Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba‘s plans for a mobile version of its annual shopping festival generated little buzz, the company admitted, which makes it seem like the company’s grand mobile shopping event fell flat.
However, Alibaba says the event was meant instead to shine the spotlight on online-to-offline purchases. This means consumers reserve and pay for purchases that have to be redeemed in real life by using mobile devices instead of cash.
In total, more than 2 million discounted movie tickets, 35,000 restaurant reservations and 19.8 million karaoke songs were redeemed on March 8 during the Mobile Taobao 3.8 Life Festival. Alibaba didn’t reveal how much consumers spent.
Comparatively, Alibaba’s annual 11.11 Shopping Festival – China’s answer to America’s Cyber Monday shopping bonanza — saw Chinese shoppers splurge a jaw-dropping record CNY35.01 billion ($5.7 billion) in just 24 hours last year. About 21 percent of the orders were placed via mobile devices, which could have made Alibaba tempted to tap on this potential.
Yet if Alibaba wants to focus on using mobile devices to drive purchases that can be redeemed offline, it seems like there’s still some way to go — as witnessed in its Mobile Taobao 3.8 Life Festival. Alibaba’s mobile efforts come as Chinese Internet giant Tencent announced a strategic partnership with online retailer JD.com today, waging war on the e-commerce stalwart in China.
Headline image via Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images