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Walmart, JD.com heat up omnichannel drive with new mainland shopping festival

Retail giants will expand integration of their supply chains and other resources to support joint nationwide shopping event on August 8

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 July, 2017, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 July, 2017, 11:01pm

Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, and JD.com aim to intensify integration of bricks-and-mortar stores with e-commerce platforms across the mainland through their launch of a new omnichannel shopping festival on August 8.

The initiative, announced by the two companies on Tuesday in Beijing, will be supported by their expanded cooperation to combine domestic supply chains, operating platforms and customer resources in the world’s second-largest economy.

Our ability to tap into JD.com’s advantages across logistics, big data, technology and customer service gives Walmart a huge advantage in reaching China’s rapidly expanding consumer class
Ben Hassing, senior vice-president, e-commerce and technology, Walmart China

Omnichannel means customers are presented with a seamless shopping experience in a physical store, on their smartphones or on a desktop computer. A customer would have a variety of shopping choices, such as ordering online and picking up merchandise in person.

“Our ability to tap into JD.com’s advantages across logistics, big data, technology and customer service gives Walmart a huge advantage in reaching China’s rapidly expanding consumer class,” said Ben Hassing, the senior vice-president for e-commerce and technology at Walmart China.

The JD-Walmart 8.8 shopping festival is expected to help Walmart extend its reach to the 99 per cent of the country’s population covered by Nasdaq-listed JD.com’s delivery network.

Since last week, Walmart shoppers have been able to scan a Quick Response code at the retail giant’s more than 400 stores on the mainland to earn coupons for use at the Walmart, Sam’s Club and Asda-brand online stores on JD.com on August 8.

“As consumers move freely from physical shopping to virtual experiences, retailers are working to catch their attention in both areas,” research firm eMarketer said in a report.

E-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the South China Morning Post, has been pursuing its own “New Retail” strategy with its strategic investments in Chinese electronics chain Suning Commerce Group and mainland department store operator Intime Retail Group.

JD.com, which runs the largest online retail fulfilment infrastructure on the mainland, said its partnership with Walmart since June last year has helped boost domestic sales of US goods.

With their combined resources, the two firms could “define the future of retail in China”, said Carol Fung, the president for fast moving consumer goods at JD.com