Alibaba’s Double 11: Much More Than a Shopping Festival

(Source: Alibaba)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. kicked off its Double 11 Global Shopping Festival on Tuesday.

With new innovations and features, Alibaba wants to boost consumer engagement for online and offline merchants as well as new and old brands, hoping to drive the largest spike in consumption since the pandemic.

Double shopping windows

A new sales window will be added from Nov. 1 to 3, ahead of the typical main event on Nov. 11Consumers can pay the balance of the pre-sold goods on Nov. 1 and receive their packages many days in advance, according to Alibaba. 

By creating a second sales window, more merchants including new brands and small businesses will have the opportunity to participate in the extended festival, said Jiang Fan, president of Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall.

“Through our expansion from ‘single’ to ‘double,’ 11.11 will be offering more opportunities for merchants both online and offline to engage with consumers as well as provide a better consumer experience overall,” Jiang said. 

This change in sales windows involves adjustment in many aspects, including merchant’s stocking, marketing and communication cycles, to Tmall’s own statistical caliber, to the gameplay of discounts, Jiang said to tech media PingWest. 

“It seems a sudden announcement, but in fact, we have been preparing for three months,” Jiang said. “As early as August, we started communicating with merchants.”

He said that Double 11 was jointly completed by many roles, including platforms, merchants, logistics companies, service providers, and Taobao/Tmall partners. ”Everyone is familiar with the beats formed in the past. This year we have changed the rhythm. Merchants will find a new beat with us. This is a long-term and future-oriented direction.”

Livestreaming takes center stage

Livestreaming is expected to take center stage during this year’s Double 11, said Liu Bo, vice president of Alibaba Group. 

Apart from top livestreamers, some 400 company executives and 300 celebrities will hold individual livestreaming sessions on Taobao Live for 22 days, ranging from cosmetics and electronics, to cars and houses. 

What’s more, Alibaba’s research institute DAMO Academy will use artificial intelligence technology to create its first virtual livestreaming host, while Fliggy will host travel-related livestreams.

New features like online property viewings and virtual vehicle test drives will provide more realistic and engaging experiences to help consumers with their buying decisions. 

On the evening of Oct. 31, Tmall will also hold a shopping festival live broadcasting ceremony on Mango TV. 

In the ceremony, 17 live broadcast rooms will be integrated into the main stage of Mango TV. Anchors and celebrities will interact in the live room and on the TV stage.

Not only products, but also life services

This year, Alibaba’s payment platform Alipay’s digital lifestyle service will bring together nearly 2 million local service providers offering special promotions in more than 100 cities, such as street stalls and neighborhood grocery stores. 

Many business units across the Alibaba digital economy will also take part in this year’s Double 11, including local services company Ele.me, travel platform Fliggy, and ticketing platforms Taopiaopiao and Damai. 

Double 11 will not be limited to physical products, but will also include offers for services and experiences such as dining, beauty treatments, travel, entertainment and home services.

SEE ALSO: China’s E-commerce Giants Are Battling for Annual Double 11 Shopping Festival

Largest International presence

This year’s event will have the largest international presence since it was founded in 2009, according to Alibaba. 

Tmall Global and Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Koala are working with international brands to meet Chinese consumers’ increasing demand for international products. Tmall Global will bring more than 2,600 new overseas brands to China for the first time, while Koala will join the festival for the first time to feature products from 89 countries.

Alibaba’s southeast Asia e-commerce platform Lazada, which brought the shopping festival concept to Southeast Asia across six markets – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will continue its “shoppertainment” features ranging from livestreaming to new consumer games and innovations such as voice search to find items.

Liu said they’ve also updated Taobao’s home page with more dynamic videos to give consumers an immersive shopping experience.

About 800 million consumers are expected to participate in this year’s Double 11. And more than 2 million new products are expected to debut on Tmall during the festival, which is double the amount compared to last year. 

Alexander Dony, president of Greater China of BSH Home Appliances Group, said that they will launch a new product this year. He said the product can reach target consumers more effectively powered by Tmall’s live streaming platform.

Dony said this is BSH’s 10th year to participate in the shopping festival. And the festival has “turned household appliances into delightful experiences” as it addresses consumer needs, leverages Tmall big data and brings innovations through short videos and live streaming services.

This year’s festival will feature 14 million value-for-money products from more than 250,000 brands available on Tmall. 

The Double 11 Global Shopping Festival began in 2009 with participation from 27 merchants as an event for merchants and consumers to raise awareness about the value of online shopping. 

In 2019, more than 200,000 brands from 78 countries and regions participated in the festival. The number of orders set a new record with 544,000 transactions per second which was 1,360 times that in 2009.