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Alibaba, roll out low-price strategies for Singles’ Day amid tight economy

China’s e-commerce giants are gearing up for the world’s largest online shopping season that kicks off next week, counting on bargain-basement prices to attract consumers reluctant to spend amid China’s sputtering economy.

Featuring over 80 million products at their lowest prices this year, Taobao & Tmall Group said it will focus on “serving Chinese consumers looking for value-for-money products by offering the best deals”.

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This year’s shopping festival, in its 15th year since being created by Alibaba in 2009, reflects how the country’s e-commerce giants are doubling down on low-price strategies to entice consumers amid a sputtering economic recovery and deflationary pressure.

Alibaba rival, which will kick off sales at 8pm on October 23, is also betting on what the firm calls “genuine low prices” to woo local consumers who are tightening their purse strings amid a slow economy.

The Beijing-based company is offering best-price guarantees for more than 800 million products for 30 days. If shoppers find more affordable prices elsewhere for items they bought on during this year’s sale, they will be compensated for the price difference.

“For this year’s Double 11, we will offer a large number of quality and affordable goods and many money-saving and hassle-free measures and services,” Xin Lijun, chief executive at JD Retail, said at an event in Beijing on Thursday, acknowledging that Chinese consumers have increasingly become more price sensitive.

Trudy Dai, chief executive officer of Taobao & Tmall Group, vowed a commitment to China’s consumer market, adding that there was still significant room for growth.

“The China market [is] incredibly resilient with irrefutable growth opportunities,” she said at a press conference on Friday. “Taobao and Tmall are deeply committed to serving the vast China market by partnering with brands and merchants to provide consumers with even better deals and consumption experiences.”

An online shopper checks the price cut of a Xiaomi smartphone in Alibaba’s Taobao app during the Singles’ Day shopping festival in November 2022. Photo: Simon Song

An “unprecedented level of investment” has been committed to boost consumer engagement, according to the company. For example, it will introduce a “direct discount virtual venue” that offers a 15 per cent price reduction in addition to the usual coupons that can be used across different stores.

Taobao Live, the live-streaming platform operated by the e-commerce unit, is handing out 1 billion yuan (US$136.6 million) worth of cash coupons from October 12 to 23.

The strategies came after remarks by Alibaba founder Jack Ma in an informal meeting in May, where he urged the company’s e-commerce executives to refocus on Taobao and consumers to survive brutal competition and adapt to China’s new economic reality.

This year’s Singles’ Day festival is also the first since Alibaba initiated its largest ever corporate restructuring, which was announced in March. Under the plan, the tech giant was split into six independently run entities, each free to pursue their own fundraising. However, Taobao & Tmall Group was the only core business that remained exclusively owned by Alibaba.

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For, this year’s Singles’ Day event is the first since founder and chairman Richard Liu Qiangdong’s urged the company to get back to the basics of “low prices and quality service”.

Known for its premium service and fast delivery facilitated by an in-house inventory model similar to Amazon, has opened up to smaller merchants who bring a wider range of cheaper products for penny-pinching consumers, the Post reported earlier.

The firm said vendors taking part in this year’s shopping festival have increased 1.5 times compared to last year, without offering an exact number.

Employees sort packages at a logistics centre in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, China, June 8, 2023. Photo: Bloomberg

Taobao & Tmall Group said it has seen a “record high” number of participating products, brands and merchants for the sales season this year, with around 46,000 global brands and merchants offering imported products and over 1 million brands and merchants confirming their digital marketing plans for the event.

Despite the low price and service strategies, this year will be challenging for Alibaba and, partly because of competition from the likes of Douyin and Pinduoduo, but also due to factors such as China’s weaker economic recovery, according to Li Chengdong, founder and chief analyst at Beijing-based e-commerce consultancy Dolphin.

“[E-commerce platforms] are under a lot of pressure from the rise of Pinduoduo and Douyin. This year’s price war will establish a low-price mindset [among consumers],” said Li.

The post Alibaba, roll out low-price strategies for Singles’ Day amid tight economy appeared first on CNN World Today.

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Alibaba, roll out low-price strategies for Singles’ Day amid tight economy


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