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Hong Kong, May 30th 2018 – Vinexpo’s shared mutual vision with Alibaba Group of transforming the way we buy and sell wine took a significant step forward today with the unveiling of Alibaba’s ‘New Retail’ core strategy. The New Retail strategy supports the drive towards a transformation of the traditional retail industry by digitizing the entire retail operation, reconfiguring how the three-step online platform – retail outlet – consumer – relationship works through every stage of the retail interaction.  

Alibaba’s Tmall ‘New Retail’ merges the best of online and offline commerce for the benefit of both brands and consumers, making the shopping experience more personal, more engaging and more convenient. Opportunities for the wine and spirits industry are already being generated. Alibaba’s incubation of new concepts and technologies and strategic alliances is designed to reshape consumer behavior of the future, implementing its radical New Retail approach and methodology with a focus on in-store technology, digitized inventory and supply chain systems, consumer insights and mobile payments.

For example, first among these New Retail technologies is Tmall’s "Future Bar". On arriving at Alibaba Group’s Vinexpo stand, ‘customers’ are greeted by the Tmall Robot waiter, who asks them, “Hey, don’t you want to have a drink?” – in multiple languages. The advanced human-computer interaction offers a glimpse of the future for wine merchants and their customers. This robot-friendly approach is already being used by many five-star hotels in Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea and Tmall expects it to be applied elsewhere in the hospitality sector as well.

On-stand customers then enter Alibaba’s booth via face scan, where a choice of three bottles of red wine awaits them. Whichever bottle they choose, Tmall technology will deliver detailed information onscreen, including product history, the winery and winemaker who brought it to market and which foods to pair it with – all the information necessary for consumers to make a buying decision is provided.

The Future Bar also contains touchscreen televisions that display the history of a wine’s home chateau, which links to the chateau’s Tmall flagship store so that they can order their favourite wines online. This is a great solution for brick-and-mortar sellers with limited retail space. And it allows consumers to place orders with one click and delivers the wine straight to their homes so they don’t have to carry it with them. Many Hong Kongers will also be able to take advantage of Tmall’s same-day delivery option.

Alibaba is building the infrastructure for the future of commerce, and the company’s New Retail technologies are being enthusiastically taken up by the wine and spirits industry – Treasury Wine Estates, one of the world’s largest wine companies, has launched a series of New Retail initiatives to radically reshape and enhance the consumer experience in developing the taste of their wine that is preferred by customers based on precise data intelligence. Suntory has opened three virtual retail flagships on Tmall for ASC Fine Wine, SUNTORYWELLNESS and Beam Suntory. 800yr old Chinese white liquor brand Kweichow Moutai Group opened a virtual Tmall flagship in the autumn of last year to streamline the linkage between the online store and its offline distributors.

Guillaume Deglise, CEO of Vinexpo commented that: 'These are groundbreaking new technological developments in retail that have big implications for the wine and spirits industry - and great opportunities too. Our partnership with Alibaba works two ways - introducing them to the wine business and the wine business to e-commerce being the way to develop business in China. Also we are happy to offer our worldwide platform to help further develop Alibaba's retail strategy for the wine and spirits industry.'