China’s retailers, with Alibaba’s Hema at the helm, are leading the AI revolution in online and offline space. Consumer expert Ashley Dudarenok explains how AI, online and offline retail combine at a dazzling pace, at CFOinnovation.
Shoppers at (Alibaba’s) Hema experience a seamless integration of its online and offline stores. Customers ordering groceries online for home delivery will have a staff member going through the supermarket’s aisles, bagging groceries, and passing the orders onto a conveyor belt to the deliverers. To date, it has opened more than 100 stores in China. Retail experience is taking on a new form in China.
“So essentially in China these giants are actively merging offline spaces into the online environment. It’s not like offline to online or online to offline. It’s more like [both] becoming one experience. So it’s much deeper than omnichannel and all these other concepts that we’ve been aware of and trying to implement for the past 15 years in the West,” said Ashley Dudarenok, founder of Alarice, a digital marketing agency in Hong Kong.
Alibaba’s grocery stores are an example of digitizing and integrating inventory, supply chains, logistics, payments, delivery, and order fulfilment of retail.
In the bigger scheme of things, what’s happening in the retail landscape is another manifestation of technological changes, especially due to development in AI. “This ‘new retail’ is the integration of the technological advancements that has been happening for the past 20 years. Retail is just one aspect very close to businesses — we all understand we buy services and products,” Dudarenok said.
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