Alibaba continues to use data and technology to change the face of retail. They’ve created a mining system that brands can use on their own data to feed them new products and services to sell. They’ve also created technologies to allow brands to process orders directly to the suppliers because Alibaba doesn’t just own the retail as we all forget… they own all the suppliers too. They started matching factories in China to the rest of the world and are now taking it direct to retail.
Brands are using these technologies to disrupt the market. One great example of this is Luckin Coffee. This is a company threatening to overtake Starbucks in China. But really what they’re doing is using data and technology to reduce their cost per square meter in comparison to a normal retail operation. They’re using digital delivery infrastructure to eliminate costs so they can charge less. Instead of building a massive physical footprint that’s expensive to operate, they’re using technology to replace it and it’s actually going quite well from that standpoint. It remains to be seen if it works long term, but it appears to have the potential to change the way brands approach retail operations.
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