Alibaba Group has announced the formation of a strategic partnership with the Shanghai-based retailer Bailian Group to accelerate an effort to employ technology to shake up old-fashioned retail.
The Chinese e-commerce giant is planning to help upgrade some of Bailian’s 4,700 stores across the country, integrating everything from customer relations to payment and logistics. The deal does not involve any financial investment.
The companies will leverage the power of big data to achieve integration between offline stores, merchandise, and logistics with the ultimate aim of elevating efficiency and overall consumer experience.
The agreement includes new retail outlet designs, new retail technology R&D, and Customer Relationship Management. Alibaba’s online payments system, Alipay will be made available at all Bailian stores and Bailian Logistics will work with Alibaba on Cainiao’s logistics platform and co-develop logistics rules.
Bailian is one of China’s largest and most established retail conglomerates with more than 4,700 outlets across 25 provinces, 200 cities and autonomous regions in China.
According to Bloomberg, Alibaba is also leading a bid to buy department store chain Intime Retail Group Co. for as much as $2.6 billion. Its billionaire co-founder, Jack Ma, wants to build a network that will allow stores and brands to monitor transactions as they happen, ridding layers of distributors so that retail outlets can place orders online in real time.
Alibaba has also spent $4.6 billion on a minority stake in appliances retailer Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd, and has bought a stake in grocery chain Sanjiang Shopping Club Co Ltd.