Swire Properties, the Hong Kong-based real estate giant, will partner with Alibaba Group-owned Tmall to bring New Retail features to five of its shopping malls in mainland China, the companies announced Monday.
The goal is to create “distinct, online and offline, and tailored retail experiences” for Chinese consumers at two Swire malls in Beijing, one in Shanghai, one in Guangzhou and another in Chengdu. Those experiences, which have launched in time for Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, include Tmall smart stores, a pop-up store, an “interactive idol engagement photo booth,” smart nursery rooms and smart parking services.
“At Swire Properties, we are always looking for new ways to innovate and integrate the latest technologies into our business, so that we can bring unique experiences to our customers,”said the company’ s director of retail, Han Zhi.
“Our collaboration with Tmall is a powerful example of digitization. By harnessing rapidly developing online technologies and big data, our goal is to define the New Retail shopping experience,” he said.
Swire Properties is the latest company to partner with Alibaba to leverage its New Retail technologies to engage consumers in China, who have come to expect a seamless and convenient mix of online and offline shopping. Whether they are Alibaba investment properties, such as Intime department stores or RT-Mart supermarkets, or international brands, such as L’Oreal or Switzerland’s Intersport, Alibaba’s technologies are increasingly finding their way into physical retail spaces as consumers look for more than simple browse-and-buy shopping experiences.
Here’s a more detailed look at the technologies planned for this agreement between Swire and Tmall:
- Tmall Smart Stores: Shoppers will experience seamless online and offline shopping from order to delivery, by participating physical stores, as well as details on the latest promotions if they sign up to the participating retailer’s loyalty program.
- Tmall Pop-Up Store: Tmall will open an interactive pop-up store, featuring cutting-edge technology, at Swire’s Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping mall in Beijing. The store will be open for nine days, specifically for 11.11.
- Interactive Idol Engagement Photo Booth: Fans can “virtually interact with” and snap a photo with their idol.
- Smart Nursery Rooms: In addition to offering mothers a private space to nurse at shopping malls, vending machines will offer essential nursing necessities to make the shopping more convenient.
- Smart Parking Service: Drivers can pay parking fees by linking Alipay with their car license plates.
Alibaba has been experimenting with New Retail technologies over the past couple of years. While the tech included in this partnership with Swire Properties is not new, its adoption shows the impact it has had in reaching Chinese consumers and improving their shopping experience.
“We are excited to work with Swire Properties to explore how our New Retail technologies can transform their shopping malls, and bring their customers holistic online and offline experiences, content and customized services,” said Guohui Ye, general manager of Tmall’s New Retail Division.
“This partnership has the potential to redefine the relationship between products, customers and shopping locations, and how this will bring benefits to our clients and customers,” he said.