Alibaba Group kicked off its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on Monday, the biggest growth engine of the year for retailers in the world’s second-largest economy.
Over 1 billion annual active consumers on Alibaba’s platforms in China will be able to peruse 17 million products. 11.11, also known as Double 11 in China, will put a spotlight on over 290,000 brands in this its 14th year, some for the first time, such as luxury brands Moncler and Ferrari.
“11.11 this year will have the most diverse range of products in the event’s history,” said Alibaba’s Chui Xue, President of Industry Development and Operation Center of digital marketplaces Taobao and Tmall.
This year, Alibaba will equip merchants with tools and solutions to grow their brand loyalty membership programs and unveil products. Over 40 brands on Tmall have loyalty membership programs that have surpassed 10 million members and 600 brands have loyalty membership programs with over 1 million members.
“Transforming consumer awareness into customer loyalty is key to generating the best return on investment,” he said.
11.11 presales on Tmall will kick off at 8pm Beijing time on Monday. Two check-out windows will follow – the first window will begin at 8pm on October 31 and end on November 3, while the second window will last from 8pm on November 10 to November 11.
Alibaba’s ecosystem-wide premium loyalty membership program 88VIP has over 25 million members with annual average spending of more than RMB57,000 ($7,859).
Alibaba is also helping merchants build up their own membership programs. Many global brands, including Nike and Unilever, are already running brand loyalty membership programs through their Tmall stores to engage with existing customers more effectively and capture new customers, especially from the base of over 123 million annual active consumers who spend more than RMB10,000 annually on Taobao and Tmall.
New products will be introduced this 11.11, including fashion and accessories from that opened Tmall flagship stores in recent months.
Many brands will also showcase the fruits of their product innovation incubated based on insights from the Tmall Innovation Center.
Incentives for merchant and influencer-hosted livestreaming sessions will be one of many ways Alibaba will provide support to small and medium-sized businesses on its platforms this 11.11.
In particular, Alibaba will offer marketing exposure and customer targeting assistance to newly-launched livestreaming channels.
Alibaba will also provide merchants access to business intelligence tools and financial support. For example, a marketing analysis tool will be made available to all merchants on Taobao and Tmall for the first time during this 11.11 to guide merchants’ real-time business decision-making.
Tmall and Taobao will also provide faster payment transfers for merchants to ease their liquidity during 11.11, halving the account receivable cycle to seven days on average for certain products.
To support the growing demand for logistics support from cross-border merchants, Cainiao Network has further streamlined warehousing, customs clearance, line haul and distribution for 11.11.
It has increased the number of its import line haul routes by 20% and doubled the capacity of its self-operated bonded warehouses. Cainiao launched 400 line haul services spanning air, sea, road and rail to cover key import markets.
For export from China, Cainiao is collaborating closely with AliExpress to offer delivery services within a committed timeframe and late-delivery compensation in various markets, ensuring a smoother experience for merchants and consumers.
For less-developed markets, Taobao Deals is working with more than 1,800 industrial clusters in China during 11.11 to offer value-for-money products, including groceries from over 10,000 factories.
This year will see more initiatives aimed at building a greener 11.11. Tmall has ramped up efforts to label low-carbon products, from apparel to cosmetics.
The product label aims to help consumers identify low-carbon products on the platform and check their impact on the environment.
Tmall has also collaborated with 40-plus brands on a campaign to promote low-carbon products. For instance, 10 brands out of more than 40, such as Procter & Gamble, Haier, ThinkPad and Yili, are giving sustainable shopping bags free to consumers. According to Tmall, one crossover bag is made from six recycled PET plastic bottles.
In addition, Tmall and Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba, have leveraged the cloud unit’s carbon management platform Energy Expert to provide online carbon footprint modeling, calculating and certification for the abovementioned 40-plus brands for them to identify low-carbon products and conduct informed sustainability practices.
Joining with thousands of merchants, Cainiao will help reduce carbon emissions from delivery and packaging, in addition to stepping up its parcel box recycling efforts across nearly 100,000 Cainiao Post stations offline.