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Are you ready for 11/11, the biggest shopping day in the world

created by one man, Jack Ma

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This Friday, 11/11, is the biggest shopping day in the world. And it was created by one man, Jack Ma, just 7 years ago.

Last year, Alibaba’s Single’s Day set a Guinness World Record for the most sales made by a single company in 24 hours – $14.3 billion. This wasn’t just in China – but across 200 countries that bought Alibaba products for up to 50% off during 11/11.

How did it start? When Jack Ma looked at the largest tech companies in the west, he saw companies like Amazon and Apple profiting from shopping holidays like Thanksgiving’s Cyber Monday and Christmas – Holidays that weren’t celebrated in China.

Saying “You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die”, in 2009, Jack decided to create his own shopping holiday around “Single’s Day” on 11/11 (a day in China for singles to treat themselves). But instead of copying the retail model, he would make his holiday fully online and fully global, with 50% discounts for a full 24 hours.

That year, he convinced 27 merchants to sell their products on the day for up to 50% off, generating $10 million in sales. Then, each year, he repeated the process while growing sales exponentially:

2009 – $10 million
2010 – $140 million
2011 – $820 million
2012 – $3.0 billion
2013 – $5.8 billion
2014 – $9.3 billion
2015 – $14.3 billion

This year, China’s “Singles’ Day” is expected to reach $20 billion in sales – more than all Thanksgiving’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales from all US retailers put together – for one company: Jack’s Alibaba.

For one company to generate $20 billion in sales in one day is mind boggling. But it started by one man seeing a challenge and turning it into an opportunity.

If you’re waiting for sales, what event could you create to bring the sales to you?

If you’ve got a challenge, how could you think differently to turn that challenge into an opportunity?

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” ~ Milton Berle

Credit: Roger James Hamilton

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