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欧洲时尚品牌电商用“中国模式”对抗亚马逊

更新时间:2016-12-19 18:58:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Shadow of Amazon, European Challenger Looks to China for Inspiration
欧洲时尚品牌电商用“中国模式”对抗亚马逊

BERLIN — Robert Gentz stepped off an Air Berlin plane in Beijing with the goal of conquering online fashion in China. By the time he boarded his return flight to Berlin, he had a new plan: to copy it.

柏林——罗伯特·根茨(Robert Gentz)在北京走下柏林航空(Air Berlin)的飞机时,目标还是征服中国线上时尚产业。等踏上返回柏林的旅途时,他已经有了一个新计划:复制中国模式。

Gentz, a 34-year-old German who is a co-founder of Zalando — a European clone of Zappos, the online U.S. shoes and fashion retailer owned by Amazon — held meetings in fall 2013 with Chinese and international fashion labels, online stores and other parts of the local e-commerce industry. He wanted to expand his company into the world’s largest digital market.

现年34岁的德国人根茨是Zalando网站的联合创始人,该网站是亚马逊(Amazon)旗下美国鞋履和时尚产品线上零售商Zappos的欧洲克隆版。2013年秋天,根茨会见了若干中国及国际时尚品牌、线上商店以及中国本土电商产业其他领域的人士。他想让自己的企业进军世界上最大的数字市场。

But after the meetings, Gentz decided China’s approach to online fashion was far ahead of anything available elsewhere. He marveled at how Chinese consumers freely chatted with — and bought from — brands and stylists on WeChat, a local internet messenger, while online retailers, independent delivery companies and fashion houses routinely joined forces.

但根茨在会面后意识到,中国的线上时尚产业模式比其他任何地方都要先进得多。让他感到惊叹的是:中国消费者可以如此自由地通过本土网络通信软件微信同品牌及时尚设计师交流,并从他们那里购买商品,与此同时,线上零售商、独立的物流公司以及时尚公司之间的通力合作已经颇为普遍。

“We wanted to take that experience back to Europe,” Gentz said.

“我们想要把这些经验带回欧洲,”根茨说。

This holiday season, Zalando, which is Europe’s biggest digital fashion player, is using a made-in-China approach to take on Amazon, just as the U.S. giant is looking to cement its place as the world’s dominant e-commerce company by expanding aggressively into the Continent’s still-fragmented world of digital fashion.

这个节假日,作为欧洲数字时尚产业最大市场主体的Zalando正利用源自中国的模式对抗美国巨擘亚马逊——为了巩固其在世界电商领域的主导地位,后者正朝着欧洲大陆依然颇为分散的数字时尚产业进军。

Few companies have been able to keep Amazon — the largest online fashion seller in the United States — at bay after it enters a new market. The notable exception is in China, where rivals like Alibaba, the world’s second-largest online seller by market value, have been able to hold their ground.

亚马逊是美国最大的线上时尚产品销售商,它进入一个新市场后,几乎没有哪家公司能够阻挡它的脚步。在中国却出现了引人注目的例外,阿里巴巴之类的竞争对手守住了自己的阵地。就市值而言,阿里巴巴是世界第二大线上销售商。

For decades, tech companies have taken their cues from Silicon Valley. But Zalando’s approach of borrowing from its Chinese counterparts represents a new strategy of looking East, not West, for inspiration.

数十年来,科技公司一直以硅谷为榜样。但Zalando向中国同行取经的方式,代表着一种从东方而非西方寻求灵感的新战略。

In overhauling its successful European online fashion store into a digital platform, Zalando differs from others trying to match Amazon and its logistics and technological prowess.

Zalando将自己颇为成功的欧洲时尚网店改造为数字平台,在这一点上与其他试图同亚马逊及其物流和科技实力一较高低的公司颇为不同。

The German company previously focused on handling all sales and inventory itself. But in addition to selling directly to consumers, it now wants to remake itself into a digital shopping mall, allowing fashion houses and retailers to make sales as well, often with limited input from Zalando.

这家德国公司以前注重靠自己处理全部销售和仓储工作。但现在,除了直接面向消费者销售外,该公司还希望把自己重新打造成一个数字商场,允许其他时装店和零售商在其中进行销售,Zalando为此通常只需投入有限的资源。

These efforts, roughly a year in the making, may foster a rare European tech player able to give Silicon Valley heavy-hitters a run for their money across the region, still one of the world’s largest — and most profitable — markets.

这些做法酝酿了大约一年时间。它们或许会在欧洲培养出一个罕见的,能为硅谷大佬在该地区提供投资机会的科技行业主体。该地区仍是全世界最大——也是最赚钱——的市场之一。

“If you want to be the dominant player in a geographical area, you need to go beyond being just a traditional e-commerce player,” said Erik Mitteregger, a board member at Kinnevik, a Swedish investment firm that was an early Zalando investor and still owns a 32 percent stake. “It’s a necessary move.”

“要想成为一个地理区域内的主导者,你就不能仅做传统电子商务市场的参与者,”瑞典投资公司Kinnevik从早期就投资Zalando,目前仍持股32%,其董事埃里克·米特雷格(Erik Mitteregger)说。“这是必不可少的举措。”

Zalando’s inspiration from China, though, comes with challenges.

