by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic credit: www.alibabagroup.com
CHINA’S largest social commerce platform Taobao has upgraded its Taobao Maker Festival (TMF) by launching a rating system that rewards young creators and small businesses with greater market exposure.
The new rating system is expected to highlight the entrepreneurs’ creativity in making their products more accessible to over 840 million China retail marketplace users.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd CMO Chris Tung (picture) said it is important to help young creators as they are shaping up the future and leading the way.
“We have been observing what’s happening on Taobao for the last five years. More and more young merchants are coming from a different industry like tech innovators, fashion designers and gadget makers to launch their storefront online and to introduce what they stand for.
“It’s no longer just a buy-and-sell relationship, they are making friends, creating communities and telling stories,” he said in a virtual press conference recently.
An independent panel of judges comprising industry experts will review and rate all the TMF merchants that have participated over the past five years.
The four-tiered rating system will reward digital badges to approximately 200 merchants. Products from the rated merchants will be included in the personalised product recommendation feature “Good Find” section on Taobao.
Tung added that the initiative is driven by the group’s long-standing goal of helping small businesses and young makers to achieve their dreams and find success.
“The new rating system promotes and celebrates originality and creativity. It will enable merchants to leverage their participation in the TMF into a source of year-round benefit for growing their business and customers.
“Beyond the festival, we are leveraging lots of content tools and products on Taobao platform such as live streaming. It’s a huge market, we have more than one million merchants that are showcasing their products on live-streaming services,” he said.
Other flagship tools benefitting from the strategy include Taobao Live, Weitao (a social media platform on Taobao), short-form video, microblogs and the curated recommendation channel “Good Find”.
As a result of the strategy, Taobao has seen a major boost in the number of creative merchants, which now counts more than 200,000, representing a 200% growth from 2018.
The launch coincides with the fifth anniversary of TMF, which will combine virtual exhibition with a merchant road trip to engage with local fan communities in four cities namely Hangzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu and Wuhan.
For four days starting Aug 10, Taobao will launch its online exhibition, supported by Taobao Life, a 3D avatar-based virtual world. Taobao users can visit a six-themed online pavilion using their unique avatar, interacting with the virtual figures of celebrities.
“Since we launched TMF four years ago, we have received lots of requests from the major cities in China asking if we could go to their cities to do the festival.
“In light of the pandemic, we think instead of us holding a huge scale exhibition, why don’t we take TMF to our fans? So, we thought about this caravan idea,” said Tung.
During the 20-day road trip, which starts in Hangzhou, a large truck will be converted into mobile storefronts to allow dozens of merchants to display their products in each city.
Taobao and selected makers will also hold mini offline events that draw on each city’s unique culture and heritage.
On taking TMF globally, Tung said it is always their vision, and that this year’s merchant road trip in China is the first step.
“We’ll see how it goes from there. After that, we’re going to think about doing more and hopefully go beyond China very soon,” he added.