according to company statistics. Over the next three years, it will also reduce warehouse storage fees and provide additional distribution support. Suning seeks to leverage online and offline digitalization to help retailers upgrade, helping more than 6,000 small and medium-sized merchants set up cloud operations in three years.

Suning will also launch its three-year, commission-free independent software vendor (ISV) services, focusing on the store, marketing, transaction performance, and data. As part of its strategy, it seeks to train 100 large-scale ISVs to build a smart retail ecosystem of “100,000 merchants + 100,000 stores”.