Taobao drops presale strategy for 618 festival amid 'user first' prioritization

Alibaba's Taobao revamps for 618 festival, focusing on user experience.

: Alibaba's marketplace Taobao has canceled its decade-long presale promotion strategy for the 618 shopping festival to enhance user experience, akin to its rival Pinduoduo. The decision, supported by internal debates among employees, aims to offer a more straightforward shopping process. Alibaba is also optimizing Taobao's web platform, introducing over 60 new features to improve shopping experience.

Alibaba's e-commerce platform Taobao has made a significant shift in its approach to the upcoming 618 shopping festival by canceling its traditional presale period, a sales tactic it had utilized for a decade to boost transactions. This strategy required consumers to pay an advance deposit and the final amount by a set date but delayed product deliveries. The move is part of Alibaba's broader strategy to prioritize user experience and simplify the shopping process, aligning it more closely with practices of its competitor, Pinduoduo. This change is expected to mitigate one of the main sources of dissatisfaction among consumers during China's prominent online shopping festivals, aiming for immediate satisfaction through quicker delivery times.

In addition to the presale policy change, Alibaba is putting renewed focus on enhancing its web-based platform for Taobao, which had been somewhat neglected in favor of the mobile app due to the pervasive use of smartphones. The recent revival of the web platform, as stated by Taobao’s website head Zhao Kun, includes the introduction of over 60 new features in a relatively short timespan, all in an effort to regain some of the lost ground in user experience. This pivot is significant, considering the historical emphasis on app-based shopping, and showcases Alibaba’s adaptive strategies in a highly competitive e-commerce landscape.

The strategic changes are part of Alibaba’s renewed “user first” approach, re-emphasized by CEO Eddie Wu. This adjustment aims at reviving the brand’s competitive edge by foregrounding consumer satisfaction and streamlining shopping procedures. Together, these moves signal Alibaba’s intention to not only compete more effectively with rivals like Pinduoduo but also to innovate in response to evolving consumer expectations and shopping behaviors, especially in the context of China's fast-paced e-commerce sector.