Alibaba’s expansion to brick-and-mortar stores started two years ago with a series of investments and acquisitions that worth as much as US$8 billion. To strengthen the offline foray, the Chinese e-commerce giant, which earns hefty profit margin because it does not hold inventories, is rewriting its asset-light model by opening Hema Xiansheng brand and Alibaba staff-less convenience stores.

In its latest move, the company is taking a bottom-up approach in revamping China’s retailing landscape. Alibaba is reaching franchise partnerships with grocery stores in residential communities across China in a move to upgrade these shops with its technologies.

The licensed physical stores will be much smarter and well-targeted. For example, customer preferences and purchasing history data from Ling Shou Tong (LST), Alibaba B2B platform that’s being used in over 500k stores, will be analyzed to provide curated plans on product offerings and marketing campaigns. All-around services will be offered such as merchandise channels and orderings, logistics, marketing, and more.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.