Tmall and Intersport undrape New Retail Megastore in a Beijing landmark neighborhood

In late May, Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall empowered Swiss sporting goods retailer Intersport to upgrade its Beijing flagship store into a new and innovative consumption niche.

Upon entry, customers experience their first interaction with Intersport through the main window display, which identifies basic physical indexes and subsequently recommends products for the customer. Tmall Fashion and Luxury President Jessica Liu teased the window as a ‘24-hour fad machine’, which actively engages with passersby in a busy shopping district. QR codes are also available for customers to make purchases and acquire coupons.

On the first floor stands the foremost AI shopping assistants and smart shoe mirrors, which are all equipped with built-in 3D sensing cameras designed by Orbbec. Within ten seconds, these mirrors can recommend fashion advice to complete a customer’s look.

Interactive screens are installed in the midst of shoe walls, providing abundant information once a customer takes a Bluetooth-connected shoe off the smart shelf. More importantly, the additional virtual storage of cloud shelves can provide customers with products not present in-house and thus expand the physical store space by four times. So far, the main screen can simultaneously accommodate three customers.

Needless to say, QR codes are everywhere within eyesight, enabling customers to instantly place items in their virtual shopping bag and have them delivered to designated locations within a 5-kilometer range, within two hours in some cases.

As a holistic technology solution provider, Alibaba precipitates its data accumulation of online consumer behaviors and has applied these ample scenarios to its very first megastore with Intersport. Specifically speaking, Alibaba helps brands to select retail locations by offering refined and accurate user portraits. Moreover, when customers enter their stores, Alibaba can detect their favorable shopping routes, with which the retailers might achieve higher conversion rates.

It has been over a year since Alibaba tested its new retail strategy, the most signature case of which should be the widely popular Hema fresh market. So far, more than 400 brands are on board and together launched over 50,000 retail stores with Alibaba’s technologies and data, according to Tmall CEO Jing Jie. According to Jessica Liu, Tmall envisions to expand the niche to 1,000 clothing brands and open nearly 20,0000 retail stores by the end of next fiscal year in March.

During the panel discussion, Jing underlined the importance of digitalization for retailers to rebrand and cater to the growing base of online shoppers. By surmounting previous offline-online limits in terms of time and space, Tmall helps brands to be perceived by customers as the most desirable. This is not only a revolution in consumption, but also a sustainable build-up on customer connections by expanding the essence of business.

For the future, Alibaba has already assured a solution to offer its new retail strategies for overseas brands, teaming up with Alipay’s tax refund services and its logistics arm, Cainiao.

Sharing this vision, Intersport CEO Victor Duran hopes to replicate and promote its China model to Intersport’s global branches, further enhancing user experience. “This is the future of retail,” he says.

(Top photo from Tmall)

Tongxu Cai
Tongxu Cai

Tongxu writes for AllTechAsia. She has a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from University of Virginia, She has a strong academic background in politics and history, especially the Sino-U.S, relations. She co-founded the only Chinese Theatre Group in her college and have travelled to 25 countries by far.

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