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Nov 8, 2018

E-Commerce goes offline - true multichannel ahead

Amazon opened another cashier-less Go convenience store in San Francisco last week, and has announced a few more for 2019. While this seems to be only remotely connected to online purchases on their platform, the end-game in retail will probably be a merger of the two - physical outlets that complement the online experience and the other way round. This seems to be Alibaba's strategy with their "new retail" concept, spending more than 10 billion USD since 2016 on the acquisition of physical retail stores. And they expand their own "Hema" supermarkets aggressively, where your can pay by facial recognition and get groceries delivered in 30 minutes if you live in a 3km radius around it. They have also implemented an initiative to digitize convenience stores and small shops while using them as delivery hubs - something that Zalando is now pushing in Europe as well, calling it "connected retail". It seems certain that the future of retail is true multichannel - not just serving a number of platforms and transaction types, but interconnecting them, and it's stunning to see how the online retailers and e-commerce companies are pushing these types of innovation instead of the traditional retailers.

Amazon: Groceries / Go stores

Zalando: Connected retail

Alibaba: New retail

Alibaba: Hema Supermarkets