Alibaba moves to set new Singles' Day shopping record
By Xie Jun
Global Times

Employees of an e-commerce company in the Changxing economic development zone, East China's Zhejiang Province, pack products Friday, several hours before Singles' Day. Over a billion deliveries are expected during this year's shopping carnival. Photo: IC

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings is upgrading its offshore retail experience to assist online sales, in an attempt to set a new record on Singles' Day, or the annual online shopping bonanza on Saturday. 
Last year's event saw sales on, the e-commerce website under Alibaba, surpass 12 billion yuan ($1.81 billion), 3 billion yuan higher than the figure for 2015. 
A statement Alibaba sent to the Global Times said the company is integrating both online and offline channels to maximize sales during the shopping carnival. 
This year, many brands' offline stores in as many as 200 countries and regions have joined the carnival with shopping discounts. 
Over 15 million types of goods from 140,000 brands will be available through tmall shopping platform, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Alibaba has also been trying to boost online sales by upgrading the offline shopping experience with the help from advanced technologies. For example, Alibaba has set up offline "pop-up" stores for several brands to help assist their online sales performance, and high-tech products will be used to provide a novel shopping experience. 
The Global Times on Thursday visited one of those pop-up stores, a store for Japanese cosmetics brand Shiseido which would be open from Wednesday to Sunday at a shopping mall in Shanghai. 
Alibaba has installed a digital device which would allow customers to view how they would look like with Shiseido's lipstick. 
They can also press a button on the digital screen of that device, which would help them shop on on their mobile phones. 
At a pop-up store for US brand Clarisonic (skincare machine seller), the Global Times saw a large artificial intelligence display stand. 
Customers who scan the display stand with their mobile phones can receive a link to buy products from brand's tmall store. 
Li Yi, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Internet Research Center, told the Global Times Friday that Alibaba's online business has grown to the point that it needs to explore new markets with rapid expansion potentials, which explains why it has started to explore offline markets.