Tmall has designed a new space for showcasing brand experiences at one of Shanghai’s trendiest shopping malls, K11.
Starting this week, Alibaba Group’s B2C online marketplace will partner with brands to feature pop-up activations exclusive to the venue, including everything from a street-culture exhibition from American skate-shoe brand Vans to live-band performances and ice-cream-themed immersive plays. Bobbi Brown, Make Up For Ever, Abercrombie & Fitch, Swisse, Oral-B and Scotch whisky brand Ballantine’s are also among the first to leverage the space to reach Chinese consumers.
The experience starts online when Tmall sends invitations to the brand’s premium customers, although anyone can sign up using the website for Tmall Club, the platform’s experiential-marketing unit. By gauging initial interest from consumers, the brands gain insight into who will participate, which allows them to better engage those consumers offline – and even after the event ends.
“As a key destination for brand-building, Tmall needs to help brands connect their members with their physical stores and events and bring one-of-a-kind experiences to consumers,” said Liu Bo, general manager of Tmall and Taobao Marketing.
This is the first of many “Tmall Experience Centers” that Tmall Club will roll out this year, he said.
“Brands might feel reluctant to expand traditional retail stores to smaller cities, but they are very open to adopting this pop-up approach,” said Liu.
Since launching in 2017, Tmall Club has partnered with over 200 brands to offer premium shoppers what it calls “ultimate experiences,” such as taking a dip in the Dead Sea to feel the minerals used in beauty company Ahava’s products, dining on the Great Wall, test-driving cars at the Porsche Experience Center, joining an exclusive, after-hours tour of London’s British Museum or visiting the source of Evian’s mineral water in the French Alps.
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Companies increasingly need to build “experience” into the consumer journey, Liu said. By providing consumers the chance to engage with a brand offline, they can heighten their online engagement as well.
“These experiences ultimately lead to stronger brand loyalty and retention,” he said.