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Camellia Aebischer


Alibaba updates RT-Mart to New Retail

The hypermarket has just finished a months-long digital transformation using Hema as a model

Alibaba updates RT-Mart to New Retail

A conveyorbelt system hanging from the store's ceiling sends picked products to a despatch bay for delivery

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Online ordering, in-store delivery, and daily fresh selection of vegetables, are a few new features that shoppers at 100 different RT-Mart stores can enjoy.

Following the opening of Hema supermarkets, Alibaba has applied its business model to upgrade established hypermarket chain, RT-Mart. The 100 upgraded stores make up one quarter of RT-Mart’s outlets in China; remaining stores are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Alibaba acquired 36 per cent of the RT-Mart and Auchan hypermarket chains late last year in a US$2.88bn deal. As part of the agreement, the company said it would share New Retail technology and insights to expedite RT-Mart’s digitisation, inventory management, and instore efficiencies.

The new offerings include one-hour arrival for orders within 3km, fulfilled using the store’s existing inventory. Shoppers instore can also receive delivery in as little as an hour by scanning products and completing online Taobao orders using Alipay.

Hema’s “Daily Fresh” programme will also be available through the hypermarkets, and features vegetables, meat and dairy products brought in and replaced each day, to ensure only the freshest items are available. The programme is made possible through joint supply purchases between Hema and RT-Mart.

RT-Mart's New Retail transformation has been a success, with one Shanghai store seeing orders peak at 5,000 per day, compared with next to none prior to the Alibaba collaboration.

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