Since its launch in May 2003, Alibaba’s Taobao, China’s largest online marketplace, has become the shopping destination of choice for Chinese consumers looking for a full selection of products and value for money. But not only. Taobao Global is gradually shifting Taobao’s focus from a consumer-to-consumer sales channel into a lifestyle destination for China’s new generation. Millennials, who are the driving force behind Taobao, seek for more original and personal item. According to China’s leading tech media TechNode, Taobao has over 500 million registered users, 60 million daily visitors, and 48 thousand items sold per minute. South China Morning Post recently revealed that Alibaba sales soar 59pc as Chinese continue shopping online despite slowing economy. One of the significant reasons behind Taobao’s success is its innovation and creativity.
Taobao Global Promote Creativity to Attract a Younger Audience
Buyers in Taobao Global
More than 70% cent of Taobao customers are in their 20s and 30s. They usually buy good quality substitute products, which are similar but not made by well-known luxury brands. Also, more and more buyers are now willing to shop better quality items, with a unique style, rather than just cheap, functional products or substitutes. All these needs can be satisfied with the various kinds of stores in Taobao. Furthermore, Taobao is making its interface and service more and more attractive and user-friendly.
Sellers in Taobao Global
To attract more buyers and original brands, and shake off its reputation as a market for cheap and counterfeit goods, Taobao is showcasing stores selling unique items on its flagship Taobao platform. Taobao understood its audience: more than a third of shop owners are born after 1990. For the young creative merchants, Taobao organized in July a three-day Taobao Maker Festival at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition Center, where sellers could promote their brands and showcase their designs and creations. It is a win-win strategy for both sides. Young creators who lack the experience and resources to protect their intellectual property, secure patent and trademark rights can benefit from the e-commerce giant’s structure. On the other hand, this strategy increases Taobao’s overall consumption and reputation towards young users.
Taobao Global: Add More Social Features into the Mobile App
Mobile Taobao, launched in 2009, currently has 369 million monthly active users who spend more than 25 minutes a day using the app. According to Alibaba’s chief executive Daniel Zhang, “users open their apps seven times a day”. The strategy behind it is to incorporate many social features into their mobile app, to make it more lifestyle oriented. These social features extend actually users visiting frequency. Just as Daniel Zhang said to the South Morning Post, “Taobao is more like a social commerce app rather than a marketplace.”
For example, in Taobao’s updated app, users can do live broadcasting in the “Weitao” section. They can also watch live broadcast when buying online. Another part of the menu is the “Community”, where users can share their pictures and post reviews about the products they are using. Viewers can also comment or “like.” In this sense, this community is similar to Instagram. Although more improvements could be made, most of the users are satisfied with these new updates.
Taobao Virtual Reality: Taobao Global bid for an interactive shopping experience
In July, Alibaba launched its Taobao virtual reality shopping program during the weekend amid a global VR frenzy. Although the company warned that commercialization of the VR technology was still some time away, enough attention has been paid by the public. This new technology will allow users to select apparel and accessories with the help of a 360-degree panoramic view and assistance from a robotic shopping assistant.
Although the initial market for VR and AR (augmented reality) is yet to be developed in China, the industry is going to be ready and mature as time goes by. Taobao will be well prepared for VR, and a new trend of innovation is coming along with it. One of the secrets of Taobao Alibaba’s success is the persistent pursuit of innovation, always heading at the first of the market. In today’s e-commerce C2C market of China, Taobao Global will likely continue to hold the leading position. Although competitors exist in Chinese e-commerce markets like Tencent’s PaiPai and E-bay, it is still an oligopolistic market structure, considering their market share and popularity.