Alibaba Group’s star-studded marketing campaign for China’s Singles’ Day has driven a surge in one day online sales, advancing its ambitions to transform the nationwide retail sector.
China has recently taken to celebrating 11 November as “Singles’ Day,” due to the resemblance of the date’s numerical form to the Chinese characters for “bare branch,” which is an unsparing vernacular term for a bachelor without offspring.
Alibaba launched a lavish marketing campaign to capitalise on the day, enlisting the help of overseas stars including actress Nicole Kidman and rapper Pharrell Williams.
According to Bloomberg the campaign helped to achieve a 39% sales boost, enabling 82 major brands including, Nike, Xiaomi and Uniqlo to surpass 100 million yuan in sales.
The event saw Alibaba sell discounted goods to buyers from over 225 different countries and regions, with 90% of sales conducted via mobile devices and the e-commerce giant processing 256,000 transactions per second at the shopping frenzy’s peak.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma also used the event as a handy opportunity to advance his plans to transform China’s $4 trillion traditional retail sector via the hi-tech integration offline and online sales.
His company dispatched teams to 600,000 convenience stores around China – or a tenth of the national total, to upgrade their computer systems, converting them into potential delivery and storage hubs for e-commerce purposes.
This mammoth task was abetted by the use of Alibaba’s Ling Shou Tong app, meaning “connect retail,” which lets convenience stores cut out the middleman for goods by accessing products directly from specialist warehouses.
As part of Alibaba’s plans to integrate online and offline sales, it is also creating 100,000 “smart stores” around China via the conversion of established retail outlets, that are lets customers track product availability and have goods delivered to their homes.
The company has already invested billion in grocers, department stores, shopping centres and logistics companies in order to advance its grand ambition to overhaul China’s nationwide retail sector.
“On the back of 11-11 we will probably have to distribute north of 700 million packages,” said Alibaba President Mike Evans to Bloomberg. “That is a massive, massive number of packages that requires a robust logistics network both in China and outside of China.
“We will continue to invest in that business, and by moving to a controlling position, we will be able to ensure the right degree of quality.”