Innovación: Macy’s Creates Virtual Shopping Experiences For Single’s Day


US retailers are starting to capitalize on VR to tap into the retail market in China

Convinced Cyber Monday is the biggest shopping day of the year? Think again! Singles’ Day (or Guanggun Jie)—the quirky holiday for young people in China to celebrate that they are single—gives it a run for its money. Thanks to Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, the holiday has grown into the world’s largest online shopping day with sales topping $17.8 billion this year. Anxious to get a share of the sales, U.S. fashion retailer Macy’s jumped onto Singles’ Day this year by partnering with Alibaba to create a virtual shopping experiences.


Alibaba sold 150,000 cardboard VR headsets, similar to Google Cardboard, for 1 yuan on Taobao for shoppers to use from November 1 through November 11. The headsets enabled shoppers to virtually walk through and shop at Macy’s New York flagship store. To top things off, the experience included a car ride through Times Square, being personally greeted by a Macy’s employee and huge Singles’ Day discounts.

With the hopes to build a long-term foothold in China, other brands such as Target, Costco, and Tokyo Otaku Mode are collaborating with Alibaba to create virtual shopping experiences. Ultimately VR experiences like these enable brands to create strong bonds with their customers, moving beyond a transactional relationship where speed and efficiency reign supreme.


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Alibaba has even pioneered a virtual-reality payment system that works by nodding and is looking for other ways to create experiences through technology, such as creating a unique virtual store. No doubt Singles’ Day will embrace more tech-enabled shopping experiences to entice more customers in the years to come.


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