VF Corp. Looks to Alibaba to Help Capitalize on the Chinese Market

The world is more digitally-savvy than ever: 51% of the global population are now users of the internet, according to the annual Industry Trends Report presented at Code Conference this week.

With China accounting for 21% of users and Alibaba ranked as the seventh most valuable global company, VF Corp. is capitalizing on this market and partnering with Alibaba to improve its Chinese customer strategy.

Expanding on a previous collaboration with Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C e-commerce marketplace, VF Corp. will use this as an opportunity to target likely buyers, identify category growth opportunities and tailor product designs and assortment to Chinese consumers. VF Corp. first began its work with the Tmall Innovation Center (TMIC) in February 2017.

“TMIC’s data-driven insights have enabled VF brands to better serve the Chinese customers, who make up one of the most important markets for our business and brands,” said David Wagner, executive vice president of global strategy and growth platforms at VF Corp.

VF brand Vans used insights from TMIC’s surveys and testing last year to help it select which products to launch to the Chinese market; through data-analysis, it was able to predict which would be most popular. This allowed the brand to overhaul its product inventory management ahead of Alibaba’s annual global shopping festival, 11:11. At sister brand Dickies, the label used custom chatrooms developed within the Tmall app to create virtual focus groups and online polls.

“With Tmall’s customer insights, strong technical support and in-depth market knowledge, we are eager to work with the world’s leading companies to help them bring their best products into the China market in the most-effective and efficient way,” said Liu Bo, general manager of Alibaba’s Marketing Platform Business.

The emphasis on data-driven strategy is expected to continue, with e-commerce now 15% of all retail sales, according to the Industry Trends Report. While growth has slowed to 12.4% in Q1, this is still significantly higher than the growth in physical retail; it measured 2% during the same period.

Watch the video below to see how digitally native brand Allbirds approaches e-commerce:

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