Alibaba Brings Tech to Independent Stores

The ecommerce company wants to reinvent mom-and-pop convenience stores with technology to streamline operations.
January 17, 2018

SINGAPORE – Alibaba, a Chinese tech and ecommerce company, recently announced its Ling Shou Tong retail strategy to streamline operations and connect convenience stores to its data analytics, supply chain and logistics, Retail News Asia reports. However, such a move would revamp small, mom-and-pop stores.

“The program doesn’t just give a cosmetic update to convenience stores. It’s also an extreme tech makeover, injecting modern analytics to improve, streamline and automate operations that have long relied on elbow grease and intuition,” Alibaba said on its website.

When store owners order products via the Ling Shou Tong app, they would receive suggestions based on their store analytics on what other items to order. The app would also allow retailers to order online, rather than dealing with multiple distributors.

Some analysts predict that Alibaba’s retail strategy that includes Ling Shou Tong will soon spread across Asia. Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma said a few months ago that the strategy will “bring about a restructuring of the global supply chain and change the complexion of globalization from the domain of big businesses to small businesses.”

The concept is similar to a Chinese model that would connect local companies. “For instance, Alibaba would require local consumer data and insights to provide the same benefits they are providing to the Chinese merchants. In addition, new supplier relationships would be required to cater to local merchandising preferences,” said Lawrence Cheok, IDC lead analyst for future of commerce.