In anticipation of the 2020 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, AliExpress, a marketplace under the Alibaba Group, has been paying close attention to macro-developments and changes in online shopping behaviour affected by COVID-19, and has responded by introducing new features and service offers ahead of the Festival. These measures are aimed at enhancing the shopper experience to create cheaper and faster delivery fulfilment.
According to the Universal Postal Union’s latest report on the pandemic’s impact on global postal operations, “international flows have been disrupted by the closure of airports, with an increasing number of postal items ‘stranded’ in the ‘logistical no-man’s land’ between sender and receiver.”
In order to ensure smooth logistics during and after the pandemic, AliExpress has been working closely with Alibaba Group logistics arm Cainiao Smart Logistics Network and last-mile logistics partners to significantly shorten the cross-border delivery time. In Europe, for example, Cainiao launched a new international air-freight route in August 2020 to speed up average delivery times between China and Europe by over 30 per cent. Selected goods shipped through the new route can now reach consumers in AliExpress’ key European markets such as Spain and France in 10 working days, with the aim to expand to more European markets in the near future.
Relying on the overseas warehouses in Europe serving AliExpress merchants, the Cainiao intra-Europe trucking network taps advanced algorithms to generate the most-efficient loading plans and transportation routes for its fleet, as well as the optimal number of trucks to deploy in real time. Tapping on this line-haul network and collaborating with local last-mile delivery providers, AliExpress is able to connect partner warehouses and transport hubs in Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, achieving three-day delivery in Spain, France and Poland, five to seven days in other European countries.
Big-ticket items like furniture and motorcycles, continue to be a pain point for many manufacturers around the world, as they find it hard to ship directly to retail shoppers. To address this, AliExpress recently launched a cross-border logistics solution dedicated to large items – products of more than 4 metres in length and width, or weighing more than 300kg. Now, with just one click and at affordable shipping prices, heavy items like beds and motorcycles can be transported to overseas retail shoppers.
Cai Weimin, overseas general manager at Zhejiang Bendi Vehicle Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and an AliExpress merchant, said: “We have prepared 3,000 motorcycles for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, and they are ready for shipping. We expect these motorcycles to be sold out within one to two weeks.”
The OECD recently projected that increased accessibility to more products at more affordable prices would be a significantly important market development, in the context of reductions in purchasing power from pandemic-related economic fallout. In line with this, AliExpress has observed that consumers are becoming more cautious in making purchase decisions and turning to cross-border options for better prices.
AliExpress proprietary data shows big-ticket items and premium product categories that satisfy consumer demand shifts brought about by COVID-19 have seen sharp lifts in sales. It shows an overall upward trending on GMV for categories like tablets, electric scooters, mobile phones, and smartwatches, between April and August 2020.
- 50 per cent increase in GMV for tablets
- 225 per cent increase in GMV for electric scooters
- 60 per cent increase in GMV for mobile phones
- 140 per cent increase in GMV for smartwatches