Singles’ Day sales up 27% with retailtainment and AR experiences

China’s Singles’ Day – now known as 11/11 – is the world’s number 1 shopping day, taking place on the 11th of November. $30.8bn in sales were recorded in 24 hours.

Alibaba, the company behind the day, recorded a 27% increase in sales on last year, as measured by gross merchandise volume.

There are a number of “countdown events” in the build up to the big day. The “See Now Buy Now” fashion show was an interactive, live-streamed four-hour fashion show.

Another social media event was the “must-buy recommendation list,” in which  50 sales reps were each given 90 seconds to sell a product to the audience using diverse methods including rap and magic.

Finally there was the 11/11 Gala, a four-hour broadcast from Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena – cementing the event’s status as the Superbowl of Shopping.

Retailtainment and AR technology create experiences

The event featured super-model Miranda Kerr, pop diva Mariah Carey, Cirque de Soleil and some of Asia’s biggest pop stars.

The shopping is experiential too, not just passive. Consumers interact using their mobile devices in the shopping experience with augmented reality games and interactive treasure hunts. They can also interact during the live shows with games and challenges.

Physical installations included a pop-up in the IFC Mall in Shanghai with an interactive human claw machine.

Retailtainment is increasingly important for malls challenged by online shopping. Industry analysts note that the move to an experience economy is fuelling demand for more personal activity rather than demand for physical items. The trend known as retailtainment is seeing increasing fusion of shopping with visitor attractions.

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