The Secret to Alibaba’s Singles Day Success? Brick-and-Mortar

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We’ve all heard by now that Alibaba’s Singles Day—think of it as the Chinese Prime Day—shattered sales volume records, recording over $30 billion in revenue for Jack Ma’s retail giant. What you haven’t heard is that brick-and-mortar retail played a key role in that windfall, in a strategy the company is calling ‘new retail.’

It turns out that Alibaba is leading the way on tying together digital savoir-faire with the enduring appeal of a brick-and-mortar presence. That’s proving especially key for sales in QSRs. Here are some of the brick-and-mortar-based tricks up Alibaba’s sleeve:

  • Through, its food delivery platform, and a partnership with Starbucks, Alibaba orchestrated Starbucks deliveries in eleven cities.
  • Alibaba has a chain of grocery stores, called Hema, in which customers can make purchases with their phones, skipping the cashier line (cough cough, Amazon Go/Whole Foods). This strategy isn’t limited to Alibaba anymore: Standard Cognition, offering this kind of solution to other retailers, just raised $40 million in Series A funding.
  • Through its property TMall, Alibaba set up installations in 200,000 brick-and-mortar outlets where customers could make purchases that would later be delivered to their doors.

Takeaway: Delivery capabilities are a must-have retail solution, and AI-driven POS solutions are a cutting-edge technique that the biggest brands should be considering. 

Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]