Tiffany & Co., Kroger Partner With Alibaba to Sell Products in China
Two leading U.S. retail brands — Tiffany & Co., Kroger — announced this week the expansion of their businesses into China through partnerships with Alibaba. Jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. will release its latest “Tiffany Paper Flowers” collection in China exclusively on the Luxury Pavilion, Tmall’s invite-only platform for luxury brands. Tiffany will launch a virtual pop-up store on the Pavilion, the Alibaba Group-owned B-to-C marketplace said. During the pop-up, Tiffany will leverage augmented reality-powered technology to engage China’s tech-savvy consumers, as well as offer perks to top shoppers in the platform’s loyalty program, the Luxury Pavilion Club.
Kroger will begin to sell its products on Alibaba, the latest in a series of initiatives to bolster its digital business. The grocery chain has moved to transform its business as it readies its defenses against giants Walmart and Amazon.com. Kroger acquired a stake in British online supermarket Ocado in May, agreed to buy meal kit company Home Chef, and launched grocery delivery service Kroger Ship. Kroger plans to open an online storefront on Alibaba's platform for international brands, Tmall Global.
Total Retail's Take: China's high double-digit growth in e-commerce sales has caught the attention of U.S. retailers, which are extending their footprints — both online and offline — into the nation. There are more internet users is China than anywhere else in the world (730 million people), and those users account for 40 percent of global retail e-commerce sales. Partnering with Alibaba, the Amazon of China, to sell products on its marketplace seems to be the preferred point of entry into the market for U.S.-based retailers. And that makes sense. There's less financial risk for companies like Kroger and Tiffany to sell their products on Tmall, with its established presence (and traffic) in the market. They can then measure their sales on Tmall to gauge whether a full rollout, including brick-and-mortar stores, is warranted.