Alibaba stretches 11.11 Shopping Festival to three weeks

eCommerce giant Alibaba Group has expanded its ballooning 11.11 Shopping Festival to a three-week long online retail extravaganza.

“11.11 has evolved far beyond a 24-hours sales event,” Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said at Thursday’s launch press conference. “From today through November 11, consumers will discover, explore, play, watch, comment, share, recommend and shop across our entire ecosystem with our merchants both online and offline.”

Zhang says the company wants to engage Chinese consumers before during and after the world’s busiest and largest shopping day.

“The 11.11 Shopping Festival has become the global retail benchmark over the past seven years, and we have raised the bar again this year to redefine the retail experience for consumers together with our merchants from around the world.”

From mobile live streaming, virtual reality shopping, interactive games, to an eight-hour live- streamed fashion show and a star-studded countdown gala, Alibaba is pioneering a variety of innovative ways to enable almost 100,000 merchants to build their brands, market, engage, and sell to the hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers shopping on Alibaba’s marketplaces throughout the festival.

Thursday’s Hong Kong press conference was attended by dozens of representatives from international brands, including Macy’s, Costco, Metro, Watson’s, Swisse, Kanebo, and eMart.

Alibaba Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group

Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group gave remarks at the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival launch ceremony at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong.

There will be four key components to the event in 2016:

  • Entertainment and Interactive Engagement. Entertainment and interactive content will help merchants explore new and creative ways to market their brand and products. Activities include an eight-hour fashion show in Shanghai on Tmall on october 23, the largest of its kind in China with 50 international brands and 160 models participating. The show will be streamed live via the Tmall and Taobao mobile apps, during which viewers can pre-order items in real-time as they appear on the catwalk. From October 21 to November 11, more than 600 international brands will be streaming live broadcasts on Tmall to educate and excite targeted consumers about their brand and 11.11 product offerings. – Alibaba will pilot “Buy+”, the world’s first complete virtual reality (VR) shopping experience, during this year’s 11.11 Shopping Festival. Shoppers will be “virtually transported” to select retail stores internationally, and experience the entire shopping process from product selection to payment, all through VR. – The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Gala on November 10 will feature a series of interactive activities between brands and consumers to drum up excitement towards the countdown of 11.11. Katy Perry will be the headline performer and global ambassador of the event, as well as a line-up of other international celebrities which will be announced at a later date.
  • Online to Offline (O2O) Initiatives. This year’s 11.11 will showcase Alibaba’s ability to seamlessly integrate data obtained online with offline activities, including marketplace data, logistics, media, and entertainment. Alibaba believes that the future of commerce is not pure e-commerce, but an integrated, holistic online and offline experience. Below are a few examples of the power of O2O during 11.11: – Alibaba will release a location-based augmented reality (AR) mobile game about two weeks before November 11. Consumers can follow the Tmall Cat mascot on an adventure across the Alibaba online and offline retail ecosystem to earn special promotions and prizes. Participating merchants include Suning, Intime shopping malls, Beijing Joy City shopping mall, Shenzhen Coastal City shopping mall, as well as global brands such as Shanghai Disneyland, KFC and Starbucks. – Alibaba is working with more than one million offline stores across various product categories to present consumers with an integrated online-to-offline experience across products, members and services.
  • Personalisation through Big Data. Each user will have a unique and highly-personalised shopping experience for 11.11 this year. Driven by data, everything from product recommendations, search results, newsfeeds, to user-generated content etc., will be specifically tailored to the individual consumer. – Consumers will enjoy highly relevant products and content that meets their interest and lifestyles. Brands and retailers will have the ability to customize their storefronts, product selection and marketing materials targeted at different demographics.
  • Buy Globally, Sell Globally. Globalisation is a strategic long-term priority for Alibaba Group, with the 10-year goal of serving 2 billion consumers and supporting 10 million small businesses, brands and retailers globally. “Buy Globally”is the premium gateway to China for international brands and merchants to sell quality international products and services to Chinese consumers. “Sell Globally” is Alibaba’s pilot program to help global merchants sell beyond China. The company is in its early phases of expanding its infrastructure, including logistics and payments, in order to allow consumers overseas to purchase international products through Tmall. Hong Kong and Taiwan are the first markets outside mainland China where this will be available.

* Photo: Launch ceremony of the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival
From left to right: Jet Jing, VP of Alibaba Group; Maggie Wu, CFO of Alibaba Group; Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group; Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group; and Chris Tung, CMO of Alibaba Group.

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