Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao Smart Logistics Network said the first 100 million parcels generated during the record-breaking 11.11 Global Shopping Festival orders were delivered in just 2.6 days, nearly five hours faster than a year ago.
The new speed record comes even as the total number of 11.11 orders processed by Alibaba Group’s logistics arm topped one billion for the first time, significantly higher than 812 million at last year’s shopping event. Both are milestones in Cainiao’s drive to improve logistics sector efficiency amid ever-present consumer demand for faster delivery.
All told, the 10th anniversary of 11.11 resulted in over 1.04 billion orders generated within 24 hours. Prior to the shopping festival, Cainiao said it had upgraded its systems and technology to be able to handle over one billion 11.11 orders. That kind of capacity is important, because the societal and economic change may lead to one billion orders a day becoming the norm in the future.
“We handled 152 million parcels during the 11.11 festival in 2013. Today, the industry is now delivering 150 million parcels every single day in China. With this pace of change, we believe that the one billion parcels handled in this year’s 11.11 will become the daily average within the next decade,” said president of Cainiao Lin Wan. “Through non-stop technological innovation and open collaboration, we want our smart logistics network to serve as a robust infrastructure to help the industry meet future needs.”
In 2013, it took nine days to deliver the first 100 million parcels. This year’s record shows how Cainiao has steadily cut delivery times, even as the number of orders it processes has surged.
The steady improvement in delivery speed reflects Cainiao’s broader efforts in building a smart logistics network, which looks to handle the peak of 11.11 – a single day – to create a foundation for handling that volume every day in the future.
For this 11.11, Cainiao updated its technologies throughout its network, including opening the largest robotic warehouse in China. From planning routes to matching inventory allocation with consumer demands, the technologies have effectively deployed resources to maximise utilisation, avoid bottlenecks and accelerate deliveries.
For the first time, new logistics systems such as a high-speed, local-to-local delivery network, made it possible for goods ordered during 11.11 to be delivered directly from stores to customers. For example, the first cup of Starbucks coffee during the 11.11 promotion was delivered by Ele.me to a customer in Shanghai in just over nine minutes after the festival’s midnight start. Delivery within minutes offers consumers a brand-new customer service standard.
Just as technology has improved significantly from last year, so has the capacity for cross-border logistics. In this year’s 11.11, five million import parcels were processed through customs clearance within less than five hours, compared to around eight hours and 57 hours to process the same number in 2017 and 2016 respectively.
To achieve this, Cainiao has worked closely with the customs in China to upgrade their systems, which can now finish clearance of some items within a matter of seconds.
Cainiao and its partners have also arranged bonded warehouses covering over one million square meters nationwide. This bonded warehouse network, which is China’s largest of its kind, has enabled international brands to store the right goods at the closest point to consumers, thereby cutting delivery time. Consumers in over 251 cities in China received their 11.11 overseas orders within same-day or next-day.