Starbucks today has launched its first virtual store in China. Supported by technology from Alibaba Group, the store provides a unified, one-stop digital experience across the Starbucks app and mobile apps within the Alibaba ecosystem, including Taobao, Tmall, and Alipay.
The virtual store leverages an online management hub developed specifically for Starbucks by Alibaba. It provides consumers integrated access to Starbucks’ digital offerings, including “Starbucks Delivers,” “Say it with Starbucks” social gifting and merchandise available from Starbucks’ Tmall flagship store. The system support traditional retailer in the process of digital transformation.
Adopting a centralised approach to its mobile presence enabled by the Alibaba ecosystem, Starbucks now has a complete overview of its consumers’ actions online.
The partnership will see the integration of membership between Starbucks and the range of Alibaba apps, which is expected to fuel strong growth in Starbucks Rewards membership in China.
The new virtual store steps up the collaboration announced by Alibaba and Starbucks in August 2018, when the companies agreed a strategic “New Retail” partnership. Alibaba’s Ele.me, China’s leading on-demand food delivery platform, provides Starbucks delivery service for 2,000 stores across 30 Chinese cities.