但Zalando从中国找到的灵感伴随着挑战。

Despite domestic dominance, Chinese players like Alibaba have yet to successfully replicate their business model overseas. Online shopping habits in Europe also are somewhat different from those in China. And Amazon and European competitors, including ASOS and Yoox Net-a-Porter, may yet outmuscle Zalando with their traditional takes on e-commerce.

尽管在国内占据主导地位,但像阿里巴巴这样的中国市场主体尚未成功地将自己的商业模式复制到国外。欧洲的网购习惯也和中国有些不同。而且亚马逊,以及包括ASOS和Yoox Net-a-Porter在内的欧洲竞争对手也许会凭借在电商领域的传统收入打败Zalando。

For most Americans — and even some Europeans outside its core German-speaking markets — Zalando is not a household name.

对大部分美国人来说,Zalando并不是一个家喻户晓的名字,甚至对于该公司在讲德语的核心市场之外的不少欧洲人来说也是如此。

It began in 2008 as a Berlin startup founded by Gentz and David Schneider, two business school graduates who once tried — and failed — to build a Latin American rival to Facebook. By 2014, Zalando had become the largest public offering in the European tech sector since 2000. It counts Rocket Internet, a Berlin incubator known for copying successful online business ideas, and DST Global, a backer of Facebook, Twitter and Alibaba, among its early investors.

它成立于2008年,最初只是根茨和戴维·施奈德(David Schneider)在柏林建立的一家初创公司。根茨和施奈德都毕业于商学院,两人曾试图在拉丁美洲打造一个能够与Facebook竞争的平台,后以失败告终。到2014年,Zalando已经成为欧洲科技行业自2000年以来公开募股规模最大的公司。以模仿成功在线商业理念而出名的柏林孵化器Rocket Internet,以及投资过Facebook、Twitter和阿里巴巴的DST全球(DST Global)都是它的早期投资者。

To meet the needs of Europe’s national markets, Zalando has tweaked its offerings. In Germany, where few people use credit cards, consumers can pay with an online service linked to their bank accounts after receiving clothes in the mail. In Italy, it worked with a local delivery company so people wary of goods not arriving could pay in cash upon receipt of their orders.

为了满足欧洲各国市场的需求,Zalando对自己的服务做了轻微的调整。在鲜有人使用信用卡的德国,消费者可在收到邮寄来的衣物后,通过一项与其银行账户绑定的在线服务付款。在意大利,Zalando与当地的一家快递公司合作,让担心收不到货的人可在货到后通过现金付款。

While European competitors have also earned loyal followings, Zalando remains the largest, both by market valuation and total online sales, according to Euromonitor, a data provider. It is expected to double its yearly pretax earnings this year, to $220 million, and revenue is likely to jump more than 20 percent, to $4 billion, according to an average of equity analysts’ estimates.

尽管该公司在欧洲的竞争对手们已经赢得了忠实的支持者,但根据数据供应商欧睿(Euromonitor)提供的数据,Zalando从市值和在线销售总额来看依然是规模最大的。从多位股票分析师预估的平均情况来看,Zalando今年的年税前利润有望翻倍至2.2亿美元,收入可能会增加逾20%,至40亿美元。

“Zalando is well placed to be a leading fashion platform in Europe,” said Andrea Ferraz, a Morgan Stanley analyst in London.

“Zalando处于有利的位置,有望成为欧洲领先的时尚平台,”摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)驻伦敦的分析师安德烈亚·费拉斯(Andrea Ferraz)说。

Still, the company remains a relative minnow — its $9.5 billion valuation is one-fortieth that of Amazon. And Europe’s fast-growing online fashion market, estimated to be worth $75 billion, has not gone unnoticed by e-commerce giants.

但该公司相对来说依然无足轻重——其95亿美元的估值仅为亚马逊的四十分之一。并且欧洲在线时尚市场正以迅速的势头增长,其估计价值为750亿美元,它并未躲过电商巨头的注意。

Alibaba has hired local country managers and brought its payment service to Europe, mostly to serve Chinese visitors. Amazon has opened a fashion studio in London and joined the British Fashion Council to bolster its local credibility.

阿里巴巴在各国雇佣了当地的管理人员,并将其支付服务引入了欧洲,主要是为了服务中国游客。亚马逊在伦敦设立了一个时装工作室,并与英国时装协会(British Fashion Council)联手,以增强自己在当地的可信度。

To compete with Amazon and others, Zalando has spent heavily on a network of logistics hubs that dot the European landscape.

为了与亚马逊和其他对手竞争,Zalando花重金将散布于欧洲各地的物流枢纽连接成一个网络。

For Nicolas Borg, a Zalando strategy executive who previously worked at eBay, the next stage will most likely be chatbots, or humanlike interactions powered by artificial intelligence, to offer fashion advice to consumers on the likes of Facebook Messenger.

Zalando负责战略事务的高管尼古拉斯·博格(Nicolas Borg)曾任职于eBay,他认为下一个阶段极有可能是通过聊天机器人,或由人工智能实现的类似人类的互动,在Facebook Messenger之类平台上为消费者提供时尚建议。

“In the future, what will matter is not where the purchase happens, but how you can influence it,” Borg said.

“在未来,购买在什么地方发生并不重要,重要的是你如何影响购买,”博格说。

“That is our biggest challenge,” he added. “How do we change the online experience?”

“这是我们最大的挑战,”他补充说。“我们如何改变在线体验?”

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