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“Nudging” the right way, Alibaba’s sales boom & Big Tech regulation

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This week, we've been astounded by the figures released from Alibaba's 'Global Shopping Festival', learned how to put behavioural science into practice and considered two sides of the Big Tech regulation debate.
global perspectives title

Global Perspectives is our regular round-up of the best marketing ideas and insights to inform and inspire. Here’s what’s grabbed my attention this week…


If you need more evidence that online retail has exploded then you need look no further than the figures coming from Alibaba’s “Global Shopping Festival” (The traditional ‘Singles Day’ re-christened and expanded). Sales were $74.1B. Say what!

That’s double last year!!!!

But look at the figures in more depth and it becomes even more astounding.

  • 474 brands exceeded RMB100M in sales  (*RMB = China’s official currency)
  • 31,766 overseas brand offered up products on their dedicated cross border platforms
  • 1.2 million new products vs 2019
  • 10,000 hours of live streaming from brands around product features and usage

Covid has undoubtedly driven this explosion but once consumer habits are made they are hard to undo.

“Covid-19 has changed the world, and we all went more digital. So, what was already a very strong digitalization has just accelerated another source of convenience for the customer,” said Coach China President and CEO Yann Bozec.

Expect more of the same when Cyber Monday figures get released. I mentioned last week that the high street was going to have to innovate and do it fast with examples from Ikea, Citadium and Walgreens.

Behavioural science and marketing

Having read a lot about behavioural science and marketing I conceptually agree 100%. However as a marketer I always found it difficult to apply. That’s why this little example of how to create a “nudge” is so helpful.

Staying on topic of behavioural science it’s why we think and behave in the moment, under-estimate the risk from Covid and don’t respond logically to marketing campaigns.

I wanted to dive in deeper so this week I’ve been reading this great research resource on nudging and students, listening to Blinkist’s ‘Great Mental Models’ Volume 2,  and revisited Rory Sutherlands excellent unbound presentation on the subject (and more).

Big Tech Regulation (cont.)

Last week I mentioned the New Yorker article on why Facebook can’t regulate itself. This week it’s the turn of Google. I’m sure most of our readers will be aware of the DOJ’s lawsuit against Google but, like me, you may be light on the why. If so, I’d recommend Ben Thompson over at Stratechery who always provides colour and perspective to key issues.

However it’s only one perspective and Tim Wu, veteran of the Obama administration, author of “The Curse of Bigness”, and currently a professor at Columbia, begs to differ.

A healthy debate has broken out which is both insightful and respectful (mostly!):

Expect more in the coming days and weeks…..

Finally, I found this analysis of Facebook’s role in news distribution both fascinating and disturbing. “With great power comes great responsibility” said lots of people for 300 years and not just Spiderman like the urban myth said. False news is indeed widespread!


Give us your perspective in the comments below!

Craig Hanna
Author: Craig Hanna
Managing Editor at GMA |

Craig Hanna is part owner and regular contributor to the GMA. He is also a product manager at Acquia for Site Studio, a low-code platform for building and managing enterprise websites in Drupal 8 (Craig was a co-founder of what was known as Cohesion before its acquisition by Acquia). Previously Craig established the training and consultancy business at www.econsultancy,com (Now part of Centaur Plc) and was responsible for the launch of their US office..

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