Taobao, the flagship consumer-to-consumer marketplace of Alibaba Group, has launched a special version of its mobile to better serve the needs of senior citizens to capture China’s silver economy.
Two weeks ago, Taobao posted a job advertisement to recruit “senior experience officers”, a role that will be responsible for providing feedback about senior citizens’ experiences of using its new version of the Taobao app.
According to Alibaba’s statistics, about 30 million Taobao and Tmall users are aged over 50, with more than 75 percent of them aged between 50-59, and nearly 20 percent of them aged between 60-69. In 2017, Chinese people aged over 50 spent an average of nearly RMB5,000 shopping online, buying an average of 44 products. Offering a better service to them will unleash China’s substantial potential in the silver economy.
Among them, 83-year-old Mrs. Li claimed that she buys almost everything on Taobao, while 71-year-old square-dancer Mr. Zhang said he used to buy spicy noodles from Sichuan when he first moved to the southern city of Hangzhou, until he was introduced to Taobao, where he can find everything he needs. He is now, in turn, introducing the platform to his fellow dancers.
The new elderly-focused app is the latest move in Taobao’s continued efforts to engage users of all ages and provide a personalised experience for the members of China’s aging population who are keen to participate in the digital economy and stay connected.
Alibaba says simplicity is the key feature of the elderly-friendly Taobao app. It provides easy access to Taobao’s most popular functions for seniors, including Tmall Supermarket, live-streaming programs and customised shopping recommendations. An enlarged interface and shortcuts on the app are just some of the design elements that cater to its target users.
When opening the app, potential senior users will be given the option to choose the new version, register an account with their mobile number and link the account to that of their children.
The new version will enable elderly parents to connect with their children without needing to navigate complex procedures. Their children’s profile image will appear on every interface of the app. By simply clicking the image, parents are able to initiate a chat or voice call with their children, share product links and make purchase decisions together. The children can then choose to pay for the products that their parents have selected.
“By launching this simple and user-friendly option for the Taobao app, we will make online shopping easier for our senior citizens and help them stay connected with the younger generation and the community,” says Ding Jian, senior product manager at Taobao, who heads the development of this new channel.
The Taobao app is a leading mobile commerce app in the world with 468 million monthly active users in May 2017. The company confirms that on average, each active user launches the app 7.8 times a day.