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Shenyang luxury watch dealer reinvents to succeed

Photo: Top brands under one roof.
Top brands under one roof.

Entering Dagong Famous Watch Center at 65 Zhonghua Road in Shenyang, one cannot help but notice the feeling of grandeur and luxury. With an area of over 6,000 m2, the shop boasts the largest flagship store for international watches in the world. It carries more than 30 watch brands and attracts patronage from third-tier Liaoning cities such as Panjin, Fuxin, Chaoyang, as well as Qinhuangdao in Hebei.

At a time when competition in the international watch market is so ferocious, what are Dagong's secrets in winning consumers?

A recent interview with Dagong president Zhang Shuhua provides the answers.

Photo: Grand yet comfortable shopping ambience.
Grand yet comfortable shopping ambience.

For shop decoration, Dagong invariably adopts the latest marketing images of the various brands complete with all the bells and whistles. Dagong always strives to provide consumers with a grand yet comfortable shopping ambience. Every year Dagong's relevant persons in charge will visit renowned high-end watch centres and shopping centres in and outside China and the whole shop will get a facelift regularly.

At the same time, Dagong has very stringent requirements for its sales team. The stringency begins with the recruitment process in which applicants are selected carefully in terms of their education background, appearance and professional skills. All "sales consultants" have to undergo a series of professional training and assessment before taking up their duties and thereafter will have to attend further training regularly every year. Dagong always strives to provide its customers with the most professional one-on-one services. In addition, in marketing strategy, Dagong is keen on celebrity endorsement. From time to time, domestic and foreign celebrities will be invited to come to the shop to generate publicity.

Dagong also evolves along with the times. It constantly acquires new knowledge as well as renews its products, ideas and concepts. Every year Mr Zhang will head a team to the watch fairs in Geneva and Basel to study the latest international watch trends and developments. He also goes abroad to learn all the time; and he will study and gain understanding of markets according to the needs of consumers and will take note of the potentials of various brand name watches.

Photo: Pricey jewel watches.
Pricey jewel watches.

One-stop service is another distinguishing feature of Dagong. When it comes to "one-stop", Dagong's one major breakaway from its industry peers is the setting up of a professional watch service centre that provides consumers with one-to-one VIP services. For this, a highly skilled watch repair team is maintained to provide consumers with comprehensive consultancy, maintenance and after-sale services.

Timely transformation and right positioning are also part and parcel of Dagong's secrets. In the last two years, sales of luxury watches in the mainland have been hard hit by the overall economic environment and the anti-corruption policies at home. In addition to maintaining his original high-end watch business, Mr Zhang has set another precedent: Dagong is diversifying into all watch grades to include selected domestic and foreign low-to-medium-end watches and is also extending its sales network to cover third-tier cities. Results have proved that these are smart moves: Dagong's sales increased rather than dropped in 2012.

from Jasmine Lao, Dalian Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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