Nov 11 shopping gala to be truly global
AliExpress planning to leverage social media and AI capabilities
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is making its iconic Nov 11 shopping gala “a truly global event” by introducing massive presales activities and smart recommendation mechanisms to overseas buyers for the first time.
AliExpress, a retail subsidiary of Alibaba that allows Chinese merchants to sell directly to foreign customers, will leverage social media and artificial intelligence capabilities to attract global consumers to spend big during the annual festival, known as Singles Day.
The site, whose user number jumped by 50 percent in the past year to hit 150 million, plans to team up with leading social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to draw in shoppers through personalized advertisements.
“Social commerce is the next battlefield and has huge potential as we march overseas,” says Wang Mingqiang, general manager of AliExpress.
The company will bank on a network of internet celebrities to promote different merchandise to users of various nationalities. Social media personalities will become skilled at converting their influence into cash while helping to boost merchants’ revenue, Wang says.
Jacky Tang, general manager of Reo Communications, a Shanghai-based social media agency, says: “Globally, young customers don’t accept advertising at face value and don’t take vendors at their word. They tend to check online for product reviews, swap links to favored products and seek out third-party options. That has made so-called key opinion leaders very convincing.”
A total of $1 million (856,000 euros; £761,000) in cash incentives is up for grabs among avid buyers, and they stand to benefit from lucky draws that lead to payment exemptions.
Meanwhile, AI is redefining the shopping experience with subtle enhancements for millions of global shoppers, Wang says.
“These include uncannily precise product search results and virtual storefronts that display information tailored to individual shoppers based on their unique characteristics and preferences, as well as orders that are delivered in hours instead of days,” he says.
On Sept 11, Alibaba formed a joint venture with Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, telecom company MegaFon and internet company Mail.Ru Group to boost its development in the nation, the top destination for AliExpress. Other strategic priorities include Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Alibaba staff pose for a photo with a background of a giant screen in Shanghai showing the record 168.2 billion yuan ($25.3 billion; 21.5 billion euros; £19 billion) in online sales on Nov 11, 2017, the world’s largest daylong discount gala.