Betsey Johnson at Macy's Presents Fashion's Front Row Show


Macy’s Inc. is going big on Alibaba’s Tmall, and will be showcased this weekend as a “Super Brand.”

Chris Tung, Alibaba’s chief marketing officer, said Macy’s has been on the Tmall site since November, but the participation as a Super Brand will give the retailer “premier placement” on the site. Further, the placement is now reflecting Macy’s dedicated online shop on the Tmall site.

The retailer held its Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row at Madison Square Garden during New York Fashion Week. The show was hosted by Coco Lee, a Hong Kong-born, American singer-songwriter-actress. She is also married to Bruce Rockowitz, the chief executive officer of the Li & Fung spin-off Global Brands Group. The show was taped and will be broadcast on Youku, the popular video platform in China, on Friday. The show featured a musical performance from Ariana Grande, as well as designer looks from Macy’s private labels I.N.C. International Concepts and men’s suit line Tallia; Kenneth Cole; Rachel Rachel Roy; Ryan Seacrest Distinction; Tommy Hilfiger; and William Rast. The show also included the debut of Betsey Johnson xox Trolls, a collection inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming film “Trolls.”

In addition to the “front row” video, there will be a launch party in Shanghai when shoppers tune in to the Macy’s live-stream on the Tmall app. Coco Lee also will give viewers a look at her NYFW adventure as she shopped at Macy’s Herald Square.

According to Tung, the Super Brand Day concept began earlier this year, and each month 10 brands are selected for showcasing based on influence of the brand and quality of product. The brands change each month.

“We have 80 brands by now. Starbucks, Estée Lauder and Harley Davidson are some of the brands we’ve [highlighted],” Tung said. He said the brands being highlighted are featured across every Alibaba property. “There is no measure in the U.S. that’s the equivalent in the amount of eyeballs that we will get [on Super Brand Day],” Tung said.

Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief growth officer, said of the marketing promotion on Tmall, “China is a nation of 1.2 billion people. Of that 1.2 billion, a fraction of them travel overseas. The brand awareness of Macy’s is by no means ubiquitous. Showing on Super Brand Day and bringing fashion from the front row, with streaming on mobile, will bring [us] to a very large part of the population.”

Sachse said that anybody in the Chinese cities, even in tier-four cities, would be able to access the different platforms. And with “Alibaba having 20 percent of the total retail sales in China, and 70 percent of e-commerce sales in China, there is nobody in the U.S. that has that kind of market share,” Sachse explained by way of comparison on the number of eyeballs he expects the campaign to garner.

Tung added that consumers browse “more than seven times a day, or about 25 minutes per day total” in terms of time spent on the site.

Sachse said the items for sale would be an assortment of the merchandise that’s offered on the U.S. site, although for Super Brand Day there also would be special items.

Alibaba has been expanding the presence of U.S. brands to its consumers, and on Tuesday Martha Stewart headlined Alibaba’s Tmall Super Kitchen event. Martha Stewart, owned by Sequential Brands Group, has been working on opportunities for future collaboration, and a partnership is expected to be unveiled in the near term.

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