Gucci has opened an official flagship store on China’s JD.com, expanding its online reach in the key luxury market, and will offer same-day delivery in certain key cities. The Italian house joins over 400 fashion and luxury merchants on the platform including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Alexander McQueen, and Max Mara.The new store also builds upon a pre-existing Tmall presence for Kering’s main brand, which opened in 2020 when Covid-19 first hit and many luxury brands finally warmed to the idea of e-commerce.Competition has been intensifying for the Chinese online shopper with Pinduoduo and Douyin grabbing more market share in recent years from what was once a duopoly between JD.com and Alibaba. While it started out as a bargains-oriented site, Pinduoduo is fighting more for the full-priced shopper, and brands are increasingly adding Douyin as another revenue channel. This is all occurring against a backdrop of weakening Chinese consumer sentiment as the country’s economic recovery after Covid-19 lockdown takes longer than expected.Nonetheless, JD.com vice president Kevin Jiang is optimistic. The platform boasts a higher average selling price than brands’ own websites or Wechat accounts, he told BoF, while offering a lower than market average return rate of 15 percent return for fashion luxury merchants. Competitor return rates can be as high as a third, Jiang said. For cosmetics and jewellery, JD.com’s return rate is even lower, he added.With Qixi festival, a day akin to Valentine’s Day, coming up on August 22nd, Jiang said the platform will roll out a collection exclusive to JD.com featuring floral motifs.“Gifting is actually becoming one of the key characteristics which actually sets JD apart from our competitors,” Jiang shared, highlighting the degree of control the platform provides. He said the combination of product authenticity assurance and an edge in end-to-end logistics (Tmall in comparison outsources some of its delivery operations to third-parties) has proved particularly successful to its user base which still tilts towards men. Fifty-five percent of customers on JD.com are male compared to 45 percent female.“You don’t want to send your girlfriend a fake Gucci bag...and you need to ensure you know the package was delivered on time, not after this special date,” Jiang said. In addition, JD.com is working with brands to create highly-customised retail experiences. Gucci, for instance, will allow customers to buy flowers alongside its products and have it sent together instead of two separate packages, paired with JD.com’s white-glove delivery service.