On 11/11/2018, Alibaba celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Global Shopping Festival. This year once again saw record-breaking sales, with 30 billion dollars generated in the space of 24 hours. Apart from these incredible figures, the 2018 edition was more than ever a huge celebration dominated by the spirit of sharing. We take a closer look at the phenomenon with Jean-Marc Mégnin, Managing Director of Shoppermind.
Obviously, China’s famous 11/11 is, above all, the opportunity to do business. During the Global Shopping Festival, a billion parcels will be dispatched within 48 hours maximum, representing revenue of 30 billion dollars. The first billion was generated in just 1 minute and 25 seconds.
For distant observers these impressive figures tend to overshadow what this special day represents: a huge celebration, shared by all the Chinese people. “Ever since the launch of the Global Shopping Festival on Singles’ Day a decade ago, the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has emphasized the fact that this day devoted to single people should above all be a day of celebration during which they feel less alone.” explains Jean-Marc Mégnin. “It is now a unique day, shared by all the Chinese people. It brings together entire families in a festive atmosphere. And everyone waves their telephone in front of the TV screen to collect virtual red envelopes to win gifts or money-off vouchers.”
For 24 hours, the entire Alibaba ecosystem and all the staff members joyfully throw themselves into ensuring the success of their company, even if it means settling for only a quick hour’s nap at their desk! It is like a big family all pulling together!
This year, Jack Ma even agreed to take on challenges such as sealing a parcel himself, face-painting himself as a cat in front of a customer, and even packing a live crab!
“The keyword for the 2018 edition is sharing!” adds Jean-Marc Mégnin. “Obviously, we shouldn’t be naive; there is always a vested interest. But Alibaba has long gone past the stage of ‘business for business’ and proposes much more than just a day of cut prices. 11/11 is a gigantic laboratory which gives free rein to creativity and innovation. Symbolically, it is the culmination of everything that Alibaba is capable of doing and will be a source of inspiration in the months that follow.”
The 2018 edition was even more spectacular
Many sceptics announced that the 11/11 phenomenon would lose momentum in 2018, considering that it would be impossible to beat the 2017 record. But they were proved wrong! “A combination of new factors ensured that this 2018 edition would be even more spectacular.” analyses Jean-Marc Mégnin.
– “Firstly, the advent of new retail, which is beginning to show its full potential: as well as the websites Taobao, Tmall and AliExpress, Alibaba has invested massively in brick-and-mortar outlets with the Hema stores, as well as 400 RT-Mart and Auchan stores equipped by the Chinese giant, as well as 1,500 Suning stores and 22 Easyhome stores. What’s more, around a hundred ‘New Retail Districts’ have been created in Beijing, in which the outlets proposed Singles’ Day special offers. Finally, 3,000 corners were put in place in the 200,000 partner stores.
– This year, Alibaba has also made a deal with Lazada, the number one online shopping and selling destination for Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. This has contributed to boosting sales.
– Lastly, for the past 4 years, the Rural Taobao initiative, launched by Alibaba, allows it to reach out to even more of the population by expanding into rural areas.
And, of course, the huge success of AliExpress has something to do with these amazing figures. “This site will undoubtedly become much more powerful than we could have imagined” announces Jean-Marc Mégnin. “We sense that something is in motion: on the Spanish and Russian versions, lots of brands are on sale, which is not yet the case on the French platform.” This is something to keep an eye on.
Whatever the channel, only the customer experience counts
Unlike in previous years, there was no doubt about how the Chinese would approach 11/11 in 2018: via their Smartphone. “It is very significant” analyses Jean-Marc Mégnin. “It is no longer an idea, it is now a reality! Alibaba is addressing a customer with mobile in hand. And this development is completely in line with new retail: whatever the channel, the important thing is that the customer experience is the same everywhere!”