China's e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group Holding, has signed an agreement with Bailian Group, to explore opportunities across each other's ecosystem to enhance customer experience.
Headquartered in Shanghai, Bailian is a retail giant with more than 4,700 outlets across 25 provinces, 200 cities and autonomous regions in China.
The partnership aims to develop a new retail model which no longer differentiates online commerce from offline commerce. The new model will offer traditional brick-and-mortar retailers tools to transform their way of connecting with consumers, and improve efficiencies in their inventory and distribution network, as well as payment and logistics systems to provide a seamless consumer experience.
"New retail reimagines the relationship between consumers, merchandise and retail space by leveraging mobile internet and big data. It will upend the traditional manufacturing and supply chain, the connection between merchant and consumer, as well as the overall identify, reach, analyse and serve their customers, and their digital transformation will be empowered by Alibaba's ecosystem," explained Daniel Zhang, CEO, Alibaba Group.
Ye Yongming, Chairman of Bailian Group, added: "Traditional commerce needs to embrace innovation and change to thrive if they are to ride atop this new consumption trend. New retail is not just the convergence of online and offline worlds. It also means we need to be able to leverage technologies such as the Internet of Things, AI and big data to provide consumers with new and immersive shopping experience across channels and product categories anytime and anywhere."
To achieve such a model, Alibaba and Bailian will leverage big data to achieve integration between offline stores, merchandise, logistics and payment tools.
They will jointly design cross channel store operation and ordering systems to enable real time service solutions for customers at physical stores.
They will also embark on research and development (R&D) projects focusing on retail technology in the areas of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and big data.
Besides that, they will integrate both companies' membership base to enhance customer service capability through facial recognition, big data-driven sales and geolocation.
In terms of supply chain management, they will combine resources in customer insight and supplier channels to improve merchandise selection and reduce cost.
Bailian's payment tool, Safepass and OK Card, will also be integrated with AliPay to provide customers with a third-party payment platform.
Finally, the partnership will see Bailian Logistics working with Alibaba on Cainiao's logistics platform to co-develop rules that will enhance services for customers and merchants.
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