What you ask for vs. what comes to you. It is the best-known meme in e-commerce and the nightmare of AliExpress, the involuntary protagonist of many of them due to the reputation of poor quality that weighs on some Chinese products. Perhaps in response to this bad reputation, Alibaba, the Asian giant that owns the popular online store, has chosen Spain to test how European consumers react to a new sales concept. They have called it Miravia.
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“Miravia is a lifestyle platform very focused on the fashion, health and beauty categories. Our target audience is mainly younger users, especially generation Z and millennials,” the company explains to elDiario.es.
The new Alibaba store uses constant collaborations with influencers to get closer to that audience and sell products from recognized Western brands. At Miravia it is not unusual to find clothes for over 100 euros or brands considered even luxury, such as Dsquared2, which has several pants worth more than 600 euros hanging on the platform; or Karl Lagerfeld, with jackets over 1,000 euros. No bazaar where there is everything.
However, that does not mean that it only targets young people with high purchasing power, since the platform has abundant offers and discounts. Many of them are achieved through processes gamified and games where you have to keep buying to win.
“We want to create added value by responding to the current needs and demands of consumers, even surprising them, and constantly developing a digital space that offers inspiration and trends,” the company adds.
“A Corte Inglés for generation Z”
Alibaba launched Miravia at the end of 2022, but it was not until this summer that it began to gain traction with the incorporation of new product categories and a strong back-to-school campaign. Although after its presentation many saw an attack on Amazon’s jugular, its approach as a platform is different, explains researcher Verónica Ferrer, professor at the EAE Business School.
“The entry strategy they have used is closer to El Corte Inglés than to what Amazon does. Amazon allows anyone to sell on its platform and aspires to have everything. The Miravia store, on the contrary, is curated since they put a filter and go for the top brands in their categories,” explains Ferrer.
“What happens is that then to this concept similar to that of El Corte Inglés they have added a layer of discounts, games, earning points and more offers with each purchase to reach out to young people. Miravia is like a Corte Inglés for generation Z, a market gap that until now was not occupied by anyone in such a prominent way,” continues the researcher.
Ferrer adds that the strategy makes sense since this audience is the one that buys the most online. But at the same time it is risky, since it implies getting those constant discounts from the brands and respecting that initial filter that they have imposed. “We will see if it is not just an initial strategy to gain a foothold and gain traffic.”
Miravia’s first steps are being marked by a barrage of negative reviews on the main online opinion platforms. The problems in this case are not due to the quality of the products, but due to shipments that never arrive and the impossibility of contacting the brands or the platform when returns have to be managed.
“I have only used Miravia for two orders. The first one arrived on time, broken, I’m still waiting for the money back. The second has not yet arrived since August 25. There is no way to communicate with them, I have tried by phone on countless occasions and at different times without any results,” wrote a user on TrustPilot this Tuesday, where Miravia has 1.5 stars out of 5 and 87% of users recommend against it. buy.
“They are scammers. They don’t send you the products and they don’t give you your money back. If you contact them (via chat that is not recorded because they do not have email) they do not pay any attention to you. They are very unpleasant. They blame logistics and say wait. But you can now wait forever that you are going to run out of product and money. “It has the worst customer service I have ever encountered,” says another user in OpinionesEspaña, where the company has a rating of 2.8 out of 10.
Miravia has answered most of the user complaints. In its responses, it acknowledges that its customer service “is experiencing longer than normal wait volumes due to a high volume of calls.” It offers a similar explanation to those who complain about delays in shipments: “Miravia manages delivery times of 3 to 5 business days, however certain seasons such as the current one these delivery times may be altered due to high demand” .
Company sources add in statements to elDiario.es that the platform is committed to a delivery time of 24 hours, which it meets “in more than 80% of cases.” They also emphasize that “one of the differentiating points of Miravia compared to other platforms is the attention we provide to our clients through real agents.”
A giant forced to part
Alibaba’s new business idea comes at a difficult time for the company. Its income in its last fiscal year was lower than expected (although it achieved net profits of 72,509 million yuan or 9,545 million euros) and its future as a large corporation is doomed, since the Chinese Government has forced its management to divided the group into six independent companies.
Pressure from Beijing has already forced the company’s media founder, Jack Ma, to step aside after he criticized the Government. His successor, Daniel Zhang, has surprisingly left the corporation this week even though he was expected to lead the group’s cloud computing division following its spin-off.
Alibaba’s problems with the Chinese Government date back to 2021, when it imposed a historic fine of $2.8 billion for monopolistic practices. Since then, Beijing has maintained a policy of reducing the power of its technology companies that continues to this day and has destroyed the unity of its main e-commerce multinational.