Alibaba’s Taobao is testing out a new feature on its mobile app which allows sellers the option of show Xiaohongshu, or Redbook product reviews on online stores, according to Iebrun (in Chinese).
Xiaohongshu is a popular social e-commerce platform where shoppers write reviews, share shopping experiences, and explore content on a variety of topics such as fashion, food, and travel.
The new feature can be added to what was previously the KOL review section (“大咖点评”) through the Taobao seller’s platform. Sellers, however, will have no control over which product reviews to show on their online store, Taobao’s recommendation algorithms will do the job.
Xiaohongshu is not the only platform that will be featured in the new product review section “goodies review club” (好物点评团 in Chinese), reviews from other Alibaba-associated platforms such as Taobao’s social media feature Weitao, video e-commerce app Yitiao, and the leading shopping recommendation platform SMZDM will also be found there. Shoppers can simply click to like, reply and save product reviews on Taobao.
The new feature, which Taobao reportedly started testing last week, is already being tried out by a number of beauty and cosmetics brands.
Xiaohongshu was founded by Charlwin Mao and Miranda Qu in 2013 and has since become one of China’s largest lifestyle sharing platforms. The five-year-old startup is reported to hit 100 million users by the end of May, with monthly active users (MAUs) of 30 million. Its users are predominantly post-90s millennials.
In May, Xiaohongshu also closed a $300 million Series D funding round led by internet giant Alibaba Holding with participation from other major backers including Tencent, GGV Capital, and ZhenFund. The company’s valuation came to $3 billion after the investment.
The fine line between content and e-commerce is increasingly blurred. At 2018 Observing China Forum earlier this month, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang pointed out the growing influence of content on Chinese shoppers’ purchase decisions. The emerging trend of user-generated content in e-commerce is pushing major e-commerce platforms to adopt a more creative approach.