China’s Alibaba Group has set another record for Singles’ Day, racking as much as 120.7 billion yuan ($17.79 billion) in sales within 24 hours on Friday. The company, which created the annual shopping holiday on November 11, 2009, has far exceeded last year’s sales of 92.1 billion Yuan ($13.5 billion).
This year, major U.S. retailers and fashion brands such as Macy’s, Calvin Klein, and others have joined the world’s biggest online shopping event not only to earn a quick revenue but also to secure a spot in the fast-growing market.
Macy’s even made things a little special by incorporating a virtual reality experience in their first Singles’ Day entry, according to Quartz.
A few weeks earlier, Alibaba sold around 150,000 cardboard virtual reality headsets for 1 yuan ($0.15) on Taobao. Using Taobao’s app, customers were then able to virtually move around and shop inside Macy’s famous flagship store in New York City from Nov. 1-11.
Keeping in line with the Singles’ Day tradition, the store offered the discounts on Friday, the day of the shopping bonanza itself.
Macy’s is not alone in testing out the technology on Singles’ day — CostCo, Tokyo Otaku Mode and Target also participated in the virtual shopping with Alibaba.
Mike Evans, the company’s person-in-charge of its international expansion, explained that the incorporation of VR on Singles’ Day goes beyond focusing on just sales, calling the event “a test bed for the future of commerce.”
“This gives consumers a chance to more deeply engage with the product, to understand it better, and to do it in a ‘famous’ store environment,” Evans was quoted as saying.
“It is a new tool to move the relationship with their consumers beyond a highly transactional one where speed and efficiency count most, and allow the brand to create stronger bond.”