Consumers in China can make urgent purchases from their local Watsons stores through Alibaba Group’s on-demand delivery platform, shipping from the drugstore aisles to their doors in less than an hour.
The Hong Kong-based drugstore chain said in a statement that it now offers a select 1,700 items from its 10,000-plus products on the Ele.me platform, spanning cosmetics and feminine care to hair-styling items. Nearly 1,600 of Watsons’ brick-and-mortar stores across 230 Chinese cities are now on the platform, with plans to expand to 2,500 stores by the end of the year.
“In the past two months, Watsons has been bringing about 800 new stores to Ele.me each month, striving to expand the service to as many users as possible, within the shortest amount of time, ahead of Tmall’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival,” the statement said.
“For us to achieve rapid growth in the market, we need to enable merchants comprehensively and sustainably. Our ecosystem synergies provide a unique advantage, but it’s about utilizing resources in a way that maximizes that synergy — extending the benefits to even more users,” said Ele.me CEO Wang Lei.
Teaming up with Alibaba’s logistics arm, Cainiao Network, in March has helped the Hong Kong-based drugstore chain provide a “shop from store” service, which delivers in as fast as two hours by fulfilling online orders at the store nearest to the consumer, rather than a warehouse. But now, its latest collaboration with Alibaba doubles the speed.
The pair began to collaborate on New Retail applications in the personal-care and beauty domain in March. Three months later, the retailer launched about 1,000 test stores nationwide — which saw sales grow by an average of more than 115% month-over-month in September. Top-selling products include pocket hand warmers, sanitary pads, hydrating face masks and make-up-remover wipes and mouthwash, said Ele.me.
The Ele.me stores are personalized to cater to individual consumer needs, providing product recommendations that range from summer supplies to beat the summer heat, emergency purchases to male-grooming products. Both Ele.me and Watsons have set up specialized customer service units to address any after-sales issues and enhance the shopping experience for consumers.