The genie’s out of the bottle: Ocean Spray, other foreign brands clamour to join Alibaba’s e-commerce bonanza on Nov. 11 ‘Singles Day’

Chinese e-commerce giant expected to beat its one-day sales record of US$9.3 billion set last year as it increasingly globalises its online marketplace

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 October, 2015, 5:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 October, 2015, 7:30pm

Renowned American agricultural cooperative Ocean Spray, with more than US$2 billion in annual revenue, has joined a group of 5,000 international brands featured in Alibaba Group’s “Double 11” campaign, the world’s biggest online shopping festival to be held in China next month.

Ocean Spray, which is co-owned by more than 700 grower-families across the United States, sells its popular line of cranberry juices and drinks, dried fruit snacks, sauces and fresh fruit to more than 60 countries. Its first online flagship store in China is on Alibaba’s Tmall.com.

The Massachusetts-based company represents the second major US beverage supplier recently signed up by Alibaba ahead of Double 11, which is its promotional festival during the annual Singles Day celebration in mainland China on November 11.

Famous California winery Robert Mondavi launched last month its exclusive flagship online shop in Tmall, China’s largest business-to-business e-commerce platform. The winery is also one of the global brands participating in the Double 11 campaign.

Analysts expected New York-listed Alibaba to record a new global-high in one-day online retail sales next month, topping its US$9.3 billion total transactions on November 11 last year.

“Working directly with Alibaba will enable us to tell our brand story, introduce the latest product innovations and connect directly with its consumer base of 367 million [active] buyers,” said Peter Wyman, the president of Ocean Spray International.

“The consumer access and streamlined digital e-commerce business opportunity Alibaba offers are unmatched. The sky is the limit in China.”

On Singles Day, Alibaba’s Double 11 campaign will have about 40,000 participating merchants from around the world and 30,000 brands offer more than 6 million different products through its various online shopping platforms, including Tmall, Taobao Marketplace, group-buying site Juhuasan and the AliExpress global retail site.

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“We are providing the prominent American brand Ocean Spray with the ability to build brand awareness, directly engage a new audience, and meet the growing nutrition and health demands of Chinese consumers,” said Alvin Liu, the general manager of Tmall Global.

Alibaba president Michael Evans said last week that the company wanted more international brands and retailers to sell their products to consumers in the world’s second-biggest economy.

The company’s growing ties with major American suppliers of consumer goods are supported by the alliance between the US Postal Service and Cainiao, the logistics affiliate of Alibaba.

The two sides announced last month efforts to speed up the delivery of cross-border e-commerce merchandise.

Cainiao vice-president Wan Lin last month described that pact as “a key part of Alibaba’s globalisation strategy”.