On February 1, Alibaba partnered with Protocol for an event titled “How tech is making sure shopping will never be the same.” Protocol President Bennett Richardson interviewed Alibaba President Michael Evans about how Alibaba’s innovative technologies are a growth engine for U.S. businesses.
“American brands are very interested in making sales, but what they're really focused on is the direct consumer contact and developing that consumer base and erecting new innovative products that are specific for the China consumer market,” said Evans.
Evans and Richardson discussed the digital innovations on Alibaba’s platforms that allow U.S. businesses to make deeper connections with customers through immersive experiences, whether it’s through entertainment, gamification, or building an online community.
Alibaba connects U.S. businesses and their products directly to the Chinese consumer. Using Alibaba’s platforms, a business owns the relationships and consumer insights and has total control over pricing, marketing, and merchandising decisions. This means Alibaba is always a partner and not a competitor to the U.S. brands selling on its platforms.
“Our strategy is to take brands, retailers, small businesses, and even farmers and their great products and put them on our platform and make this direct-to-consumer connection," said Evans. Chinese consumers love American products.”
The discussion also noted Alibaba’s commitment to ESG and sustainability, including a carbon-neutral pledge by 2030. “We don't see anything inconsistent between having a great ESG strategy and also having a great and growing commerce strategy,” said Evans.
To close the webcast, Protocol’s David Pierce's discussed how tech is changing retail with Fast's Allison Barr Allen, fabric's Faisal Masud, and Pinterest's Jeremy King. The panelists discussed the convergence of online and offline experiences to engage customers and how augmented reality is poised to change the future of retail for areas including fashion and furniture.