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Starbucks, Alibaba Partner to Satisfy Coffee Customers in China

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Starbucks, Alibaba Partner to Satisfy Coffee Customers in China

By Dipo Olowookere

A partnership aimed to transform the coffee industry in China has been signed between Starbucks Coffee Company and Alibaba Group Holding Limited.

The strategic “New Retail” partnership will enable a seamless Starbucks Experience in China allowing the firm use the Alibaba ecosystem, including Ele.me, Hema, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay, to offer delivery services beginning September 2018.

This will allow the company establish “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” for delivery order fulfilment and integrate multiple platforms to co-create an unprecedented virtual Starbucks store – an unparalleled and even more personalized online Starbucks Experience for Chinese customers.

The announcement marks a historic moment as two iconic, global companies build on their distinct retail and technology strengths to revolutionize the customer experience. Leveraging the Alibaba ecosystem and New Retail infrastructure, Starbucks will be able to further unify a seamless Starbucks Experience between its stores and online for customers.

“Thanks to the elevated customer experience delivered by our over 45,000 partners, Starbucks is growing and innovating faster in China than anywhere else in the world,” said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer, Starbucks Coffee Company. “Our transformational partnership with Alibaba will reshape modern retail, and represents a significant milestone in our efforts to exceed the expectations of Chinese consumers. Starbucks China is one to watch, and I have full confidence in the team that will bring the new innovation behind the Starbucks Experience to life.”

Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of the Alibaba Group, said, “Starbucks is more than a destination for premium coffee and we share the same vision to pioneer a new coffee culture and lifestyle through innovation and technology. Alibaba is thrilled to expand our existing partnership with Starbucks by leveraging our cutting-edge New Retail infrastructure and digital power to enable an unprecedented experience for consumers. This partnership is again a testament to the success of our New Retail strategy.”

The strategic partnership is part of Alibaba’s broader New Retail push, which aims to transform how commerce is conducted by merging online and offline experiences. New Retail was introduced by Alibaba in 2016 and has since become a hallmark strategy of the retail industry.

Creating an Unparalleled Order and Delivery Experience Powered by the Alibaba Ecosystem

Best-in-class coffee delivery service through Ele.me

Working with Ele.me, China’s leading on-demand food delivery platform with 3 million registered delivery riders, Starbucks will pilot delivery this September in 150 stores located in key trade zones in Beijing and Shanghai with plans to accelerate and expand its delivery program to more than 2,000 Starbucks stores across 30 cities by the end of calendar year 2018.

Both Starbucks and Ele.me collaborated to develop a unique, customized delivery infrastructure that has been meticulously determined each step along the way, including dedicated Ele.me delivery riders, precise delivery time, and custom carriers. Both companies have created a tailored order-to-delivery Starbucks program that upholds the unparalleled experience and quality that customers have come to expect in Starbucks retail stores. Through this delivery partnership, Starbucks and Ele.me have pioneered a best-in-class coffee delivery service standard for Chinese customers.

“Ele.me has a robust infrastructure for on-demand delivery in China. We are pleased to partner with Starbucks to launch these reliable and trusted delivery services to satisfy customers’ needs and capitalize on the delivery sector’s great potential. It is an important milestone for Ele.me to deepen our collaboration with retail chains and further expand our penetration in the food delivery sector,” said Wang Lei, Chief Executive Officer of Ele.me.

Distinct Fulfillment and Delivery Capabilities through Hema Supermarkets

In addition, Starbucks will partner with Hema supermarkets to be the first retail brand to establish dedicated “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” within their locations. The “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” will utilize Hema’s distinct fulfillment and delivery capabilities to complement the delivery of handcrafted Starbucks coffee and tea beverages offered through existing Starbucks stores. Starbucks will also leverage Hema’s highly effective consumer insights and unique fulfillment expertise to further penetrate and better serve the needs of individuals and families in communities across China.

This intentional strategy will inform the future network planning for new Starbucks stores, combined with “Starbucks Delivery Kitchen” locations, to further expand the scale and reach of Starbucks delivery services, while enabling our partners (employees) to continue to elevate the third-place experience for the customer. Starbucks will open “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” in selected Hema supermarkets in Shanghai and Hangzhou as soon as September 2018, with plans to expand its presence to other cities over time.

“Our Chinese customers have a high expectation of their Starbucks Experience and we are proud to introduce a premium delivery experience that reflects the same service and quality they’ve come to love and expect from us in our stores – we will never compromise,” said Belinda Wong, chief executive officer, Starbucks China. “More significantly, through our partnership with Alibaba, we are breaking the physical and virtual barriers between the home, office, in-store and digital space, making China the first Starbucks market to deliver a seamless Starbucks Experience across all facets of our customers’ lives and further reflecting the uniqueness and strategic importance of the market.”

