TaoBao is constantly adding new features to keep people on the app longer, increasing the chance they’ll buy products.
Social networking features are a part of Taobao’s DNA. Years ago, the site’s chat-with-the-seller feature was one of the major reasons it was able to beat out foreign competitor eBay.
Alibaba’s team realised Chinese consumers preferred a social buying experience offline and
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the same was true online, especially in an age when ecommerce was still very new to most buyers and trust between buyer and seller had to be built.
Alibaba seems to be carrying on their online success model as it moves to mobile, adding features that make shopping on your phone even more like going to the mall with your friends.
Of course, it’s not all about social. Alibaba’s Zhang credits the social changes for the rise in how often users open the Taobao app but he said another factor was good automated product discovery features:
“We see users responding very well to a highly personalised experience on mobile Taobao. Product recommendations and the banner displays are automatically customised in accordance with individual user profiles. Merchants have also been empowered with a capability to customise the in-store displays by individual user profiles”.
So here’s the golden rule for making your e-commerce app sticky: make it social, make it personal, give users what they want.
Peter Cai is International Banking Service Manager at ANZ