(This story was updated on Sept. 24, 2015 to reflect a name change for the 11.11 event)
Although the event is more than two months away, Alibaba Group is already laying the groundwork for its annual Nov. 11 e-shopping festival, the largest one-day online sale in the world.
Speaking at an Alibaba-hosted e-commerce summit in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang revealed some of key initiatives for the upcoming promotion, which is commonly known as the Singles Day sale but this year will officially be called the “2015 Global Shopping Festival” by Alibaba.
In casethetitleisn’t hint enough, Zhang said that Alibaba this year will be pulling out the stops to make what the company started six years ago as a China-only affair into a mega-sale involving consumers, retailers and merchants around the world.
Globalization is a “critical priority” for Alibaba Group in 2015, Zhang said, noting that the company’s Tmall and Tmall Global online shopping sites in recent months have attracted a number of major overseas retailers. “We are working closely with international brands, foreign governments, trade associations, and global retailers to make this year’s 11.11 shopping festival a truly and unprecedentedly global shopping experience for consumers, and a gateway for new brands and companies trying to reach the China marketplace and our 367 million active users,” Zhang said.
On the eve of the sale (Nov. 10), Alibaba is also planning to stage an “11.11 countdown gala celebration” that will be broadcast live in China. Details are sparse but the company said the show will be directed by award-winning Chinese film director Feng Xiao Gang and well-known celebrities will attend. Noisemakers optional. Bring wallet.
Last year, the shopping festival generated $9.3 billion in gross merchandise volume, surpassing the combined sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Alibaba Group was also recognized by Guiness World Records as the “individual company with the highest online retail volume in a 24-hour period” in the wake of the sale.
TO READ A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALIBABA’S SALE, CLICK HERE.
As it did in 2014, Alibaba is making online-to-offline (O2O) e-commerce—the integration of physical stores with online sales and marketing, largely through mobile apps—an important component of the 201511.11 sale. To drive O2O development in China, Alibaba recently invested $4.63 billion in Chinese electronics retailer Suning Commerce Group. Alibaba also has stakes in department store chain Intime Retail Group and leading electronics and white-goods manufacturer Haier.
Globalization and O2O “are the core to our overall corporate strategy,” Zhang said. For the 11.11 sale this year, some 100,000 brick-and-mortar stores including Suning and Intime outlets will be collaborating with Alibaba Group on marketing, customer management, post-sales management, logistics, and in other areas, the company said. Through these omnichannel initiatives, customers will be able to participate in the 11.11 shopping festival online and offline, according to Alibaba.