Alibaba celebrates the first decade of its Global Shopping Festival

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With Alibaba’s Global Shopping Festival culminating in Singles day on 11.11, Nenad Cetkovic, COO of Lengow takes a look at the events so far this year and what to expect on Sunday:

The festivities are underway! On Friday, October 19th at 11:11 am, Alibaba kicked off the 10th annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. To celebrate its 10th birthday, the Chinese giant went all out. Alibaba, whose turnover has increased 54% year over year, wanted the event to resonate around the world this year, both in its size and its reach.

“See Now, Buy Now” kicks things off

On 20th October, the fashion show “See Now, Buy Now” made a comeback, marking the launch of the Global Shopping Festival. Unlike traditional fashion shows, the “See Now, Buy Now” concept allows millions of viewers to buy products they see on the catwalk in real time using their smartphones. To create even more interactivity between brands and participants, viewers were able to vote for their favorite look with a new feature called “Play Now”.

“Together with our merchant partners, we have elevated our capability to serve our customers and the shopping festival has become a leader in creating the kind of lifestyle our consumers want.”
– Daniel Zhang, CEO, Alibaba Group

This new feature later allowed the organisers to create a trend report, creating the opportunity for brands to study market trends and for consumers to strengthen their engagement with them. According to Tmall, this third year was a success, with nearly 58 million Internet users participating in the event, more than triple compared to 2017.

Broadcasted live on 10 platforms (including Taobao, Youku, Weibo, Toutiao), “See Now, Buy Now” gathered over the course of 4 hours the biggest brands of the world (including Burberry, Adidas, Estee Lauder, MAC). So much more than a fashion show, this event has also become a key step for brands wishing to expand their presence in China and deepen their relationship with Chinese buyers.

Looking towards an international event and O2O

This is much more than a local event – the Global Shopping Festival is now global and phygital. For 2018, Alibaba reaches hundreds of millions of consumers in China and abroad, and more than 180,000 Chinese and international brands will participate in the 10 year anniversary online and / or offline.

In terms of online transactions, Alibaba will offer 3,700 product categories imported from 75 countries and regions on its Tmall Global cross-border platform. Offline, Alibaba’s “New Retail” supermarket chain, Hema, will offer a number of promotions. 200,000 smart stores will participate in this, with a variety of different sectors being represented, including apparel, fast-moving consumer goods, beauty products, automobile and home décor.

Set up by Alibaba two years ago, “New Retail” is becoming a fund trend and is becoming more widespread around the world with brands and consumers. This strategy – which aims to combine online and offline experience with new technologies – is starting to pay off, according to Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. “Two years ago, we unveiled our New Retail strategy by leading the integration of online and offline retail through digitizing store-based operations. In the past year, our Alibaba ecosystem expanded its reach through our investments in Sun Art Retail (hypermarkets) and EasyHome (furniture malls) and acquisition of (food delivery). “Acquired by Alibaba in 2018, the delivery platform will participate in this 10th year in collaboration with Starbucks.

Alibaba – the clear choice for entering the Chinese market

With its power and expertise in Chinese e-commerce, Alibaba also helps brands throughout the year to connect with Chinese consumers. They can promote them to Chinese consumers using Alibaba’s ecosystem, such as Tmall Global, to maximise their visibility and ensure they offer consumers a rich and rewarding experience.

With very different buying habits compared to Western countries, China offers great opportunities for e-commerce players. It’s all about sending the right message, in the right place, and at the right time to a fast-moving market. As Daniel Zhang puts it, In the next five to 10 years, surely the internet will change, and thus we will have to innovate new ways to serve our customers.

The Chinese giant who made $25.3 billion in online transactions in just 24 hours (more than twice the size of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined) still intends to mark the occasion for this tenth anniversary.

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