Starbucks teams up with Alibaba to offer coffee delivery in China
Starbucks is teaming up with Chinese retail giant Alibaba to start coffee deliveries in China as part of plans to expand both its online and physical presence in the country.
Working with Ele.me, Alibaba’s food delivery platform, Starbucks will begin a pilot delivery service in September in 150 stores in the Beijing and Shanghai areas. If successful, the service will be extended to more than 2,000 Starbucks stores across 30 cities by the end of 2018.
The service will enable customers to order their coffee via an app without visiting a store.
In addition, Starbucks will partner with Alibaba’s Hema supermarket chain to establish dedicated “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” within the supermarkets. Also launching in September, the first outlets will be in Shanghai and Hangzhou and will be specifically designed for Starbucks delivery order fulfilment.
Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive of Starbucks, said: “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. 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 and Alibaba said they are aiming to create a virtual Starbucks store that will integrate multiple platforms across Starbucks and the Alibaba ecosystems to give customers a more personalised experience and the ability to register, redeem benefits and access an extensive range of services.
Daniel Zhang, chief executive of Alibaba, added: “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."
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