Digital Innovations Transforming the Retail Industry

A key strategic initiative under the partnership is the development of a pioneering, first-of-its-kind virtual Starbucks store in China. This digital partnership will see Alibaba develop a centralized online management hub, with the unique capabilities to integrate and deliver a consistent Starbucks Experience across multiple digital platforms. This innovation will transcend the traditional limitations of a single-app visit by providing the consumer an elevated, and even more personalized Starbucks digital experience across the Starbucks app and Alibaba’s customer-facing mobile apps, including Taobao, Alipay, Tmall and Koubei.

This latest innovation will revolutionize the traditional offline-to-online model by effectively extending the reach of the Starbucks Experience into the everyday lifestyle ritual of the Chinese consumer, regardless of time or place. Whether it is at home or in the office, within a Starbucks store or online, Starbucks customers will be able to access and enjoy a one-stop Starbucks Experience when purchasing merchandise online, buying a Starbucks handcrafted beverage to be delivered to a friend or sending a Starbucks gift of love on the “Say it with Starbucks” social gifting platform. Starbucks will progressively integrate its Starbucks Rewards (SR) membership platform onto the centralized system to leverage its consumer insights to deliver a truly personalized experience to its customers, while establishing a strong foundation for the future development of Starbucks digital experiences in China.

Starbucks and Alibaba are trusted business partners who share common values in the spirit of innovation and the unrelenting pursuit of product and service excellence. This deepened partnership is a significant step as both companies partner together to elevate the customer experience across China.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Alitheia IDF Invests $11m in SweepSouth

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SweepSouth Alitheia IDF

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The excellent services offered by SweepSouth have attracted the attention of Alitheia IDF as it has invested about $11 million into the online home services platform providing cleaning services to a wide range of customers across Africa.

Co-founded in 2014 by Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic, SweepSouth has a presence in Africa’s four key tech markets: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt.

This latest round of funding will allow the company to further develop and grow its infrastructure and team in South Africa, roll out new services in existing markets, and pursue both greenfield expansions and acquisitions across the African continent and beyond.

In addition to its expansion efforts, SweepSouth will scale its current efforts to improve the economic and legal rights of domestic workers through efforts such as the SweepSouth Report on Pay and Working Conditions for Domestic Workers Across Africa – a report that highlights the struggles of domestic workers in Africa and encourages more action from governments and stakeholders.

The investment of Alitheia IDF, Africa’s first and largest gender-lens private equity fund, in SouthSweep comes after its acquisition of Egyptian home services platform, Filkhedma, in December 2021

“This new funding round is an important one for our team as we continue to scale in South Africa, and further grow our operations in Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt,” says Aisha Pandor, co-founder of SweepSouth.

“We’re excited to continue SweepSouth’s work in connecting customers with home service providers across the continent, building a platform that empowers domestic workers and local tradespeople.

“We are particularly proud to have raised funding from Alitheia IDF, a female-led fund, and to have included more women investors on the cap table via a female-focused SPV during this round. We are excited about what this means for us going forward and thrilled to have Polo Leteka from Alitheia IDF join the board,” she added.

“We are proud to support SweepSouth’s growth as it expands its platform that substantially improves the financial and social outcomes for domestic workers across Africa, most of which are women. In the domestic services industry, which is notoriously informal and exploitative, SweepSouth’s model solves autonomy, security, increasing income for its service providers, and affordability and flexibility for its end users. AIF’s investment will enable the development of infrastructure and operations that will deliver growth for stakeholders – particularly domestic workers and local tradespeople at the base of the economic pyramid,” says Polo Leteka, Principal Partner, Alitheia IDF Fund.

Alen Ribic, the co-founder of SweepSouth, adds: “We’re excited about bringing new shareholders on board in our mission to build technology that aids in providing meaningful connections – giving customers access to safe, convenient services, and home service providers access to decent work opportunities under dignified conditions.”

It was learned that the size of the round, which is SweepSouth’s largest to date, is a result of strong growth in the company’s valuation and social impact since the previous funding round.

Current investors Naspers Foundry, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and Futuregrowth Asset Management all committed to participate in this new round, as did new investors Endeavor Catalyst, Endeavor’s Harvest Fund II, Caruso Ventures, and E4E Africa.

