E-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding has entered a strategic ‘New Retail’ partnership with global coffeehouse chain Starbucks to transform the coffee industry in China.
The strategic partnership is part of Alibaba’s strategy to transform e-commerce by merging online and offline experiences.
As part of the deal, Starbucks will work collaboratively with various businesses within the Alibaba ecosystem, including Ele.me, Hema, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay on various initiatives.
These initiatives include piloting of delivery services from September, establishing Starbucks Delivery Kitchens for delivery order fulfilment, as well as integrating multiple platforms to co-create a virtual Starbucks store for Chinese customers.
The coffeehouse chain will use Alibaba ecosystem and New Retail infrastructure to further unify a seamless Starbucks Experience between its stores, as well as online for customers.
Starbucks, in collaboration with on-demand food delivery platform Ele.me, will pilot the delivery programme in 150 stores across Beijing and Shanghai.
The company will further extend the service to more than 2,000 Starbucks stores across 30 cities by the end of this year.
Ele.me chief executive officer Wang Lei said: “We are pleased to partner with Starbucks to launch these reliable and trusted delivery services to satisfy customers’ needs and capitalise on the delivery sector’s great potential.
“It is an important milestone for Ele.me to deepen our collaboration with retail chains and further expand our penetration in the food delivery sector.”
The coffee chain will also establish Starbucks Delivery Kitchens across Hema supermarkets in Shanghai and Hangzhou in September and will further expand to other cities in the country.
Starbucks Delivery Kitchens will leverage Hema’s fulfilment and delivery capabilities as well as consumer insights and fulfilment expertise to deliver handcrafted Starbucks coffee and tea beverages offered through existing Starbucks stores.
The partnership will also include the development of a virtual Starbucks store in China.
Alibaba will develop a centralised online management hub for the concept to integrate and deliver Starbucks Experience across multiple digital platforms.
This will deliver personalised Starbucks digital experience across the Starbucks app, as well as Alibaba’s customer-facing mobile apps such as Taobao, Alipay, Tmall and Koubei.