Entrepreneur Richard Liu
JD.com has recently opened two “ochama”-branded robotics shops in the Netherlands. The basis for the stores is the unity of online shopping and robots preparing the items for shipment to customers. The first locations are in Rotterdam and Leiden, with two more shops in Utrecht and Amsterdam being expected in the near future. “Ochama” is a hybrid word that means “omni-channel” and “amazing”, and is not only the first JD.com store in Europe but also the first of its type to offer food and non-food products.
Pass Lei, the general manager of “ochama”, stated that the stores were born from JD.com’s experience in retail and logistics, with the desire to give Europe quality customer service. The omni-channel retail model focuses on ordering quality products through the store’s app. These products can range from food and home furnishings to appliances and clothing. The warehouse is fully automated and features robotic arms, automated ground vehicles, and other mobile units gathering the merchandise in full view of the customers. The consumer then scans a QR code provided by the app and their order is brought to them via conveyor belt.
Mark den Butter, “ochama”‘s COO, pointed out that the manner in which the store operates lowers the product cost by roughly 10% for customers. People also have the option of using a next-day home delivery service in addition to visiting the store in order to see the products available to the public. Because the Netherlands is one of the most urbanized areas in Europe, this led to JD.com’s decision to open “ochama” in that region. The COO went on to say that because Dutch citizens hold a strong love for the environment and innovation, the “ochama” brand is a perfect fit, blending convenience and efficiency into a single shopping format.
In its early days, Richard Liu ran JD.com as a small retail booth before expanding it into the third-largest internet-based company. He was raised in the country village of Chang’an where living in poverty taught him the need to serve his community so that no one was left wanting. Although Liu’s ancestors came from a wealthy upbringing, a shift in fortune led to the economic situation he was born into. However, he was also raised to treat everyone with the same level of respect because of these circumstances.
Richard Liu’s interest in broadening his horizons led to his move to Beijing for university studies. He passed the entrance exams while his family and friends gathered money to pay for the expensive trip into the city. While studying sociology at the People’s University, Liu took a job as a letter writer and learned computer programming and coding in his free time. He became one of the few computer engineers with experience in the country, which enabled him to buy his own computer and phone as well as build a home for his parents.
Richard Liu graduated from the People’s University and went on to earn his EMBA from the China Europe International Business School while becoming the director of computers and service for Japan Life. He went on to start the booth that would become JD.com, and it was notable for being the only one in the country to feature price listings, offer receipts, and refuse to sell counterfeit items to consumers. The impact of the SARS epidemic was the driving force behind the business shift from brick-and-mortar to a fully online presence. Liu created the first server, wrote the website’s code on his own, and even ran the customer service department and delivered products in the early years.
With the help of the logistics network that was built in 2007, JD.com has become China’s most popular retail site. Richard Liu stands by wanting to give his customers the best experience when it comes to retail. His current goal is to also expand into Southeast Asia while continuing in Europe.
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