Alibaba Group introduced new merchant support measures, including expedited payment settlement and improved supply chain services for businesses on Taobao and Tmall. The new initiatives were designed to help merchants better capture the 6.18 Mid-Year sales opportunities amidst this challenging time.
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“Ensuring the stability of supply chain and logistics amid the uncertainties is the best way to improve consumption sentiment and foster a more positive environment for business operations,” said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO, during the earnings call last week. The company has leveraged its unique platform capabilities to help merchants and communities in need in the past quarter as COVID-19 resurged in many cities in China.
Ahead of the 6.18 pre-sale period, Alibaba rolled out the following key initiatives:
Firstly, the group accelerated account receivables to support liquidity. Immediate payment transfers will be allowed for merchants for 6.18 orders, which significantly reduces the regular account receivable cycle of 10-15 days. This helps merchants have better liquidity and greater flexibility in their business operations.
Consumers paid deposits to secure purchases during the May 26-30 pre-sale period, and this year we immediately advanced an estimated RMB 10 billion of the pre-sale deposits to merchants. As soon as orders get fulfilled starting on June 1, merchants will receive up to RMB 100 billion of the outstanding balance. Tmall Global has also committed up to RMB 4 billion in advance payments to cross-border merchants after the orders are dispatched from warehouses between June 1 and June 30, shortening payment settlement time by more than 20 days.
In addition, the group improved supply chain efficiency for faster order fulfillment and delivery to help merchants optimize inventory and ensure timely order delivery. Alibaba Group’s logistics arm Cainiao has offered merchants an end-to-end logistics solution, from inventory planning, warehousing, and last-mile delivery in 21 cities across China. Cainiao has dedicated one million square meters of warehouse space and another five million squares of peripheral warehouses towards supporting merchant needs.
To minimize Covid-related cross-border supply chain disruptions, Cainiao has partnered with Tmall Global to enable merchant access to multiple warehousing locations and allow one-click inventory transfer function among these warehouses.
Also, the brand will establish Covid-related merchant exemptions. Taobao, Tmall, and Tmall Global have introduced liability exemptions to merchants impacted by the pandemic, including a mechanism for reporting shipment delays and extending the grace period for handling consumer refund requests.
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Last but not least, free livestream training will be provided on Taobao Education, the online merchant training platform. The platform will offer 6.18-themed courses to help merchants improve business operation skills, such as content marketing and membership operation training.