June 12, 2014, 12:32 PM

Alibaba promotes a mobile marketing system with Pepsi and Tsingtao Beer

Chinese consumers will be able to scan QR codes on 1.6 billion beverage cans with their mobile phones to win prizes.

Lead Photo

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has added a feature to its Taobao mobile app that allows consumers to use their mobile phones to scan QR codes to win prizes or get product information.

Alibaba is launching the “Ma Shang Tao” feature via a big summertime promotion with PepsiCo and Tsingtao Brewery, maker of a popular Chinese beer. Each of the two beverage manufacturers will distribute 800 million cans this summer with QR codes that Chinese consumers can scan to find out if they have won a free can of Pepsi or Tsingtao beer.

Consumers can also use this feature to scan codes on product packages to download coupons or access after-sales service from more than 300,000 online and offline merchants, Alibaba says. For example, a consumer can scan a code to download product instructions or click a button to talk to a customer representative.

“Our aim is to broaden the applicability and usability of scannable codes so that users can easily be connected to additional services and content, as well as to create multiple gateways and touch points into our ecosystem via any mobile device, anytime, anywhere,” says Daniel Zhang, chief operating officer of Alibaba Group. “We hope this initiative will give consumers the ability to unlock more personalized, customer-oriented potential from their shopping and entertainment activities via our platforms and services, as well as help our merchants to deepen their engagement and interaction with customers.”

When consumers open the Taobao mobile app, the “Ma Shang Tao” option is the first feature under the Discover category on the first page. The Discover category mainly sells Groupon-like discounts for local services, such as reduced-price theater tickets and coupons for local restaurants.

Through the code-scanning app, Alibaba will learn more about consumers’ behavior, and Alibaba says it will share that data with participating brands and retailers.

This feature provides a way for Alibaba to learn more about consumers who use its Aliyun mobile operating system, Jodie Ding, an e-commerce analyst at Chinese market research firm iResearch, tells Internet Retailer. 

“Merchants such as PepsiCo can use Aliyun to collect consumer behavior data for market research or for promoting repeat purchases,” she says.

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