Alibaba’s Singles Day (11.11) annual shopping festival is less than a month away. The Chinese company is preparing to make it even more successful than last year’s Singles Day event when Alibaba sold goods worth $9.34 billion within 24 hours. While the Hangzhou-based company will be focusing on cross-border commerce this year, it also wants merchants to start offering online discounts in offline stores.

Alibaba Wants Merchants To Offer Online Discounts In Offline Stores

Alibaba to offer a more seamless experience

Alibaba said in a blog post that tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar stores will participate in the Singles Day shopping fest through “omni-channel retailing.” The company is encouraging merchants to better integrate their largely independent offline and online operations to offer consumers a “more seamless experience.” Alibaba said it will bring “new value to traditional businesses.”

The company’s omni-channel retailing combines the convenience of online purchasing with the instant gratification of brick-and-mortar shopping. The e-commerce giant said that today through Nov.11, all the Singles Day festival products, services, prices, logistics and other benefits available to online shoppers will also be available to brick-and-mortar shoppers.

Singles Day shopping event critical for Alibaba

About 180,000 stores across 330 cities will participate in its omni-channel retailing during the Singles Day event. Participants include electronics retailer Suning, in which Alibaba invested $4.6 billion in August, and Alibaba-backed Intime department stores as well as appliances maker Haier. International brands such as Mars, Estée Lauder, and Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook are also participating.

Amid China’s slowing economy, the Singles Day event will be critical for Alibaba. The company’s cross-border and global commerce strategy may help it boost GMV, but Alibaba has been criticized by international brands in recent months for not doing enough to curb the sales of fake goods on its sites. Earlier this month, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) asked the US Trade Representative to put Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace back in the list of “notorious markets.” The Chinese company is lobbying hard to stay off the list.