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Alibaba’s Tmall Gives US Brands Chance to Pitch Products Ahead of Singles Day

Alibaba is looking to enable more U.S. brands to cash in on its Singles Day festivities ahead of time with the introduction of a “Shark Tank”-like virtual event. Alibaba’s Tmall Global launched the Go Global 11.11 Pitch Fest, an event designed to help brands promote their products to a panel of industry experts to receive valuable advice on how to grow their business globally and in China.

The winning brands that have successful pitches will be selected to participate in Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival this year, and their products will be featured on the marketplace during the shopping festival.

Ahead of Alibaba’s Single’s Day festival, which generated $38.4 billion of gross merchandise value (GMV) in a 24-hour span last year, select entrants will be launched on Tmall Global through its Overseas Fulfillment program.

The Overseas Fulfillment program is a new cooperation model designed to help overseas brands target and test China’s growing middle-class consumer base while using a Los Angeles-based warehouses for direct fulfillment, ultimately reducing the brands’ operational and logistics costs. That way, the brands don’t need to have a physical presence in the market to sell to consumers. Analytics generated from platform, such as sales performance and consumer preferences, can help brands make more-informed decisions about their China strategy.

The deadline for submission is Sept. 4 and the Pitch Fest will take place virtually on Sept. 15. After the Pitch Fest, the Tmall Global team will fast-track the onboarding processes for selected brands from Sept. 16-18. Then, within Sept. 21-Oct. 2, the brands then send their inventory to Tmall Global’s warehouse, before launching their products in a mini promotional campaign in mid-to-late October.

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On Nov. 1, the brand that sells the most in GMV since being onboarded will receive additional resources from Tmall and free exposure during the festival.

Tmall Global, the platform specifically designed to helps overseas brands and merchants reach Chinese consumers directly, has seen rapid growth from Western brands during the pandemic, with the marketplace launching more than 100 U.S. brands over the past three months alone, more than double the number launched over the same period last year. GMV, excluding unpaid orders, grew over 40 percent year over year in Alibaba’s first quarter.

Alibaba said its annual active customers on its China retail marketplaces grew 16 million to 742 million since the March 31 end of the last fiscal year, so Western brands have plenty of untapped territory to cater to. Overall, Tmall’s GMV for online physical goods, excluding unpaid orders, grew 27 percent year over year in the quarter.

“Alibaba’s primary commercial focus in the U.S. is to support American brands, retailers, small businesses and farmers to sell to consumers and trade partners in China as well as other key markets around the world,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang in an earnings call. “We are closely monitoring the latest shift in U.S. government policies towards Chinese companies which is a very fluid situation. We are assessing the situation and any potential impact carefully and thoroughly, and will take necessary actions to comply with any new regulations.”

The Go Global 11.11 Pitch Fest welcomes applications from U.S. small and medium-sized businesses that Tmall Global defines as “e-commerce ready,” meaning the brand has a unique universal product code (UPC) on each product, as well as images and detailed product descriptions.

Other areas that would be evaluated by the Tmall Global business development team upon selection include whether the brand has a unique product selling point or brand story, whether they have dedicated personnel to work with them for setup and selling and whether they are asking for a reasonable wholesale cost to help with marketing and promotions.

Brands across categories are encouraged to apply, including apparel and accessories, beauty and personal care, electronics, home, food and beverage, health and wellness, baby and maternity, toys and pet products.

U.S.-based brands that recently joined Tmall Global include apparel brand Avocado, skincare brand Supergoop and cosmetics brand ColourPop.