Alibaba, the operator of China’s largest online sales platform, is reportedly building its own mall as it seeks to enrich the real-world shopping experience with technology and convenience. The five-story shopping center — which the company is calling “More Mall” — is located at Alibaba’s headquarters in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. The mall was built on a 40,000-square-meter plot of land and is scheduled to open in April, according to linkshop.com. Currently, construction crews are finishing up work on the building’s interior.
Total Retail's Take: Much like the dominant e-commerce player in the U.S., Amazon.com, Alibaba is extending its reach into the offline world with its own stores (or in the case, an entire mall). E-commerce accounts for roughly 15 percent of total retail sales in China, a higher percentage than in the U.S., but Alibaba is intent on capturing more of the other 85 percent. Its plan for doing so involves integrating technology into into the in-store shopping experience, including virtual fitting rooms, mobile payment solutions, and high-tech makeup-testing mirrors. While serving a different consumer population (at least its primary customers), Alibaba and Amazon are in agreement on one thing: the future of retail involves brick-and-mortar.