E-commerce giant builds Singles Day excitement early

To make the most of the world’s biggest shopping holiday, Alibaba Group is getting a jump on marketing efforts and preparations.

The e-retailer launched Singles Day pre-sale activities on Thursday. The campaign includes more than three weeks of interactive marketing promotions, new retail experiences, support and new product offerings from around the world.

Over 140,000 brands will participate in this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival event, 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.

This year’s 11.11 shopping event also plans to showcase the possibilities for the “future of retail” by illustrating the value of merging physical retail elements within social media, interactive content, and entertainment in one ecosystem at an unprecedented scale. Some online to offline initiatives include merchants utilizing various online and offline integrations under Alibaba’s New Retail models, and creating “smart stores” that feature virtual browsing, shopping tours, virtual fitting rooms, payments and deliveries.

More than 600,000 local convenience stores and 30,000 Rural Taobao service centers will also join the 11.11 event this year, and use Alibaba’s technology to digitize their businesses and to assist merchandising and inventory management. Alibaba will also feature augmented reality games that 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 thousands of retail stores including Starbucks, KFCs and other shopping locations across China, the retailer said.

For the first time, Tmall will also bring more than 100 Chinese brands overseas. It plans to offer special promotions targeting over 100 million overseas Chinese consumers in Asia and around the world.

Alibaba’s logistics network, Cainiao Network, also plans to have more than 3 million logistics personnel on hand to handle the millions of packages generated from the 24-hour shopping festival. Cainiao Network will invest over $200 million (USD) to help merchants and logistics partners handle the increase in demand.