Sat, Oct 22, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Alibaba looking to top its Singles’ Day record

Bloomberg

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) expects to surpass the record US$14.3 billion in sales it made on Singles’ Day last year by rolling out new activities like virtual fashion shows and augmented reality games to entice shoppers.

“The numbers will be big and they’ll be bigger than last year,” Alibaba president Michael Evans told Bloomberg TV at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco.

He said the numbers are not the company’s main focus.

“If the social experience isn’t a great event for all the people who participate, then we haven’t really achieved what we want,” Evans added.

Singles’ Day, a twist on Valentine’s Day, started in the 1990s and has become a Chinese consumer phenomenon since Alibaba turned it into a one-day online sales extravaganza in 2009. The event is an example of how e-commerce companies can manufacture consumer demand through promotions, like Amazon.com Inc’s “Prime Day.”

Alibaba has a number of strategies to ensure the spike in sales during the first few seconds of Nov. 11. This year, it is adding more activities to get products preloaded into consumers’ digital shopping carts. At midnight, those transactions are completed through the company’s Alipay payments service.

On Sunday, Alibaba is to live stream an eight-hour fashion show in Shanghai with 50 international brands, during which viewers can preorder clothes.

Alibaba is also to release an augmented reality mobile game two weeks before Singles’ Day. Consumers are expected to follow a “Tmall Cat” mascot to merchants around China to earn discounts.

Investors closely watch the results of Singles’ Day. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has been looking at data reported from the promotion last year, Alibaba said in its annual report in May.

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