By THE NATION
The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival has evolved from a 24-hour online sale into a 24-day festival season celebrated both online and offline. Consumers around the world will enjoy promotions and offers from more than 140,000 brands and 15 million product listings, the company said in a press release. For Chinese consumers, who are increasingly aspiring for quality products and a wider range of choice, more than 60,000 international brands will be available to them across the Alibaba marketplaces.
This year's Festival will be the first time that merchants and consumers experience "new retail", Alibaba's drive to integrate online and offline shopping experiences.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group's chief executive officer said that the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is a large-scale global business collaboration involving consumers, retailers, logistics companies, financial institutions, online as well as offline stores and shopping centres. He said it is a grand stage for showcasing the "new retail" initiative pioneered by Alibaba.
During the Festival, Alibaba will collaborate with 52 shopping malls to set up 60 "new retail"-powered pop-up stores across 12 cities in China. Consumers can visit a pop-up store of a cosmetics brand, for example, to experience an augmented reality (AR) lipstick trial.
Nearly 100,000 stores available in 31 provinces and 334 cities throughout China will also be converted into "smart stores" to bring a range of "new retail" experiences such as facial recognition payment and scan-and-deliver O2O shopping.
New retail will also be rolled out for community stores such as Rural Taobao service centres and neighbourhood convenience stores. More than 60,000 international brands will be available across the Alibaba marketplaces. Participating brands include Adidas, Bose, La Mer, L'Oreal, Mac, Mattel, Mondelez, Nike, P&G, Shiseido, Siemens, Unilever, Uniqlo, Wyeth, Zara, and more.
Through a new Tmall initiative (formerly Taobao Mall) inaugurated in June this year, 100 Chinese brands can sell globally, with a focus on the Southeast Asian markets at the initial stage. Free shipping will be introduced to 10 countries during this year's Festival to extend the global reach.
This year, Alibaba continued to leverage its media and entertainment assets to drive online consumption. Chris Tung, Alibaba Group's chief marketing officer, said that Alibaba Group's 2017 11.11 Global Shopping Festival brings consumers around the world a step closer to realising the aspirational life where entertainment and retail become one. Regardless of their physical location, consumers will be able to participate in more experiences than ever before this year, all showing the reality of New Retail. We start today but this is a festival with nearly two weeks of celebration and so many different ways to participate.
The 11.11 shopping festival began in 2009 with participation from just 27 merchants as an event for merchants and consumers to raise awareness of the value in online shopping. Last year, nearly 100,000 merchants participated in the global shopping event, with consumers spending 120.7 billion yuan (Bt604.1 billion) during the 24-hour period.