Taobao University Shows How SMEs Can Thrive In The New Economic Landscape Post-Pandemic

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Taobao University, a key part of the Alibaba Group training ecosystem, recently conducted two online training webinars titled The Digital Insights 2020 – Alibaba Global Course for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on navigating the post-pandemic business landscape.

The webinars are the latest in a series of initiatives by Alibaba Group to support SMEs, the lifeblood of the global economy, in their time of need. With China being one of the first markets to be impacted by the pandemic, the webinars shared best practices from brands who were initially affected by the crisis and their subsequent path to recovery, while also sharing insights from Alibaba Group’s own experiences in managing COVID-19 as an organization.

Over 500 SMEs from across regions such as Europe, Africa, North and Southeast Asia attended these sessions by Taobao University certified lecturers. Leaders from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) also shared on the digital marketing trends in China and introduced ‘Ali-BCG DeEP’ a first-of-its-kind tool developed in partnership with Tmall, Alibaba’s premier B2C e-commerce platform, that is able to quantify the value of a brand.

“We are starting to see green shoots of recovery as consumers in China are now spending even more than before the pandemic, providing much needed revenue – especially for SMEs. More importantly, we have seen that brands that took the opportunity to go all-in on digital and online platforms are emerging stronger. We believe that the journey to post-pandemic recovery can be the same for other countries, and we hope to provide SMEs around the world with learnings based on the experience of their successful counterparts in China,” said Mr. Lei Huang, Head of Taobao University.

Succeeding Sooner by Going Online

The first session focussed on the fast-recovering consumer sentiments in China and the opportunities for SMEs online. Forest Cabin, a skincare brand in China who pivoted quickly from an offline-reliant business model to online sales and live streaming, was able to secure sales equivalent of what four stores would do in a month in just one special live streaming session.

Taobao University representatives also shared how various Alibaba businesses responded successfully to the sudden impact of the crisis, including measures taken to help partners and customers around the world. An example of Freshippo, Alibaba’s retail supermarket chain was shared which rapidly created remote pick-up and drop-off points to adhere to social distancing requirements. While Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms used live streaming channels to help farmers sell their fresh produce online working closely with Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm for prompt delivery.

New Retail, New Marketing Paradigms

The second session showcased New Retail’s role in enabling traditional retailers to survive and thrive by enriching the consumer experience from store to social, and how brands can retain foot traffic and manage disruption in the supply chain.

The Boston Consulting Group team and Tmall representative introduced‘Ali BCG DeEP’, a big data based value tool providing real-time insights on brand performance across multiple touch points and consumer segments. The session also covered the success of DeEP across major shopping events to individual products, and its role in the Tmall Marketing Accretion Platform, which now helps more than 200 global brands manage their digital brand assets.

The sessions are part of Taobao University’s repositioned goals for 2020 to educate businesses on using technology to not only mitigate the uncertainty arising from the pandemic, but to create new sustainable revenue streams online. Taobao University will be launching similar online enablement sessions over the year.

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