Alibaba Group is looking to strengthen its omni-channel presence – and help millions of mom-and-pop stores in China — by linking the unchained retailers to the firm’s data-backed retailer management system.
In getting merchants to use the LST app, which allows merchants to access marketing, delivery and inventory management, the Chinese online shopping giant aims to break open consumption nationally, connecting shoppers from second-tier cities and even small towns and villages.
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According to Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, the LST app hopes to encounter 1 million users, namely standalone or small businesses, in one year, as part of Alibaba’s New Retail strategy.
This looks like customised manufacturing, seamless online-to-offline shopping, and precise demand-prediction based on big data and algorithms, said Zhang in speaking in Hangzhou this week.
In China, there are close to six million retailers such as street stands and kiosks, and street corner stores, which have a light financial weight and weak negotiating power, according to Lin Xiaohai, Alibaba vice-president and general manager of Alibaba Distribution Platform, adding that shops can access Tmall’s procurement ties to secure previously unattainable products from brands directly and at competitive prices.
An inventory monitoring system is also available to give real-time advice on product display and stock adjustment.
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Meanwhile, mom-and-pop stores can access a warehouse system covering 200 cities, based on geographical shopping preferences that are logged in Alibaba’s data book.
Alibaba also plans to revamp 10,000 LST shops into Tmall Co-branded stores this year, which features a deeper level of cooperation from sourcing to use of data, it said.