Alibaba Moves Beyond E-commerce


What would your perfect shopping experience be like? A store with only products you like? Your favourite meal prepared on site? This is the question Alibaba hopes to answer and provide you with by harnessing the power of AI. They are currently working on constructing a network of services that will use AI, facial recognition and augmented reality to give the customer the best possible experience. An example of this strategy is their Hema stores. Introduced in 2015, Alibaba now has 56 of these stores across China. They are like something from the future with facial-recognition technology and 30-minute delivery for customers living within three kilometers of the store.

Alibaba’s latest strategy which they are currently pioneering in China is called New Retail and it aims to completely integrate the online and offline experience and give customers the best of both. This involves restructuring traditional brick and mortar stores and optimizing the way the operate.

In partnership with Australian ecommerce giant The Iconic, Alibaba Cloud has launched Snap to Shop, an app which allows shoppers to search by uploading a photo. The app then searches from amongst 50,000 products and 800 brands.

Alibaba is going beyond ecommerce with a more global vision: providing the best customer experience possible, online, offline and somewhere in-between.

About the Author

Monica Hutchings is a Canadian writer and translator from Toronto who has worked on everything from technical descriptions to academic journals. She is our in-house copy editor.

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