The e-commerce giant said in a statement the event, hosted by Tmall Juhuasuan, an Alibaba business unit, in partnership with Tmall International, the internet firm’s popular B2C platform, witnessed the creation at a university in Hangzhou of a unique smart milk station modeled on the look and feel of a conventional roadside gas station.
The site, designed to heighten interest in milk as a product that should be a part of everyone’s daily diet is a 300-square-meter milk station. College students receive recommendations on the type of milk that meets their requirements after taking a quick quiz to determine preferences. Brands included Nestle, Freedom, Fonterra and Tmall International’s direct-sale brands Maxigenes and Devondale.
After adding milk, students had a chance of winning at the onsite hammer game, akin to those seen at fun fairs, and received the officially certified “milk power value”. Those with the higher milk power value uploaded his photo onto the screen, and became the spokesperson for the milk station.
Alibaba said the event attracted many college students and other passers-by who enjoy games of competition and are passionate about expressing themselves, “I am the best at adding milk to my diet.”
The Juhuasuan Smart Milk Station included a new retail convenience store, similar to the convenience outlets inside conventional gas stations. Without cashiers or registers, shoppers saw the detailed product information on the overhead TV screen once he selected an item off a shelf, and then completed the purchase by scanning the QR code and placing the order for the product online.
Alibaba said the purchase experience is fully in line with what is referred to in Chinese as the “regimen”, especially the fancy “punk regimen” popular with the country’s millennials: staying up all night, drinking the most expensive milk, eating calcium tablets while drinking cola and using the eye-protection green wallpaper available on mobile phones for playing games in the middle of the night. But the imaginative and, what may seem irrational to their elders, “regimen” is highly popular.
According to a data analysis by Alibaba, the millennials, and especially those of college age, prefer choosing the rich-tasting, high-nutrition and easy-to-brew Australian-imported milk powder as a dietary supplement to keep oneself feeling energized in the midst of a busy, and often nerve-racking, academic life.
Catering to the preferences of today’s youth, Juhuasuan and Tmall International shorten the distance between brands and these new consumers through the unprecedented yet, as early results indicate, popular approach based on a conventional gas station, as, it had been noted, the demographic segment habitually loads up on needs at the convenience stores located within such stations. The approach ensures a healthier “regimen” for the younger consumers in line with the stringent standards of Tmall International. It is these same standards that led to the selection of high-quality Australian-imported milk.
Based on Alibaba’s big data analysis, the creative team behind the project
first analyzed the shopping behavior among adult milk powder consumers. With an understanding of the psychology of China’s millennials, the team spread news about the event far and wide, experimenting with different approaches to what is referred to as “new retail”.
Having identified dairy products imported from Australia as a good fit, Juhuasuan teamed up with Tmall International to recommend products to specific consumers using various novel approaches, kicking off a series of promotions and other types of campaigns.
The smart shelf monitors selections made by shoppers in real time, quickly processing the information in order to make on-the-spot recommendations as the shopper moves through the aisles, while perfecting the logistics of the sales process to maximize the quality of the shopping experience. These efforts allowed the Juhuasuan smart milk station marketing event to successfully complete the closed loop combining online and offline sales.