Alibaba Group’s B2C e-commerce marketplace, Tmall, on Wednesday launched a dedicated gateway for consumers to find new products on its sister Mobile Taobao app.
The move comes as Tmall looks to reinforce its position as a branding powerhouse, as well as the go-to platform for brands making product debuts in China.
Taobao users can click on a Tmall icon to access the channel, titled “Tmall New Products,” which features an array of creative content and personalized recommendations to help consumers discover exciting products that just hit the market. The Taobao app has nearly 700 million mobile monthly active users and is opened 7.8 times a day, making it a prime window for the new Tmall gateway.
“Building on our strong track record, we will continue to invest heavily in 2019 to help Tmall brands and merchants attract traffic and infuse innovation into their supply-chain management, product development and cross-disciplinary collaboration,” President of Taobao and Tmall Jiang Fan said in a release.
“Our goal is for Tmall to become the top launchpad for global brands’ debuts. We will provide the necessary support to brands to make their product launches more effective, on target and successful,” Jiang said.
Mobile Taobao Interface: Users will see a “Tmall New Products” channel on the top left corner of the app.
The new channel also means brands tapping Tmall’s popular suite of product-debut marketing solutions, such as “Hey Box” or the Tmall Innovation Center, both of which leverage consumer insights to help brands speed up product development, can further extend their reach through the Taobao app.
Launched in 2017, Hey Box has helped drive the product launch success for prestige beauty brands, such as Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, Giorgio Armani Beauty and Clinique, as well as other international brands , such as Kindle, Dyson and Starbucks.
WATCH: Kiehl’s Taps Tmall’s ‘Hey Box’ for Global Debut
Last week, New York-based skincare brand Kiehl’s debuted its Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream on Hey Box, a new product launchpad that lives within Taobao and Tmall. Users can locate it via keyword search to learn about the hottest new and limited-edition items.
Tmall shoppers have an exclusive 30-day head-start to pre-order the new product, before its global release on April 29. Already, more than 2,000 jars were ordered on the first day of pre-sales and over 10,000 orders by the end of the week, Tmall said.
“Tmall Hey Box has an influential power on consumers who love to try new products, while allowing brands to command the valuable attention and focus of the Chinese market onto exciting new products,” said Cheryl Vitali, the general manager of Kiehl’s, adding the brand plans to work more closely with Hey Box to build hero products, better engage consumers and explore more collaborations in New Retail.
And Hey Box goes beyond simply providing a platform to showcase products. Additionally, Tmall is working with Kiehl’s to identify its target audience for the product, as well as giving out 200,000 product samples to consumers, whose feedback helps the brand modify its product marketing strategies — such as describing it as a “water bomb moisturizer” to meet consumer demand for ultra-hydrating skincare treatments — and inform product development. In the month following the launch, Tmall will continue to monitor sales trends and user input to help the brand adjust their sales and channel strategies, Tmall Beauty General Manager Jason Chen said.
This helps to “make sure we maximize the chances that these products successfully go to market. Ultimately, we want to build them into hero products for the brands, in the shortest amount of time possible,” Chen said.
Miya Duan, general manager of brand marketing at Tmall Marketing, said the tool fills the gap in the market for a one-stop-shop solution that boosts a brand’s marketing efforts when a product debuts.
“Hey Box sifts through the most exciting new items in the market for consumers, to bring them a personalized selection of products,” said Duan. For one user, for example, the app might show them lipstick, eye shadow and streetwear, while another user might see shaving razors or other electronic gadgets. “For brands, the tool helps to attract new customers and keep their brand image fresh and relevant for young consumers in China.”
“When we first came up with the name, ‘Hey Box,’ which in Chinese translates to ‘little black box,’ we especially liked the sense of mystery it conveys. When consumers open the box, they won’t know what to expect. We want to always surprise them with something brand new,” Duan said.