Starbuck's and Alibaba form partnership, will pilot delivery services in China

By James Henderson
Starbucks Coffee Company and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. have announced a retail partnership that will enable a seamless Starbucks Experience and transfo...

Starbucks Coffee Company and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. have announced a retail partnership that will enable a seamless Starbucks Experience and transform the coffee industry in China.

Collaborating across key businesses within the Alibaba ecosystem, including Ele.me, Hema, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay, Starbucks announced plans to pilot delivery services beginning September 2018, establish “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” for delivery order fulfilment.

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It will also integrate multiple platforms to co-create a virtual Starbucks store – which it says is an unparalleled and even more personalised online Starbucks Experience for Chinese customers.

Leveraging the Alibaba ecosystem and New Retail infrastructure, Starbucks will be able to further unify a seamless Starbucks Experience between its stores and online for customers.

“Thanks to the elevated customer experience delivered by our over 45,000 partners, Starbucks is growing and innovating faster in China than anywhere else in the world,” said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer, Starbucks Coffee Company.

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“Our transformational partnership with Alibaba will reshape modern retail and represents a significant milestone in our efforts to exceed the expectations of Chinese consumers. Starbucks China is one to watch, and I have full confidence in the team that will bring the new innovation behind the Starbucks Experience to life.”

Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of the Alibaba Group, said: “Starbucks is more than a destination for premium coffee and we share the same vision to pioneer a new coffee culture and lifestyle through innovation and technology.

“Alibaba is thrilled to expand our existing partnership with Starbucks by leveraging our cutting-edge New Retail infrastructure and digital power to enable an unprecedented experience for consumers. This partnership is again a testament to the success of our New Retail strategy.”

The strategic partnership is part of Alibaba’s broader New Retail push, which aims to transform how commerce is conducted by merging online and offline experiences. New Retail was introduced by Alibaba in 2016 and has since become a hallmark strategy of the retail industry.

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