TMall Hey box app

TMall Heybox app: Unwrapping the secret behind successful new product launches in China

As product launches are a crucial tool for companies to foster sales growth and enhance brand awareness, in 2017, Alibaba Group‘s B2C online marketplace Tmall decided to provide its merchants with a dedicated channel to support the releases of their new products. Newly released items on the Tmall Heybox app generated an increasing amount of revenues within three years right after launching, jumping from accounting for 24% of the e-commerce platform’s turnover in 2017 to over 35% in 2020. In a few clicks, consumers can discover their favorite brands’ new products, enjoy personalized offers and recommendations, participate in raffles of limited-edition items, and try innovative products at incredibly low prices.

Heybox app: one channel, multiple tools

With its 180 million monthly active users at the beginning of 2021, the Tmall Heybox app offers a precious opportunity to brands launching products in China. Big names such as Valentino, Lanvin, Yamaha, and PlayStation have arranged prize drawings using the Tmall HeyDrop raffle tool to catch consumers’ attention and generate buzz around their limited-edition products. The key feature of such a tool is that anyone can participate in raffles at home without going out and lining up for hours at a physical store. According to China Daily, more than 30 million people have signed up for an online drawing on Tmall HeyDrop since the launch of such functionality in 2020.

Moreover, companies can test consumers’ reactions to their new releases on the Tmall Heybox product trial tool. In this section, beyond a customized list of newly launched items at bargain prices, shoppers can find daily special offers and drawings for less than 1 RMB. The product trial page includes many objects, from dairy products to lipsticks, water bottles to toothbrushes, and much more.

TMall Heybox app functionalities
Source: Zghzp, HeyDrop raffle tool

TMall Heybox is much more than just a launchpad

Tmall Heybox provides merchants with a great variety of highly sophisticated digital marketing tools.

First and foremost, it allows merchants to access Tmall Innovation Center‘s detailed consumer insights. The center was meant to become the e-commerce platform’s R&D arm: it vaunts a massive amount of data related to shoppers’ consumer habits, sellers’ strategies, consumers’ demographics, users’ cart abandonment rate, and logistics analytics. Tmall Heybox members can exploit such precious data to adapt their communication strategies and incubate new products in a shorter time.

Second, the platform extensively uses live-streaming and short videos to reach a wider audience and increase novelty-loving consumers’ engagement with newly launched products. During 2020’s Double 11, Tmall Heybox official live streaming branch HeyLive upgraded the consumer journey by providing a new immersive live shopping experience. Three famous KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) who are professionals in their respective fields turned into the anchormen of the event, demonstrating 60 new products by testing make-up, tasting snacks, unboxing home appliances, and arranging raffles during the live stream. The event attracted millions of viewers and motivated them to go for their final purchase.

In addition, Tmall Heybox holds a New Voice Conference in Shanghai West Bund Art Center every year, illustrating the trends marking new product launches in China and outlining the e-commerce platform’s annual strategy.

Tmall Heybox’s annual “China New Product Event”

On July 1st, 2021, Tmall Heybox held the 3rd “China New Product Event” featuring more than 300 brands, such as Oppo, Samsung, and Xiaomi. The “brand of the year” award went to Mars Inc., Lining, and the Chinese beauty company Proya; while the prize for “innovative international products” was awarded to Ermenegildo Zegna, Unilever, and Changsha Saturnbird Coffee Co., Ltd. According to Tmall Heybox report, “rituality,” “market niches,” “values and beliefs,” “inclusive technology,” and “kindred spirits” were some of the main trends in 2021 shaping the way new products make a successful debut in the Chinese market.

During the 4th “China New Product Event” in 2022, the introduction of the award for the “New eco-friendly product of the year” attracted a lot of attention as brands like Guerlain and Kiehl’s were nominated. The establishment of such new award was a sign of where China’s consumer market is going.

New eco-friendly product of the year” in 2022
Source: Twitter, New products nominated as “New eco-friendly product of the year” in 2022

Exploring innovative marketing strategies

Since its debut in 2017, Tmall Heybox has never stopped exploring “new paths” and continues to look for more creative ways to upgrade its user experience. Beyond introducing innovative products and brands, Tmall Heybox utilizes a unique marketing strategy that creates “a relationship among users, products and the environment.” It also adopts an omni-channel approach that simultaneously integrates live streams with offline activities.

For instance, on the 2021 Alibaba Design Week on May 14th, Tmall Heybox collaborated with popular KOL Viya to advertise exclusive designer items. Thanks to the KOL’s influence, Tmall Heybox’s designer product line HeyDesign gathered millions of views, consolidating its market share into the world of designer products. Moreover, for the offline events, Tmall Heybox invited top local digital artist Zhang Zhoujie and architect Zhang Shuojiong to create a futuristic Tmall Heybox exhibition area during the Alibaba Design Week.

During the Chinese New Year in 2022, Tmall Heybox partnered with 50 popular stores in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and other cities to launch the New Year’s activity map, providing fans with the opportunity to receive new products and other benefits. Tmall Heybox also introduced interactive events to bring customers an ultimate immersive new product experience, such as letting them unlock VIP services and visit pop-up stores.

tmall heybox app offline experience
Source: Baidu, offline scene-based product experience events

How TMall Heybox app can support companies with their product launches in China

  • Tmall Heybox app is a channel designed to help novelty-loving consumers to keep updated about their favorite brands’ new products, enjoy personalized offers and recommendations, participate in raffles of limited-edition items, and get newly released products at bargain prices.
  • Companies can utilize the Tmall Heybox raffle tool to catch consumers’ attention and generate buzz around their new products. Moreover, thanks to Tmall Heybox’s product trial tool, brands can easily collect shoppers’ feedback about their newly launched items.
  • In addition, the Tmall Heybox app provides merchants with a large set of highly sophisticated digital marketing tools. Indeed, beyond supporting member brands by granting them access to Tmall Innovation Center’s detailed analytics report, the e-commerce platform connects them with leading live streaming KOLs to expand their audience reach and enhance consumer engagement.
  • Since its debut in 2017, Tmall Heybox has never stopped exploring “new paths” and continuing to look for more creative ways to upgrade its user experiences, such as adopting an omni-channel approach that integrates live streams and offline activities. During the 2021 Alibaba Design Week on May 14th, Tmall Heybox collaborated with popular KOL Viya to demonstrate exclusive designer items. Tmall Heybox’s designer product line HeyDesign achieved millions of traffic because of the KOL’s popularity.
  • At the beginning of 2022, Tmall Heybox app launched the New Year’s activity map, bringing multiple engaging scene-based new product experiences to 50 popular stores among major cities in China. The event allowed fans to receive newly launched products and other benefits while enjoying an ultimate immersive new product experience.

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