Alibaba 88VIP loyalty programme boosts brands’ appeal with ‘year-round’ discounts

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Alibaba 88VIP loyalty programme is expanding its customer retention efforts with the announcement of “year-round” discounts exclusively for members on 388 brands trading on Alibaba marketplace ecosystem.

In 2017, Alibaba Group merged their Tmall and Taobao loyalty programs into a single membership club based on the level of customer engagement on the platforms, dubbing it the 88 Membership program.

All users qualify as standard members, called “88 members,” while more-engaged consumers with a loyalty score of 1,000 or more are recognised as “Super Members.” To earn more loyalty points, consumers are encouraged to shop across more categories, leave reviews and interact with other users on Alibaba’s sites.

The paid customer-loyalty program, 88VIP, is the latest upgrade to Alibaba’s membership system announced in August last year. Super Members can opt into the programme for a discounted price of RMB 88. Members with fewer than 1,000 loyalty points can sign up for RMB 888.

88” is pronounced “BABA” in Chinese, which is also Alibaba’s ticker on the New York Stock Exchange.

The expanded loyalty programme is now seeing discounts on about 388 brands ranging from Sennheiser and Blueair to Onitsuka Tiger and Pizza Hut. That’s up from the 88 brands that first joined the scheme last August.

Alibaba aim to support newbie brands woo Chinese shoppers by introducing a 5% discount on 11.11 single’s shopping festival when shopping at the participating brand’s flagship stores on Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao marketplaces. This is also including purchases made on some of their other platforms, such as online grocery channel Tmall Supermarket, cross-border shopping site Tmall Global, online drugstore AliHealth and, Alibaba’s outlet for off-season luxury and designer goods.

As of May, most 88VIP members were spending more than RMB 100,000 per year ($14,1645) (£11,741) on Alibaba’s platforms.

Miya Duan, the director of Tmall Brand Marketing and head of the 88VIP program says on average 88VIP members spend twice as much as other shoppers on the platform. They are also early adopters of emerging trends, as early as six months to more than a year before they go mainstream in the market.

These highly active consumers offer a great avenue for companies to quickly test the waters for their newly developed products.”

L’Oréal Group, one of the first to sign on to 88VIP, leveraging the partnership to explore new strategies to encourage high-spenders and potential buyers to visit its other stores on Tmall.

Last August, they offered shopping vouchers that could be redeemed when users visit four of their flagship stores and gave price breaks for cross-store purchases. For example, a customer buying cosmetics at L’Oréal’s haircare flagship would have the option of purchasing a male grooming product in another of its stores for a friend, making it easier to cross above the discount threshold.

For American clothing brand Guess, the program – which they joined last year – has helped the company expand their customer base. More than 40% of their new customers are 88VIP members. However, the value goes beyond acquiring new consumers to identifying and managing specific consumer groups. That has prompted Guess to “rethink the way we do operations online and offline by putting these customers into the centre .”


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