Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. today announced a New Retail makeover for 100 RT-Mart stores, offering Chinese customers a seamless experience, whether they’re shopping online or offline.
The hypermarkets, operated by Sun Art Retail Group, include 41 stores in eastern China and others in small cities across the country. The digital makeover underscores Alibaba’s commitment to empowering its partners to move up the value chain.
The digitized RT-Mart stores will leverage Alibaba’s New Retail infrastructure, offering store operators customer insights, supply chain management, retail technologies, smart logistics and electronic payment.
Customers will benefit from wider variety of products and better services. They’ll enjoy a frictionless shopping experience, whether buying through the Taobao app, which offers most of what’s on the RT-Mart shelves, or at a brick-and-mortar store.
The upgraded RT-Mart stores will offer one-hour delivery for customers living within a three-kilometer radius. Delivery is powered by Hema supermarkets’ cutting-edge logistics and resources.
Hema’s innovative fresh food supermarket and local delivery concept – introduced by Alibaba in 2015 – is the inspiration for the RT-Mart makeover. Hema has also partnered with RT-Mart on its supply chain, helping it source high-quality fresh produce directly from suppliers. This ensures RT-Mart shoppers find a host of Hema’s “Daily Fresh”-labeled products, including fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy products refreshed every morning.
The new RT-Mart stores also join Tmall’s 6.18 Mid-year Shopping Festival, offering coupons for either online or offline shopping.
The upgrade of the 100 RT-Mart stores kicked off in March and is fully underway. By year-end, Alibaba intends to introduce its New Retail solution to an additional 300 RT-Mart stores. And there may be more to come.
“RT-Mart is using the Hema business model to explore this new path of New Retail. If this proves to be successful, we will share our experience with our peers,” said Peter Huang, the chief executive of RT-Mart.
In its ongoing push into the retail space, Alibaba late in 2017 invested US$2.88 billion to acquire a 36% stake of Sun Art Retail Group, which operates over 400 hypermarkets under the Auchan and RT-Mart banners.