Last week, I had the honor of participating in the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, China. The event brought together heads of business and government from around the world to actively engage with China and its leaders. The major themes of this year’s conference were openness and innovation, and panel discussion topics included globalization, artificial intelligence, leadership, the future of cities, fintech and manufacturing. Below are selected retail takeaways from the event. FGRT’s full coverage of the conference can be found here.
Alibaba’s “Shopping Can Be Fun” Business Model Can Be Exported to Other Parts of the World
Alibaba has reminded us just how much fun shopping can be. The Chinese company’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, which is held each year on Singles’ Day (November 11), is predicated on fun and entertainment. This year, the festival smashed retail sales records, generating $25 billion in sales in 24 hours. Whereas some might have considered China a “copier” in the past, many Western companies are now following the country’s lead in terms of innovative technologies and business models.
In a panel discussion at the conference titled “The Next Generation of Ecommerce,” business leaders discussed the consumer experience. I proposed that Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping festival has helped positively influence how consumers think about shopping. Alibaba adds elements to the event that make participants think about shopping as a fun sport, one that includes gamification, entertainment, music and live events. The company has essentially created an entire holiday and business model with…