Alibaba Group on Monday revealed its omni-channel retailing plans for the 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
More than 1,000 retail brands, with 180,000 stores in 330 cities across China, will participate in this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. In Beijing alone, more than 8,000 stores will join the 11.11 festival.
Consumers will have access to products, prices, services, delivery options and membership benefits online as well as at the participating brands’ physical stores. Brands participating in omni-channel sales include Estee Lauder and Mars, featuring products in 10 major categories: automobiles, home furnishing and décor, household items, consumer electronics, beauty and health, food, apparel, body care, baby care, and travel and hotel accommodation.
"Omni-channel retailing is one of the key initiatives for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. It marks the first step in achieving the full integration of digital and physical commerce," said Jeff Zhang, President of China Retail Marketplaces at Alibaba Group. "Alibaba Group is dedicated to working with brands and retailers to facilitate their transition from traditional to omni-channel retailing."
While omni-channel retailing makes shopping more convenient, it also represents a new business model for retailers. "Omni-channel retailing allows traditional businesses to keep pace with the rapidly changing retail environment. By synchronizing online and offline resources, retailers can provide their customers with a convenient shopping experience," said Sun Weimin, Vice Chairman of Suning Commerce Group.
Suning is one of the brands joining this year’s 11.11 festival, offering phone refurbishing and after-sales services for Tmall electronics in its 1,600 physical stores across China. In August, Suning and Alibaba entered into an agreement to build on each other’s strengths in e-commerce, logistics and related business through joint omni-channel initiatives.
The omni-channel celebration provides customers with advanced shopping experiences which include:
Discounted coupon offerings: Through location-based services (LBS), consumers will receive text notification for the "11.11 omni-channel celebration" from their Taobao mobile app when they enter any of the 180,000 participating stores. Consumers can then scan the barcode on the "11.11 omni-channel celebration" sign displayed in stores and get a chance to win discounted e-coupons to redeem on the 11.11 shopping day. The total value of discounted coupons distributed during the 11.11 celebration is estimated to be CNY 4.8 billion (USD754.9 million).
Same product offerings online and offline with discounted prices: Starting from 1 Nov., Suning, Intime and Haier, along with other retail brands, will set up special experience zones in their stores across China for the 11.11 omni-channel celebration. Consumers will be able to try out any displayed products, scan the barcodes of chosen items, and purchase them with the discounted prices reserved for sales on 11 Nov.
Optimal delivery service: By synching up brands’ physical stores and offline service centres with their Tmall shops, retailers allow consumers to either pick up their merchandise at nearby stores after making online purchases or choose to have their orders delivered swiftly from the closest physical store or retailer warehouse.
Optimal delivery service is made possible by the "ERP-POS Link" technology, developed by Alibaba to support omni-channel retailing. With this technology, retailers can identify the closest physical store that houses the purchased items and alert the logistics partners of Cainiao – Alibaba’s affiliated China-wide logistics platform – to pick up the products and deliver them to the consumer’s designated address. The whole process – from making a purchase in Tmall to receiving the order – can take less than two hours for some consumers.
Convenient after-sales services: Consumers can also enjoy convenient after-sales services now that certain retailers have their online and offline stores connected. For example, a Tmall Service Station will be set up in more than 1,600 Suning stores across China. Consumers who purchase any digital products or mobile phones from Tmall – regardless which brands they purchase – can enjoy maintenance and after-sales services in all of Suning’s 1,600 stores. In the near future, consumers will be able to return and exchange electronic products purchased from Tmall in all of Suning’s Tmall Service Stations.
Same membership benefits online and offline: Members of specified brands can enjoy the same services and benefits whether they buy products online or offline. For example, members of Herboris, a Chinese hair and skin care brand, can make an appointment on Herboris’s Tmall store, conduct the skincare services in selected Herboris’s physical stores and receive samples and coupons reserved for members.
Under the theme of globalization, this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival will bring in 6 million products from more than 40,000 merchants and 30,000 brands, including 5,000 overseas brands from 25 countries and regions such as the US, Europe, Japan and South Korea.
11 November 2014 was the biggest global shopping day in history as measured by gross merchandise volume (GMV), with over USD9.3 billion settled through China’s leading mobile and online payments platform Alipay. The results were driven in part by the volume of transactions made over Alibaba’s mobile platforms.
More than 27,000 merchants from around the world participated, with shoppers placing some 278 million orders in the 24-hour period. 42.6 percent of total GMV was transacted on mobile devices, up from 21 percent of total GMV during the 11.11 sale in 2013.