Alibaba launches 11.11 global shopping festival

Alibaba unveiled pre-sales activities for its 11.11 global shopping festival, kicking off the festival period with more than three weeks of marketing promotions, "new retail" experiences and new product offerings from around the world.

Over 140,000 brands will participate in this year’s 11.11, offering promotions for more than 15 million product listings. More than 60,000 international brands will be available to the more than half a billion Chinese consumers visiting Alibaba’s platforms.

A year after Alibaba introduced its "new retail" strategy, the e-commerce giant said the fusion of the online and offline shopping experiences will be showcased this year, infusing physical retail elements in social media, interactive content and entertainment – all in one ecosystem.

Alibaba said more than 1,000 brands will be converting over 100,000 physical locations into “smart stores” which will feature new retail experiences from browsing, shopping tours, virtual fitting rooms, payments and deliveries.

Also, AR games like “catch the cat” will allow Chinese consumers to earn special promotion coupons and prizes when they find and scan the Tmall mascot using the mobile Taobao app. Tmall mascots will be featured in some retail stores including Starbucks and KFCs and other key shopping locations across China.

The shopping festival accompanying gala in Shanghai will be directed by Hollywood producer David Hill for the second year in a row, with celebrity appearances and performances live-streamed by Zhejiang TV, Beijing TV and Shenzhen TV.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways debuted a specially branded aircraft for the 11.11 shopping event. Five aircraft emblazoned with 11.11 exterior will depart from Abu Dhabi travelling to four destinations in Greater China - Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong. In the coming month, these five aircraft will carry this branding to over 40 cities across Etihad Airways' global network.

Etihad Airways’ B787 Dreamliner with the Tmall 11.11 branding