Alitheia IDF, Africa’s first women-focused and women-led private equity fund, is a $100 million gender-lens fund co-founded and managed by two women-led firms – Alitheia Capital (Lagos, Nigeria) and IDF Capital (Johannesburg, South Africa).

The fund, which announced its final close in 2021 to become the largest gender-lens private equity fund in Africa, identifies, invests in, and grows SMEs led by gender-diverse teams in six African countries: Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

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Organisers Fix October 7, 8 for 2022 WIMCA in Lagos

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WIMCA 20221

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The 2022 edition of the Women in Marketing and Communications Conference/Awards (WIMCA) will take place next month, the organisers have announced.

In a statement, it was disclosed that the event, in its sixth edition, will take place for two, Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8, 2022, at the Landmark Event Centre, Lagos.

According to Brand Communicator, Nigeria’s leading brands and marketing publication, the company packaging the programme, the theme for the event is Breaking More Biases for a Sustainable Future.

It reinforces the actualisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5-Gender Equality in line with this year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme, #BreakTheBias.

It was stated that the event had been repackaged to include an exhibition, masterclass, and other initiatives that make this year’s WIMCA more robust, engaging, educating, exciting, and memorable for participants than they have ever experienced.

The convener of WIMCA and publisher of Brand Communicator, Joshua Ajayi, stated that interested participants could register for the programme for free at www.wimca.ng.

The conference taking place on the first day will feature sections on career development, personal branding, women and personal finance, and marketing CEOs’ success stories, while the second day will focus on a masterclass and an awards & gala night.

The exhibition will hold side-by-side with the first day’s conference and the masterclass held the next morning. It is expected to fold up at least two hours before the awards evening.

“This year, we are taking WIMCA to a new level, celebrating women and charting a new course for women to break more biases for a sustainable future.

“For the first time, we are making it a two-day event with an exhibition that covers the two days, a masterclass segment that holds the next morning, and a special awards ceremony that holds the second day.

“This year, part of the glamour will include the recognition of the top 50 women marketers in Nigeria. I can visualize one of the most glamorous and prestigious recognition projects ever hosted for women in sub-Saharan Africa,” Mr Ajayi said.

“This year’s WIMCA promises to be more glamorous than ever with many exciting initiatives that will be unforgettable.

“The two-day event is what no one in marketing and brand management would want to miss. It is always a viable platform for networking and gaining brand visibility for women and the men who come to support them,” he added.

Recall, last year, experts in the business of brands and marketing communications in Africa gathered to dissect the theme Women in Leadership: Building a strong Professional PIE (Performance, Image, and Exposure) and Dawn Rowlands, CEO of Dentsu Africa, one of Africa’s most influential women leaders was the lead speaker.

This year, the value and excitement have been lifted to the next level. Stakeholders in the Brands and marketing industry like APCON, NIMN, CIM, and Members of various Industry bodies: MIPAN, AAAN, OAAN, PRCAN, ADVAN, EXMAN, and others from diverse fields are expected to grace this unique event.

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Coca-Cola Partners Jumia to Meet Consumer Demand

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coca-cola Jumia

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A partnership aimed to meet the demands of consumers in Africa has been signed between Jumia and Coca-Cola.

Through this deal, consumers of the soft drink brand will have the opportunity of having the products delivered to their doorsteps in the shortest time possible, the leading e-commerce platform in Africa confirmed in a statement.

This move, which will be available to customers in Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, and Uganda, will increase the assortment available on Jumia and support product delivery in the fastest time possible. Consumers also will enjoy promotions such as ‘buy-one-get-one free’ and discounts of up to 20 per cent on Coca-Cola orders.

“We are happy to partner with Coca-Cola to meet consumer demand for everyday products at the fastest delivery time and at affordable prices.

“Coming after the launch of our Quick Commerce – Jumia Food Mart, we are happy to let our consumers know that they can expect their delivery of beverages in under 20 minutes, offering convenience at its best,” the chief commercial officer of Jumia, Romain Christodoulou, stated.

The Vice President for Customer & Commercial Leadership at Coca-Cola Africa Operating Unit, Minas Vourodimos, while also commenting, said, “We are pleased to partner with Jumia as we strive to meet the needs of consumers across Africa by making our beverages available for delivery to their homes when they need them.

“Through this, we will be offering an alternative for easy and fast access to Coca-Cola brands across several beverage categories to hydrate and refresh.”

There has been a notable increase in purchases of everyday products on Jumia since the COVID-19 outbreak as more consumers than ever continue to embrace online shopping.

Groceries/everyday essentials is a fast-growing category on Jumia, according to the Africa e-commerce report entitled Jumia Africa e-Commerce Index 2021.

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