Alibaba kicks off three-week 11.11 shopping festival as it moves to blend e-commerce and entertainment

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang launches the annual 11.11 shopping festival

Alibaba has officially launched its 11.11 (Singles Day) Global Shopping Festival, kicking off the three-week event with a fashion show in Shanghai.

The “See Now, Buy Now” fashion show, which showcased the fashion and apparel that is available to buy during the 11.11 festival, was one a number of promotions and entertainment features unveiled by the e-commerce giant to promote the annual event.

The event highlights a key strategic focus for Alibaba, which aims to blend e-commerce with entertainment through live-streaming, short content videos and personalised features.

Alibaba's chief marketing officer Chris Tung told Alizila, "We are elevating the shopping experience from a shelf-based, item-based presentation to a content-based experience for the visitors to our app.

"The [Tmall] platform is not just a shopping mall for customers exposed to the top brands in the world, but also a very informative medium for shoppers," said Tung.

Alibaba’s 11.11 (Singles Day) shopping extravaganza has become one of the largest and most anticipated e-commerce events globally, with last year’s event taking a record-breaking RMB 120.7 bn ($17.4 bn).

The event has evolved from a 24-hour online sale into a 24-day festival season, with consumers around the world offered 15 million product listings from more than 140,000 brands.

This year’s festival will also showcase Alibaba’s ‘New Retail’ strategy, which aims to integrate online and offline shopping, with the e-commerce giant launching pop-up stores and smart-stores where consumers can experience products and use facial recognition payment and scan-and-deliver O2O shopping.

This year’s event will also enable more than 60,000 international brands including Adidas, Bose, La Mer, L'Oréal, Mac, Mattel, Mondelez, Nike, P&G, Shiseido, Siemens, Unilever, Uniqlo, Wyeth and Zara to target Chinese consumers, with Chinese brands also able to sell goods globally via its Tmall World initiative.

The festival will also incorporate AR games to drive traffic and gift prizes and coupons to consumers, as well as sharing red envelopes with more than RMB 250 million and the annual 11.11 Countdown Gala Celebration will again be broadcast live on Chinese TV.

Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said: “The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is a large-scale business collaboration bringing together consumers, retailers, logistics companies, financial institutions, online as well as offline stores and shopping centers around the world. It is a grand stage for showcasing the New Retail initiative pioneered by Alibaba.”

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