Brands / Results

Small businesses enjoy big wins during 11.11 event

Thousands of small businesses from around the world were among the big winners at the recent 11.11 shopping festival, with brands selling everything from training shoes to floorcare products cleaning up this year.

Brands, retailers, SMEs and farmers from the US alone generated $5.4 billion in sales on Alibaba platforms, contributing to a total for the event of $74.1 billion, Alibaba reports.

San Francisco-based Allbirds, which launched on the Tmall platform in April 2019, focused its energies on providing customer service online when the pandemic struck this year, enabling live video chat to link customers with retail staff who would ordinarily be working in physical retail stores.

During 11.11, Allbirds released a special-edition shoe designed exclusively to appeal to Chinese consumers, and used the festival to educate Chinese shoppers about its sustainably made products. This year’s 11.11 sales were three times higher than last year’s and Allbirds says its 2020 China sales will more than double its 2019 sales, mainly driven by Tmall.

The US skincare brand Pipette, which launched just 14 months ago, used the 11.11 festival this year to make its entry into the China market. Speaking to Bloomberg, president Daya Fields said being part of 11.11 was essential for brands seeking to understand and be noticed by Chinese shoppers.

“If you are a new brand, a small brand, it’s the perfect time to get into the mix. We can learn a lot about that Chinese consumer, how she reacts to us, if she’s buying us, what she likes., what she doesn’t like, and we can learn a lot about the transactions that are going to go online. For us, this is the first step in our entry into the Chinese market.”

Pipette was one of the brands to win Alibaba’s first Go Global 11.11 Pitch Fest, developed to help small and medium-sized US brands expand their businesses globally through 11.11. Nearly 100 brands applied and eight were selected to participate to receive guidance and support from Tmall Global’s team of experts to fast-track their entry into the China market.

Other US brands generating big sales this 11.11 included Bissell, a family-run business based in Michigan which more than quadrupled sales this year compared to last year’s festival.

“I’m happy to report we had a really great year! We livestreamed from our office to Tmall for 16 hours straight,” said Max Bissell, the company’s director of deep-cleaning systems. “The scale in China is huge… we’re pleased to share that we over-delivered and the team in Michigan is ecstatic.”