In one month, Chinese Starbucks customers will no longer need to wait in line for their cup of coffee as the coffee giant forms new partnership with the Alibaba Group.
The coffee company announced the “new retail” partnership on August 2 with the Internet giant, focusing on collaboration with key businesses in Alibaba’s ecosystem including Ele.me, Hema Supermarket, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay. The aim is to enable a seamless Starbucks Experience.
Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, said that Starbucks is growing fast in China in cooperation with over 45,000 partners, and that the team that will bring the new innovation behind the Starbucks Experience to life.
As a traditional coffee brand, Starbucks has been facing fierce competition from rising Internet coffee brands in the area of coffee delivery services. Now with the new partnership, the company will find a solution through working with China’s leading on-demand food delivery platform, Ele.me.
The pilot delivery service will start this September in 150 Starbucks stores in key business zones in Beijing and Shanghai. Starbucks plans to accelerate and expand its delivery program to more than 2,000 stores across 30 cities by the end of 2018.
Starbucks will also partner with Hema Supermarket to establish dedicated “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” that will enable handcrafted Starbucks coffee and tea beverages ordered online to be delivered from the supermarkets.
The new partnership with Starbucks is part of Alibaba’s broader New Retail plan, which aims to facilitate the integration of online and offline experiences.
“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,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of the Alibaba Group.