Alibaba Singles Day racks up $1 billion in sales in two minutes
ESM - Nov 13th 2017, 10:46
Alibaba Group kicked off its annual Singles’ Day shopping bonanza, logging $1 billion in gross merchandise volume within the first two minutes.
Shoppers from at least 192 countries and regions swarmed the e-commerce giant to scoop up discounted lobster, iPhones, and refrigerators. The Chinese company hosted a star-studded gala enlisting tennis star Maria Sharapova and American rapper Pharrell Williams to pump sales.
As the event got underway, 93% of transactions were done via mobile.
Analysts are expecting another record day on Alibaba’s platforms, with Citigroup predicting a 31% rise in transactions to 158 billion yuan. While that’s only half of last year’s growth rate, it still dwarfs other events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Billionaire founder Jack Ma is using this year’s event as a testing ground for his plans to revamp China’s $4 trillion traditional retail sector with technology, an experiment that could help the behemoth gain an edge in China’s saturated retail market.
November 11 emerged as a counter-cultural antidote to the sentimentality surrounding Valentine’s Day. It takes its name from the way the date is written numerically as 11/11, which resembles “bare branches,” a local expression for the unattached.
Now, it’s become an excuse for people to shop and binge on entertainment shows. Hangzhou-based Alibaba is using the occasion to test the limits of its cloud computing, delivery and payments units - businesses that could benefit from roping in traditional retailers as customers.
To that end, Alibaba teams fanned out across the nation ahead of November 11 to help outlets - some 600,000 mom-and-pop convenient stores and some 1,000 brands - upgrade their computer systems. Those retailers, many in prime city locations, will become delivery and storage centres.
To connect a tenth of China’s six million convenient stores to the internet, Alibaba uses an app called Ling Shou Tong, meaning "connect retail."
Convenience stores are provided suggestions on what to procure and how to display merchandise. The goods are shipped from dedicated Alibaba warehouses, obviating the middlemen they would otherwise have dealt with. In theory, that improves their profit.
The company is also converting 100,000 retail outlets into so-called smart stores. Brands including Levis and L’Oreal are taking part. If one shop runs short on certain inventory, customers can track availability at other locations. They can also get goods delivered to their home.
It’s early days in Alibaba’s grand retail experiment, but if it works, it could deepen a lead over Jeff Bezos’ Amazon in the fragmented world of physical retail. Ma’s company spent billions buying into grocers, shopping malls, and even department stores years before Amazon announced its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market.
Alibaba is already starting to see the initiative trickle into the top line. Revenue from new retail - mainly its Hema supermarkets and Intime department store - more than quintupled in the September quarter.
As with convenience stores, Alibaba is trying to franchise the Hema model that combines a supermarket, restaurant and fulfillment centre in a single location on its technology platform.Content ©2017 European Supermarket Magazine
Walmart profit drops, online sales slow in key holiday quarter
20/02/2018 - 15:58
Retail behemoth Walmart Inc reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and posted a sharp drop in online sales growth during the critical holiday period, sending its shares slumping more than 6 percent in premarket trade.
Walmart seeks to sell more expensive goods online
13/02/2018 - 16:30
Walmart has asked its vendors to supply it with more grocery and general merchandise items with a price tag of at least $10 in an effort to make its online merchandising efforts more profitable and better compete against Amazon.com, according to a report.
AB InBev's ZX Ventures opens craft brewery in China
09/02/2018 - 09:02
AB InBev’s venture capital division ZX Ventures has announced it will open a new craft brewery in Wuhan, China in order to tap into the growing market for premium beers in the country.
Zara opens first click-and-collect store in London
05/02/2018 - 14:05
Zara opens its first ever store in the world dedicated to click-and-collect orders at Westfield Stratford City in east London.
Amazon enjoys best ever year with record profits and sales
02/02/2018 - 14:03
Amazon has enjoyed its best-ever financial year, with quarterly profits almost reaching the $2 billion mark for the first time.