Alibaba Group is hoping all the omnichannel initiatives it plans to launch on Singles Day will help it make last year’s $9.3 billion look like chump change. Alibaba will use the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival to launch a new series of initiatives in globalization, logistics, and mobile and omnichannel commerce to improve the shopping experience for buyers and sellers.
This year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival will feature more than six million products from over 40,000 merchants and more than 30,000 brands from 25 countries, including the United States, European countries, Japan, China, and South Korea. Merchants will sell directly to consumers in more than 200 countries and regions through Alibaba’s China and international marketplaces.
In China, where the majority of transactions are expected to occur, key product categories include baby and maternity, fashion and apparel, cosmetics, electronics and home appliances, health and nutrition, grocery, and fresh foods. Participating international brands include P&G, Unilever, Burberry, Estee Lauder, Zara, Huggies, Macy’s, Costco, Apple, Nike, Friso, Topshop, Uniqlo and many more.
With omnichannel commerce as one of the top priorities for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, more than 1,000 retail brands, with 180,000 brick-and-mortar stores in 330 cities across China, will participate in the shopping event. Consumers will have access to products, prices, after-sales services, delivery options and membership benefits in both online and physical stores. By synchronizing online and offline resources, retailers can provide customers with a more integrated and interactive shopping experience, as well as gain greater insights into demographics, location, shopping habits and preferences, allowing retailers to improve their products and services.
Mobile commerce, as evidenced in Alibaba Group’s latest September quarter earnings results, is expected play a prominent role in this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Alibaba Group has created a variety of marketing campaigns geared specifically for mobile shoppers. For example, the “shake shake” campaign will offer special promotions and coupons to users who shake their phones while using the Taobao or Tmall mobile applications during promotional periods.
Another example is the “Blue Star” program, in which users are able to scan designated mobile QR codes to verify the authenticity of featured products from select merchants. The Blue Star program also serves as an effective tool for sellers to gain more in-depth customer insights, such as consumer preferences and demographics.
In addition, Cainiao Logistics, the logistics information platform and affiliate of Alibaba Group, will launch innovative logistics solutions tailored specifically for 11.11 and designed to handle the massive volume of goods and traffic. Cainiao estimates that its logistics partners will deploy more than 1.7 million delivery personnel, 400,000 vehicles, 5,000 warehouses and 200 airplanes to handle deliveries for orders made on the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Cainiao has also launched a “Hassle-Free Logistics Service,” which consists of 49 international and cross-border delivery partners and 74 warehouses that are able to support 4 million cross-border package deliveries per day.
In addition, Cainiao has developed a wide-ranging suite of proprietary logistics applications that utilize big data technology to enhance efficiency. These include an e-Waybill system that shares shipping information among delivery firms, customers and merchants; a digitized parcel sorting solution that helps to sort packages and optimize delivery routes; and a parcel forecasting application to help delivery companies better manage their resources. Cainiao’s network includes more than 3,000 logistics partners to serve customers in China and worldwide.