Tmall, the online platform for Western Alibaba brands, is updating the look of its virtual shops. The new concept, Flagship Store 2.0, offers more personalisation, brand experience and augmented reality.
Fan clubs and promo comparison
Tmall has developed a new format for the webshops on the platform, where personalisation is the central theme. There will be more short videos for the people who like visual media and the products themselves will be more customised: the webshop's home page will feature "likely purchases" – products that will probably be interesting to a given user.
New algorithms will seek out the best promotions and discount coupons for the consumer. The same function is available for retailers and brands, who will also gain insight into their competitors' discount actions.
In order to stimulate customer loyalty, Tmall will henceforth be using 'loyalty scores': customers will get points with each action they perform on a brand's webpage, from scrolling over playing games to writing reviews. The higher the score, the more access they'll get to exclusive 'fan club' content of that brand. This content could be anything from exclusive videos to special promotions for fans.
Lots of content, including in 3D
In terms of content, new options include AR and 3D. This new technology will allow people to present furniture virtually in their own homes or to test make-up by turning the smartphone or tablet into a smart mirror. Tmall even considers the possibility of "skin tests using artificial intelligence".
"We've seen content evolve from simple text and images to short videos and livestreaming, which has opened new doors for brand experience," says Alvin Tang, technical project leader for Tmall Flagship 2.0. "Today we can introduce more ways for brands to interact with consumers, thanks to the development of AI, AR and 3D technology".
Entire brand experience worlds
The online universe of brands in the virtual flagship stores will also be expanded with pop-up windows which consumers can drag open, allowing them to see and experience even more, apart from the webshop function as such. The link with physical stores is made with the addition of the nearest store locations, the range of products available offline and a summary of all the extra services in physical stores.
Alibaba wants to make its Tmall flagship stores more than just webshops: they'll function as business cards and brand worlds. The Chinese retail giant hasn't yet revealed when the new look will be rolled out. Alibaba simply guarantees that it will be released before Singles' Day, the annual shopping event in China on November 11th.