The future of BLACK FRIDAY – How Alibaba doing everything right with Singles Day sales

Interesting read about what Alibaba has come up with for their annual sales carnival – The single’s day 2016, apart from Scarlett Johansson and the Beckhams, that is.

———- Article published first on ————

2016 11.11 pre-sale consumer-engagement innovations

Virtual reality:

  • Alibaba’s Buy+ offers the world’s first end-to-end virtual reality shopping experience in which the entire transaction, from browsing, order to payment, is completed within the VR environment.
  • From November 1-11, consumers can enjoy Alibaba’s Buy+ service at home with the aid of VR headset. 150,000 VR Cardboard will be available at RMB1 each on Taobao starting from October 21.
  • Shoppers can browse products of eight virtual reality stores – Macy’s, Target, Costco, P&G, Chemist Warehouse, Freedom foods, Tokyo Otaku Mode, Matsumoto Kiyoshi – with a VR headset.
  • By staring at the preferred products, shopper’s identity will be verified and they can make purchases with VR Pay without having to remove their headset. The whole purchasing process can be completed on Taobao App in as little as 15 seconds.
  • Macy’s, with no brick-and-mortar presence in China, is a participating brand. Watch this video showing a consumer experience of being dropped into Macy’s NYC flagship store.

“See Now, Buy Now” Fashion Show:

  • We livestreamed an 8-hour fashion show on our video platform Youku. For the first time, viewers could order in real time everything they saw on the catwalk.
  • More than 1,000 products were showcased from 50 international brands which used the interactive show no only as an additional selling channel, but also to receive instantaneous feedback on their collection. Participating brands included GAP, Levi’s Burberry, La Perla, Pal Smith, Trussardi, New Balance, Under Armour, Estee Lauder, Maserati and Guerlain.
  • Tmall and Taobao mobile apps, together with other live broadcasting platforms including, attracted more than 6 million viewers and more than 40 million likes.

Augmented reality and Omnichannel shopping experiences:

  • We created an augmented reality “Pokemon Go”-style mobile game featuring the Tmall cat mascot to help drive foot traffic to the offline locations of Tmall merchants such as Intime shopping malls, Suning, Shanghai Disney, KFC restaurants and Starbucks.
  • Participants can earn special perks and prizes, such a free subscriptions to Alibaba’s Youku TV.
  • 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.

Live Broadcasts and Entertainment:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Buy globally, sell globally

  • Globalization is a strategic long-term priority for Alibaba Group, with the ten-year goal of serving two billion consumers and supporting 10 million profitable small businesses, brands and retailers globally.
  • In highly developed markets such as the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan, Alibaba is primarily focused on helping brands and merchants sell directly to the Chinese consumers. In emerging, consumer rich countries, Alibaba is working to bring more consumers into the Alibaba ecosystem.
  • This year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival will be our most global event to date, with more opportunities than ever before for consumers to buy from global merchants and our merchants to reach more consumers.

Buy globally:

  • Alibaba serves is a “Gateway to China” for international brands and merchants to reach China’s large and growing middle class.
  • Some examples of international brands participating in 11.11 include:
    • Apparel: GAP, NFL, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Zara, Nike, Uniqlo, TopShop, Adidas, Levi’s, Lululemon
    • FMCG: P&G, Mars, Nestle, Danone, Costco, Unilever, Starbucks
    • Electronics: Apple, Bose, Samsung, Beats, FitBit, Dyson, iRobot, Haier
    • Beauty: Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Guerlain, Bobbi Brown
    • Luxury: Maserati, Burberry, La Perla, Trussardi, Paul Smith
  • Many international brands are participating in 11.11 for the first time this year, including Target, Maserati, Apple, and Guerlain.

Sell globally:

  • We are launching a pilot program for this year’s 11.11 to help Tmall merchants extend their reach to consumers beyond mainland China to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • Hong Kong consumers will have access to more than 80 merchants from around the world offering 1,000 products. Participating merchants include Watsons and German Pool (Hong Kong), Costco, Sketchers and Stadium Goods (US), Chemist Warehouse (Australia), Charles & Keith (Singapore), Henkel (Germany), Nittaya (Thailand), Orihiro (Japan).
  • Taiwan consumers will have access to more than 40 merchants from around the world offering 1,000 products. Participating merchants include German Pool (Hong Kong), Hey Nature (Korea), Kireido (Japan), Nittaya (Thailand), Doctor’s Best (USA), Henkel (Germany).
  • Products will be displayed in local currency and consumers can use major credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) or local payment methods (e.g. PPS, Octopus Card and Tap & Go in Hong Kong) for purchase. Products will be shipped directly from the brands’ inventory and delivered to consumers through Cainiao’s global logistics network. In Hong Kong, the average delivery time is around 3-7 working days. Customer and refund services will be available locally in both Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • The service is expected to roll out to other markets such as SE Asia, leveraging Alibaba Group’s controlling stake in SE Asia e-commerce site Lazada, and markets that have a sizable Chinese community.

Recap of 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

  • Alibaba generated RMB91.21 billion (around US$14.34 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) settled through Alipay, surpassing U.S. online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
  • Mobile transactions contributed 68.67% of the GMV.
  • Transactions took place in 232 countries/regions, with over 16,000 international brands completing transactions;
  • 115 million buyers and 40,000 merchants participated from around the world.
  • The number of mobile buyers on and Taobao marketplace increased to 94.6 million.
  • Cainiao Network received 467 million delivery orders during the 24-hour shopping period, an increase of 68% YoY.

In less than…

  • 2 minutes: GMV of cross-border transactions exceeded the total GMV of cross-border transactions for 2014 sale.
  • 15 minutes:    First 11.11 delivery order completed.
  • 2 hours:          First 11.11 inbound cross-border delivery order completed.
  • 12 hours:        Total GMV surpassed the total GMV of 2014 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
  • 18 hours:        Total GMV exceeded the daily average retail sales of consumer goods in China in 2014.

To learn more about 11.11, please follow the Alibaba Group official Twitter account at

If you have more questions, please feel free to ask me via Twitter , or go to consulting page to drop me a message


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