E-commerce giant integrates services to maintain customers
CGTN's Yu Wen

China's consumption continued to be strong in the second quarter of 2019. That's according to data from market research firm Nielsen. The trend of internet rocketing to band up with brands, surefire online platforms are predominated in the era.

The blooming e-commerce brings opportunities for domestic brands. Nielsen highlights the consumers' increasing preference for local products in the report. Nielsen China President Justin Sargent said that there is plenty of room for local producers to expand their businesses.

Online promotions are always popular with consumers and increase orders with merchants. Alibaba introduced a new twist to the shopping festivals last year, opening what it called its T-Mall 88 VIP membership - not just one shopping day, but a whole package of shopping services.

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

Angela Zhang is one of the 600,000 T-mall 88 VIP members, she said the membership gives her a five percent discount on over 3,000 brands, but more importantly also gives her a VIP membership to all the mobile apps that belong to Alibaba including video streaming app Yoku, music app Xiami, tour planning app Feizhu, and the Eleme food delivery site.

The 88VIP membership is designed to maintain user loyalty to the Alibaba ecosystem, a membership costs you only 88 yuan if your Taobao shopping points hit 1,000, otherwise it will cost you 888 yuan. It seems a wisest way to expand users among apps that Alibaba owns. Alice Pan, a specialist for Alibaba 88 VIP, noted the membership is a "one card for all" permit at Alibaba which covers e-commerce, shopping, entertainment and lifestyle brands.

Cui Lili, executive director of E-commerce Institute at SUFE, pointed out that integrated services are a natural evolution of the business model for heavyweight e-commerce players.

"E-commerce giants are expanding their user offers from tangible products sold on site like Tmall or Taobao to more intangible services like movies, music, and healthcare. I think this is going to be a trend. Given that the user traffic is finite, why not make full use of the existing users the sites already have?" she said.