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RT-Mart upgrades shopping experience with Alibaba tech
Jun '18
Courtesy: Alizilla
Courtesy: Alizilla
Using Alibaba’s Hema supermarket as a model, Taiwan based hypermarket chain RT-Mart has rolled out a series of features aimed at improving the shopping experience for its customers. RT-Mart has already finished a months-long digital transformation of a quarter of its 400 stores using the New Retail technology developed by Alibaba Group.

Whether through in-store fulfilment of online orders, interactive kiosks or a selection of popular products from Tmall, the retailer said it wanted to deliver the best of online and offline commerce in a country where the line between the two has been increasingly blurred.

“New Retail has introduced a new way of thinking. By digitising the store’s operation, the online and offline business merge into one. This will boost retailer’s online transaction volume,” RT-Mart chief executive officer Peter Huang said.

The revamp is part of Alibaba’s strategy to build the technologies necessary to bring old retail into the 21st century and to provide those tools to its brick-and-mortar partners. After the successful launch of Hema’s business model, RT-Mart is now the first partner to leverage those innovations for its own New Retail transformation.

Alibaba Group late last year in a $2.88 billion deal acquired 36 per cent of Sun Art Retail Group, which operate nearly 400 hypermarkets under the Auchan and RT-Mart banners. As per the agreement, Alibaba said it would share its New Retail technology and insights of consumer trends with RT Mart to expedite its digitisation, sync its online and offline operations, improve its instore layout and increase efficiencies in the grocer’s inventory management.

As part the digital makeover, RT-Mart gains access to Alibaba’s customer insights, supply-chain management, retail technologies and electronic payments via Alipay, which is owned by Alibaba related company Ant Financial.

First among RT-Mart’s new offerings is one-hour arrival for orders within a three-kilometre radius. Orders placed through RT-Mart’s mobile app are fulfilled using inventory in the store, the same as Hema, then placed on conveyor belts that carry the bags above the shopping floor to a dedicated area for packing and delivery.

Delivery is also available for in-store shoppers. By scanning the bar code on the items with the Mobile Taobao app, they can place the items in a virtual shopping cart, complete the transaction with their Alipay and receive delivery at home in as fast as 60 minutes.

The New Retail update has led to an increase in the volume of online orders at the revamped stores, as Huang predicted. At one RT-Mart in Shanghai, online orders climbed to 5,000 a day at their peak compared to nearly zero prior to the collaboration with Alibaba.

Currently, both companies are discussing the implementations of other New Retail technologies at RT-Mart. Alibaba said it aimed at complete the transformation of the rest of RT-Mart’s stores in China by the end of this year. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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