Spotted: Lonely Boy Getting Caught Up In The Shopping Storm Of Alibaba’s Singles Day Sale

Our writer spent his weekend in Shanghai to experience the 24-hour shopping festival in person

A laser show of sorts greeted whoever entered through the doors of the convention hall, bathing unsuspecting individuals in a multitude of colours as they scrambled through the rows of tables for a spot to set up shop. Lively exchanges, shuffling movement, and the incessant typing on electronic gadgets contributed to the theatrics of this massive event. But all eyes were on the sprawling screen that commanded attention with an animated feline ticker, counting down to the launch of Alibaba's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in real-time.

In several gentle taps, I shared a photo I took off the scene on my smartphone, with the caption: Everyone's set, armed with their devices, to commence the online shopping frenzy once the minute hand strikes for 11.11. 

Someone texted back. Fascinating, but consumerism can be at its best and at its worst.

Always with the dramatics, my mother that is. But her observation isn't necessarily inaccurate with concerns centering around privacy and environmental implications that come with excessive consumption. But that's for another time, another story and another media outlet.

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Shop fashion & lifestyle goods smartly 

While the scene of fish carcasses strewed over shaven ice may titillate swarms of bargain-hungry aunties, witnessing Alibaba’s innovative attempt of blending online and offline retail at fashion outlets serves as a gratifying change.

Similar to the products found in Hema supermarkets, the garments on display at Hangzhou fashion outlet Aline de rose bear barcodes that are to be scanned at the associated smart machines. Once a barcode is scanned, the machine shows in-depth information of the article of clothing that is linked to the online edition found on Tmall. This includes lookbooks and reviews left by past customers on the site.

But that’s not all.

The store gets even smarter with data collection devices placed on the shelves to monitor the number of times customers have picked up each product, providing feedback to the merchants, plus traffic detection system is installed to garner data on human activity coming in and going out of the store.

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