With e-commerce rapidly replacing traditional shopping methods for not only busy professionals, but anyone looking to save a little time, it is no wonder that companies who want to maintain a competitive edge are revamping their business model to focus on online ordering models. While many large companies are beginning to recognize the vast benefits of moving their operations online, Richard Liu has already been there, done that, and perfected the method. With his internationally renowned company, JD.com, responsible for providing over 300 million active users in China with everything from fresh groceries to luxury clothing, Liu’s foray into the online marketplace began many years prior to that of his competitors.
Richard Liu began building his online empire by developing the skill set and knowledge of computer coding, long before his entrepreneurial spirit took over his professional life. While attending The People’s University of China, and majoring in sociology, he taught himself various computer-related skills, recognizing the future potential benefit of being well-versed in computer coding. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he became gainfully employed by Japan Life, a natural supplement company that had an online presence. As the Director of Computers for the company, he developed a keen eye for developing growth within the online sector.
He rented his first retail space within China’s technology hub and focused his energy on selling magneto-optical products. After successfully modeling several outposts of his company, Jingdong, throughout the region, he enjoyed continued success within the traditional brick-and-mortar business model. However, during China’s SARS outbreak, he recognized the potential benefits of moving his operations online, as he saw increased numbers of people seeking to shop without leaving their homes. Trusting his business intuition, Liu closed his physical locations swiftly and began selling his products online. Understanding the importance of maintaining a positive customer service experience, and utilizing technology to provide a positive user experience from browsing to delivery, Liu parlayed his previously perfected skills to further develop his back-end platforms and developed the forward-thinking technology that set him apart from early competitors. He successfully employed the use of drones (the largest fleet worldwide) to provide same-day or next-day delivery options to a population of over 1 billion people.
Soon, with his proprietary software perfected, Liu recognized the value in expanding offerings beyond his initial wares, and began expansion, naming the company 360Buy Jingdong, and eventually JD.com. Paying off immediately, Liu’s decision to move the company online allowed him to be aggressive in the newly growing e-commerce marketplace and allowed the company to continuously perfect its technology. Thus, while competitors were merely initializing online sales, Richard Liu’s JD.com was already bustling with over 300 million active customers and became one of the largest Chinese companies to be traded on NASDAQ, further proving its expansive reach online. With years of experience within the e-commerce sector, JD.com enjoys a solid reputation amongst customers and business partners alike. The company continues to actively grow and hopes to provide their services to other regions worldwide in the near future. For Liu, who is constantly involved as CEO of the company, the potential for continued online growth is endless.