AI to Power Alibaba’s 11.11 Shopping Festival Aiming to Break Online Sales Records

Alibaba Group has announced that a record number of brands and merchants are gearing up to participate in the world’s largest retail sales event, 11.11, also known as Double 11 or Singles’ Day, in China.
Alibaba Kicks off 2023’s 11.11The online sales festival, which begins next Tuesday, is pivotal for businesses of all sizes, aiming to enhance their brand presence among Chinese consumers and introduce products to the world’s second-largest economy. This event consistently surpasses the combined sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The 2023 Taobao Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is expected to attract over 1 billion consumers, with more than 1 million brands and merchants offering an array of products. Content creation is taking center stage, with a significant increase in investment in short video campaigns, surging over four-fold compared to the previous year.

E-commerce’s share of total retail sales in the country has continued to rise, even in the post-pandemic era. Trudy Dai, CEO of Taobao and Tmall Group, the Alibaba-owned business group housing the two digital marketplaces, expressed confidence in the growth potential of the Chinese market. “We firmly believe the China market still has significant room for growth. The country’s manufacturing has huge potential for further upgrades. Consumer demand in China is massive.”

In light of global economic uncertainty, consumers are increasingly seeking value-for-money products, prompting Alibaba to offer an array of discounts and coupons to attract bargain hunters while supporting merchants and content creators. This year, shoppers can also leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to discover the best bargains.

During the 19-day campaign, Alibaba’s marketplaces offer enticing discounts. Tmall is offering a discount of RMB50 ($6.84) for every RMB300 spent, equivalent to a 17 percent discount, while Taobao is providing RMB30 off for every RMB200 spent, resulting in a 15 percent discount on purchases. A large-scale direct discount virtual venue with a 15 percent price reduction across the board will be introduced, alongside the usual coupons valid at various stores. Tmall will label products with the lowest price based on real-time price comparisons with other e-commerce platforms in China.

The shopping event runs from October 24 to November 11, divided into several phases. During pre-sales windows, consumers can reserve goods at 11.11 prices and add them to their shopping carts, with the option to complete the purchase once a payment window opens.

What started with just 27 brands in 2019, Alibaba’s 11.11 event is now in its 15th year and has expanded globally, with retailers in the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia participating. This year’s event sees a record number of products, brands, and merchants joining in, with around 46,000 brands and merchants promoting overseas products.

In a technological twist, the festival is going high-tech, with AI-powered searches on the Taobao app. The app’s chatbot “Taobao Wenwen” will assist shoppers in finding the best products, offering tailored product recommendations and calculating the best prices based on available discounts. This AI application has gained popularity during beta testing, with over 5 million users benefitting from its capabilities.

As a sign of returning confidence in the market, the number of merchants registering new stores on Tmall more than doubled year-over-year in the three months ending September. Among them, 42 percent are direct-to-consumer brands established by Chinese manufacturers. The top five industries contributing to this wave of store openings were consumer electronics, clothing and fashion, home decoration, food, and health.

Alibaba’s 11.11 Shopping Festival continues to be a global retail phenomenon, attracting businesses and consumers alike with its impressive scale and innovative offerings.