Alibaba planning to bring its China retail playbook to India

As Alibaba looks to expand its cloud business in India, having launched its second data centre in the country last week, it is looking to work with players in the retail space to bring its popular ‘new retail’ concept to India.

The company is even looking at bringing technology it is using in China such as augmented reality(AR) used in shopping events such as Single’s Day to the Indian retail industry to enhance the customer experience.

Alibaba Cloud has so far announced only its partnership with DLF shopping malls, but is said to be in talks with other major retail players as well.

“Retail has been a big focus for us in India,” said Vivek Gupta, head of business development for India and Saarc at Alibaba Cloud.

“We are talking to almost every single retail brand in the country. We want to partner with them in their omni-channel journey, as well as strengthen supply chain, offer intelligence on business operations, and enhance customer experience,” Gupta said.

Alibaba’s ‘new retail’ concept, coined by founder Jack Ma, includes a personalized experience for a customer in a physical store, customer analytics for offline stores to offer matching products, and integrating online experience at offline stores through customisation and deliveries.

“We think these products will meet the needs of the retail industry in the region who are looking to digitise their operations,” Gupta said.

According to one person aware of developments, augmented reality (AR) is also something Alibaba is looking to bring to the retail space in India. Alibaba had launched Taobao Buy as an AR experience application for shoppers two years ago.

“AR is used extensively during 11/11 shopping festivals,” Gupta said, referring to the popular Single’s Day celebrations in China.

“In China, Alibaba owns malls, stores as well as online platforms, and we can bring our experience here,” he said.

Other bets
Gupta said he could not comment on “futuristic” plans on AR. He also did not comment on Alibaba Cloud’s partnership with Paytm Mall, the e-commerce arm of Paytm, which is also focusing on omni-channel. Alibaba is an investor in Paytm Mall and parent company One 97 Communications.

Paytm Mall did not respond to queries. Alibaba Cloud had recently partnered with Paytm to launch the Paytm AI cloud, the Indian company’s foray into the cloud business “Paytm is a key partner in India. We will be the technology enabler in terms of enabling the Paytm AI Cloud,” Gupta said.

Apart from retail, Alibaba Cloud is also focusing on other verticals in the country for adoption. “Internet-enabled business around e-commerce, gaming are big business for us. We have seen strong adoption in media and entertainment, as well as in the manufacturing industry,” Gupta said.

The development was first reported by ET

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