Coca-Cola is opening a flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall.com online marketplace just in time for Singles Day 2015 which takes place annually on the 11th of November (11/11, all the ones hence singles day).
The shop, which is in trial operation and will officially launch early next month, is already pre-selling celebration packs of coke adorned with images of Tmall’s cat mascot or the 11.11 festival logo.
Alibaba and Coca-Cola plan to give away five million bottles of Coke. Starting from the 1st of Novemeber they will be distributed randomly to consumers who order other merchandise through Tmall.
Singles Day started as a little known Chinese festival and it’s now a multi-billion dollar shopping day where even non-singles treat themselves. Alibaba President Michael Evans aims to make China’s Singles day, already the biggest shopping event in the world, even bigger… by inviting the rest of the world to join in.
Over the next decade, we plan to connect millions of businesses and serve billions of consumers around the world by leveraging Alibaba’s existing online platforms to enable the world to sell to China, and to help China to sell to the world.
Alibaba have already started their expansion plans with the recent European appointments of new UK and Italian Managing Directors and the befriending of David Cameron by Jack Ma.
Europe is a logical first step for Alibaba to tempt Western retailers to sell in China. Chinese consumers love Western brands free from the worries of counterfeit goods. Retailers face hefty fines (from a deposit which they lose) if they’re caught selling counterfeit goods on TMall, so consumers have confidence that goods are genuine.
TMall and Alibaba are so ingrained in Chinese shopping and Internet culture that traffic to a brands TMall store is almost guaranteed and it gives an easy way to launch a Western brand in China compared to an own brand website. When you see companies like Amazon and Apple opening up stores on TMall you can be pretty sure that they’re doing so because it’s the only way to succeed in China.
If you’re wondering why China is an important opportunity for the west, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma says that before the 11.11 event last year the Prime Minister of Canada asked how his country could join the sale. “What do you have to sell?” Jack asked and “Lobsters” was the reply. Alibaba teamed up with Canada’s seafood industry and on that day alone Alibaba sold close to 100,000 lobsters.