Tag Archives: e-commerce

What is Alibaba?



The Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group has been in the U.S. news quite a bit lately; the company has filed paperwork to sell its stock to the public for the first time in an initial public offering (IPO). But for many Americans, the questions are what exactly is Alibaba and why is this company so important?

Started in 1995, Alibaba is the fastest growing Internet company in the world and is located in one of the largest economies in the world – China. The company’s IPO filing stated it intends to raise nearly $1 billion, but experts put the value at closer to $15-$20 billion, which would make it the largest IPO since Facebook in 2012. The company has been described as the Chinese equivalent of a combined Amazon, eBay, and PayPal. Consider this: online shopping in China is growing at an annual rate of 27%, and last year, the value of products sold on Alibaba were more than $248 billion – this is greater than the volume sold on eBay and Amazon combined. And perhaps more importantly, roughly 20% of purchases on Alibaba were made using mobile phones.

So, what is Alibaba? In short, it is arguably the world’s fastest growing, highest revenue, Internet company and is based in the world’s largest economy. Watch out, world.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the New York Times video about the company: http://nyti.ms/SxPHEm.
  2. Discuss various market strategies used by companies. What strategy is Alibaba following?
  3. What are the implications of Alibaba for U.S.-based Internet companies?
  4. How can U.S. companies partner with Alibaba?
  5. A movie is available that discusses the founding and growth of Alibaba – “Crocodile in the Yangtze”: http://www.crocodileintheyangtze.com

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other news sources

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Click-to-Buy hits the Target



Marketers have longed for the day when consumers could watch a TV show, see a product they liked, and then easily purchase it. The Internet and e-commerce have made their wishes come true. Viewers can now watch a video online and click on the item of their dreams.

Target recently debuted its first series of films designed for immediate Internet shopping. The films star famous actors Kristen Bell, Nia Long, and Zachary Abel in a series of vignettes designed to relate to the lives of working consumers. The branded entertainment videos are a series of romantic comedy films set at the actual Target Corp. headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. The films highlight beauty, home, and fashion and help to extend Target’s fall marketing campaigns.

The short films are filled entirely by Target items, including housewares, home furnishings, and fashion. When viewed online, shoppers can immediately click on items, see the price and product specifications, and add items immediately to their shopping carts, all without interrupting the story. The story does not focus on the products, but does show viewers how Target’s products can be incorporated into the average home – and then shows how the average home is worthy of being in a TV comedy.

The future of Internet shopping has arrived. All a customer has to do is view, click, and buy.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss e-commerce for marketing and sales.
2. Show the Target videos: http://fallingforyou.target.com/
3. Additional videos:




4. Discuss how the videos can be used to increase awareness and sales.
5. Ask students which products they might consider purchasing?
6. Divide students into groups. Have each group storyboard a video for a retailer to encourage consumer buying of that retailer’s products. (Ex: Home Depot, Williams Sonoma, etc.)

Source:  New York Times, Minneapolis Business Journal, other news sources, 9/26/12

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