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Belk and Alibaba Take Different Paths Toward Expanding Inclusivity

Belk
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Inclusivity is fast becoming an important imperative for retailers, but determining how best to achieve it can present big challenges. Two recent examples of retailers building inclusivity in their own ways include Belk’s new Wonderly clothing line, which features a full assortment in sizes four to 26; and Alibaba’s latest 11.11 shopping festival, which will utilize a recently introduced “senior mode” in the Taobao app to help less tech-savvy shoppers participate.

Wonderly focuses on casual items available in earthy colors that are designed to combine on-trend fashion and comfort. The brand includes a full range of items, including feminine tops and dresses as well as a denim collection designed with a variety of leg shapes and washes. The collection also encompasses the athleisure brand Wonderly Studio, which marks Belk’s private label entry in the growing activewear category.

Alibaba’s inclusivity efforts are focused on its specialty: ecommerce. The Taobao app’s senior mode includes voice-assisted technology, simplified navigation and larger font sizes and icons to make it easier for senior citizens to shop using mobile technology. The app’s homepage also has added games that elderly users can play to unlock special discounts for groceries.

This year’s 11.11 festival also is emphasizing green lifestyles. Tmall will feature a dedicated showcase of energy-efficient and low-impact products, as well as issuing more than $15.6 million in “green” vouchers to incentivize purchases that contribute to an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

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Additionally, Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao Network will introduce package recycling across 10,000 Cainiao Post Stations in 20 cities to reduce the festival’s carbon footprint. Alibaba plans to use other green technologies to further reduce its carbon emissions.

“This year’s festival marks a new chapter for 11.11,” said Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer of Alibaba Group in a statement. “We believe we must leverage the power of 11.11 to encourage sustainable development and promote inclusiveness to consumers, merchants and partners across our ecosystem.”

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