Alibaba Group’s flagship digital marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall, have harnessed the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the online shopping experience for both merchants and consumers during the 11.11 sales extravaganza, the world’s largest shopping event.
In line with Alibaba Group CEO Eddie Wu’s vision outlined earlier this year, focusing on “User First” and “AI-driven” strategies, Taobao and Tmall have introduced ten innovative AI-powered features for merchants. These tools aim to streamline various aspects of e-commerce, including copywriting, customer service, and product imaging.
- Taobao and Tmall merchants can generate product images using AI within 30 seconds
- Taobao’s generative AI chatbot has been used by more than 5 million people
Among the notable additions is the generative AI chatbot named Wenwen, meaning “asking” in Mandarin, designed to address user queries and aid shoppers in navigating the plethora of discounts available during the 11.11 sales period. Since its beta launch in September, Wenwen has engaged with over 5 million users, fielding an average of eight questions per user daily.
“This is an example of how platform companies are prioritizing consumer-centric approaches,” noted David Roth, CEO of retail practice The Store-WPP and Chairman of consultancy WPP BAV. Wenwen’s role has become crucial during the 11.11 sales, where users can inquire about the most cost-effective purchases and receive tailored responses analyzing available discounts to secure the best deals.
In addition to consumer-focused features, Alibaba has empowered merchants with free access to AI-driven tools just in time for the 11.11 sales. These tools assist in copywriting, customer service, and product imaging, helping merchants meet the demands of the promotional season. Sellers can choose from seven writing styles for quick product descriptions, utilize AI robots to address customer concerns, and generate versatile product images in various positions and backgrounds.
Forrester, the research firm, anticipates that these features will enable merchants to deliver the low prices expected by shoppers during the 11.11 promotional period.
Furthermore, a virtual business assistant is made available to merchants, aiding them in staying updated on trends, sorting through sales data to uncover insights, and offering suggestions on product titles. Collectively, these ten features have already been utilized over 200,000 times, according to Alibaba.
As market analysts predict a tentative uplift in consumer sentiment, consultancy AlixPartners expects an 18 percent year-on-year increase in total spending during this year’s 11.11 promotional period based on its recent consumer survey.
Alibaba’s integration of AI into the 11.11 shopping festival underscores the company’s commitment to leveraging technology to enhance user experiences and support its merchant ecosystem.