2019 means it’s Alibaba’s 20th birthday! In China, the Alibaba Group is already the largest e-commerce company, but the company continues to grow in the west. From a small, quick deals marketplace to multinational Internet giant that pleases its customers.
Alibaba: Evolution Of Customer-Centricity
Sunday, the 25th of August at noon: 3000 people are crowding in front of a store at the Xanadu shopping centre near Madrid. Passing by you’ll see people with their smartphones and e-scooters. The scene is reminiscent of turmoil at Apple locations when a new iPhone is released. But this is the first AliExpress store in Europe and today is opening day. The shop is luring customers with a variety of gifts and 30 per cent of all items in the first week.
»First and foremost is the customer, then the employees, and finally the shareholders.«. This attitude has been driving Alibaba for years. Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, recognised the relevance of customer service at an early stage, so the company is constantly setting new standards in this area.
From the smart mirror in Chinese shopping malls, which shows which make-up is right for you, with an integrated purchase option, of course, to the 30-minute delivery service for supermarket shopping, service and convenience are top priorities at Alibaba.
Alibaba: An Internet Octopus With Long Tentacles
In 1999, former teacher Jack Ma founded the company with 17 other people. 20 years later, the group generates 56 billion euros in revenue and is considered a serious competitor to Amazon. In China, Alibaba is even the largest e-commerce business, ahead of Amazon, eBay, and others. The Alibaba Group not only includes B2B platform Alibaba with 53 million users, but also many other subsidiaries, such as the largest Chinese auction platform Taobao, global cloud service Alibaba Cloud, payment solution Alipay, and AliExpress. For a long time now, supply has not been limited to the Asian market; North America and Europe are also busy placing orders.
With AliExpress, Alibaba also expanded its business to global B2C retail in 2010. The website offers, above all else, small retailers from China the chance to sell their goods anywhere in the world. Unlike Amazon, AliExpress acts only as an intermediary between buyer and seller and is often compared to eBay.
Alibaba: A Successful Start In European Stationery Retail
With the opening of the store in Madrid, the company is also entering Europe’s stationary retail game. The store called AliExpress Plaza is reminiscent of Apple. Fancy retail space, innovative shop design, and quality products. In addition to smartphones, however, there are also kitchen appliances, e-scooters, and pet accessories.
An essential factor in the shopping experience is also the staff. Well-trained and helpful, the employees in the store take care of the wishes and concerns of their customers and, incidentally, provide them with free coffee. The store opening attracted a great deal of attention in Spain and generated overwhelmingly enthusiastic reactions. Not least because of the give-aways. The first 500 visitors were able to enjoy scooters, drones, or smartphones from the Xiaomi brand, and generated overwhelmingly enthusiastic reactions.
Alibaba: New Retail
The fact that Alibaba often relies on cooperation instead of isolation is well-known. For example, in China, the group works with retailers to provide electronic business optimisation solutions. With the Hema markets in China, Alibaba took another step towards omnichannel. The markets have a similar product selection like Tesco or Sainsbury’s, Safeway or Kroger.
But the online affinity of the company is obvious: Each product comes with a QR code that provides customers with more information. In addition, the data on customers and their purchases are used to play out individual product recommendations. To pay, the goods are scanned at the checkout terminal and paid for using online payment methods such as Alipay. The all-round carefree package includes online ordering and collection in the shop or if you live in a three-kilometre radius around a Hema, home delivery. And within 30 minutes!
In the last 20 years, Alibaba has been a remarkable development. An integral part of the recipe for success is the customer-first idea with which the group makes customer focus and service drivers of growth and innovation.
Our 5 reading tips of the week
Alibaba – Die Neu-Erfindung des Supermarktes [e-tailment]
Die Zukunft des Konsums – was Alibaba in Deutschland plant [manager magazin]