How to Combine Online and Offline
Chinese e-commerce retail giant Alibaba has partnered with Valentino to promote its launch of two limited-edition bags, four new sneakers styles and an assortment of small leather goods, simultaneously leveraging a real-life retail location (in the form of a pop-up shop) and a 3-D virtual store hosted on Alibaba’s Tmall Space.
The physical location will be located in Beijing’s Sanlitun neighborhood, while the 3-D virtual store, designed to look and feel like a physical Valentino location, will be launched on Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion. The partnership is another move by Alibaba to combine an online and physical retail presence, particularly as it targets luxury brands.
A ‘New Retail opportunity’
Jessica Liu, president of Tmall Fashion and Luxury said, “Valentino’s simultaneous running of a physical Candystud Factory pop-up store in Beijing and online with a Pavilion Tmall Space is a perfect illustration of how luxury brands can leverage Alibaba to engage their consumers and take advantage of the New Retail opportunity. And consumers get to enjoy the best of both worlds in a seamless and unique way.”
Alibaba has been endeavoring to attract more luxury brands with a unique blend of online and offline marketing, using Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion to offer a custom-tailored luxurious experience for its well-heeled customers. The brand has also partnered with high-profile fashion events like New York Fashion Week to give it some cachet in the space, according to The Drum.
Finding a Place for Luxury Brands Online
Alibaba is one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, so it’s making smart use of its massive troves of customer data to better conceive and implement unique experiences that will appeal to a broader swath of shoppers. In the case of the Valentino partnership, that target is luxury shoppers. The Tmall marketplace is massive in its own right, drawing in nearly 600 million monthly active mobile users. Alibaba has been pushing to attract more western luxury brands to the marketplace, which until now have been somewhat reluctant to get on board. It’s had some success in doing so with its Luxury Pavilion, launching with brands like Burberry, Hugo Boss and Maserati, according to WWD.
It’s a challenge making an online experience feel exclusive and high-end enough that a luxury brand would want to use it to launch a new product line, but that’s exactly what Alibaba is attempting with this Valentino launch. Combining the physicality of a pop-up store with a 3-D virtual store is an attempt to bring the offline and online worlds together to appeal to a brand-loyal demographic who traditionally do most of their buying in-store.