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Alibaba extends immersive luxury shopping experience with metaverse upgrades

To mark Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s fifth anniversary, Chinese mega-marketplace Alibaba is rolling out a range of metaverse upgrades, featuring a series of events that build on the ways Tmall Luxury Pavilion is helping luxury brands connect with China’s affluent shoppers. 

According to the company’s Azilla news site, the new technologies include an augmented reality (AR) fashion show, a Meta Pass that confers priority digital access to brands’ products, from Burberry to Bogner, as well as an immersive extended reality (XR) exhibition to catch a glimpse of retail’s future.

Tmall Luxury Pavilion has experienced tremendous growth in the past five years. In 2021, the number of consumers on Tmall Luxury Pavilion grew 153% compared to 2019, while the gross merchandise volume on the platform rose by 309%. Today, it is home to more than 200 of the world’s premium luxury brands, up from 150 before the pandemic. 

It is also the first platform in China that carries products from the five major luxury groups – LVMH, Kering, Chanel, Hermès and Richemont.

As part of its drive to give these and many of the other brands selling in the site a metaverse boost, the retailer is rolling out a wide range of metaverse events 

Marquee luxury brands, such as Richemont, Kering, LVMH and OTB, gathered last week at a gala in Shanghai to mark the five-year anniversary of Tmall Luxury Pavilion.

Some of the brand representatives wandered over to a temporary exhibition created by DAMO Academy’s XR Lab and Tmall Luxury Pavilion to immerse themselves in a mock-up of a luxury boutique of the future.   

Luxury executives tried on AR glasses, held a digital luxury bag and placed it in a gift box. They could also play with brands’ mascots and hold a tiny Burberry deer in the palm of their hand. When they clicked on a product, a window appeared in front of them with product listing details.   

The virtual content was superimposed on the hall walls in a renovated industrial warehouse in Shanghai. The show offers a preview of an immersive experience of navigation and interaction while shopping, including 3D visualization of products and multi-dimensional gamification.

Later this month, the platform will run an AR fashion show in collaboration with Vogue China and various artists. Brand’s mascots will appear on a virtual runways on 22 September. Viewers on the Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s platform can interact with the mascots by taking selfies with them.

Also this month, followers of fashion within Alibaba’s ecosystem can redeem a Meta Pass, giving them free entry into the ecommerce giant’s metaverse. The pass gives the holder access to luxury services such as priority purchase of products and admission to brands’ offline activities.

Part of this Meta Pass package will be digital warrants certified on the blockchain. Consumers will be able to exchange these warrants for limited editions, including from Bogner’s 90th Anniversary snowboard, a Max Mara’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection oversized sweater, Burberry’s signature Lola bag and Marni’s fleece-lined Pablo sneakers.

In addition, Alibaba is releasing a white paper in conjunction with consultancy Roland Berger this month to help luxury brands active in China track the results of such services so that they can optimise digital strategies, boost conversion rates and improve search results.  

Analysis for Tmall Luxury Pavilion is already out. Since last year’s 11.11 festival, China’s largest shopping bonanza, 21 luxury brands have released 37 digital collections on the platform and 3,500 consumers have claimed digital collections. Nearly 70% of this techy vanguard are male, half are under the age of 30 years old and most of them live in China’s first- and second-tier cities.

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