Chinese e-commerce giant, Taobao, a part of the Alibaba Group, has launched its largest retail store named ‘Taobao’ in Kuala Lumpur, in partnership with MyTOWN Shopping Centre and Lumahgo New Retail Sdn Bhd. Using the New Retail technologies, the 5,000 square feet store offers a mix of offline and online shopping experience. The store is in effectively a physical storefront for Taobao, online platform, customers will need to place their orders through the app. According to media report, the product descriptions appear to be only in Chinese and the Taobao app itself is not available in English. Shop assistants are expected to help translate descriptions and help customers place orders.
Alibaba’s Tmall World Malaysia Marketing Manager Jess Lew said the Taobao store will serve as a platform to showcase popular products and introduce new ones that appeal to local customers. It intends to gain consumer insights and employ technology to create new opportunities for local partners to deliver better services.
The Store sells over 1,000 products across top-selling categories such as electronics, beauty, home and living, and smart home appliances. The selection of products has been curated based on the preferences and purchasing trends of local shoppers through its shopping app. The products are drawn from international and local homegrown brands including Lorenzo, Khind, KitchenAid and Deep Furniture.
Jess added that Alibaba is keen to explore opening similar stores in other Malaysian states such as Penang and Johor Bahru and to consider possibilities of having the Taobao app in the English language to cater to a broader customer base in Malaysia. Shoppers can now purchase a displayed product by scanning a QR code on the electronic price tag, pick up items from the store, arrange for delivery and installation, and make the payment directly from the app.
This step taken by Taobao is line with a global trend as demonstrated by Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and the popularity of the Amazon Go store in Seattle. In neighboring city-state Singapore, omnichannel model for e-commerce outlets has been gathering steam with multiple online players opening physical outlets during the past couple of years.
(Sources: Digital News Asia; Today Online)