Retail revival: Alibaba and Swisse unite for link up for new online-to-offline shopping experience

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Swisse's Tmall Theme Store 'Swisseland' is located at the Jing’an Kerry Center in Shanghai. ©Alibaba
Swisse's Tmall Theme Store 'Swisseland' is located at the Jing’an Kerry Center in Shanghai. ©Alibaba

Related tags: China, Alibaba, swisse

China e-commerce giant Alibaba has teamed up with nutraceutical brands, including Swisse, to provide a new online-to-offline shopping experience targeted at Generation Z consumers.

Under the project “Tmall Theme Stores”, the company hopes to create new products, content, and experiences to appeal to young shoppers.

According to the firm, it is a consumer-centric, rather than a product-centric experience, which uses e-commerce data to develop strategies in physical, themed, stores.

One of such stores featured H&H-acquired Australian health and nutrition brand Swisse.

Swisseland 2
Swisse's Tmall Theme Store 'Swisseland'

The store, branded as a beauty tea house known as Swisseland, is located at the Jing’an Kerry Center in Shanghai.

Beyond just product promotion, the store provides added services that allows for more interaction with the  consumers.   .

For instance, the consumers can take a test to find out their skin types and customised nutrition plans will be developed for them.

Collagen beauty tea, the store’s signature product, was developed by consumer insights from Tmall and Swisse. 

Swisseland product
Swisse's beauty drink concoction

The other food and nutraceutical brands that have participated in the project include Nestle, coffee brand FISHEYE, and fast-food chain KFC. The project also extends to the beauty, FMCG, home furnishing sectors.

The Hangzhou-based Alibaba told NutraIngredients-Asia ​that its long-term plan was to expand the initiative to a total of 100 brands in the coming year.

Late last month, it unveiled 20 new stores spread out across different Chinese cities.

The first Tmall Theme Store was opened in last July, featuring specialty coffee brand S.Engine Coffee in Shanghai.

H&H, the parent company of Swisse, will share industry insights in our Growth Asia 2020 interactive broadcast series. Register for free now.

Gen Z, O2O, and secenario-based retail

Alibaba has devised a three-pronged approach to help partnering brands drive sales and foot traffic  to the Tmall Theme Stores.  

The first part of the approach is to target the Gen Z consumers, which the company counts as an important segment.

“Young consumers, particularly Generation Z, are an important segment to us. They are particularly digital-savvy, enthusiastic about new trends, and more discerning about the retail experiences they want to have,”​ Danli Yu, marketing director at Tmall told us.

Second, the approach will require the stores to adopt  a particular theme and come up with activities to interact with the consumers.

“This entails reconstructing the stores with immersive tools and themed products and content to create an engaging space, allowing brands to effectively convey their brand story and personality to consumers,”​ Yu said.

He added that this would be achieved by harnessing data from e-commerce activities to drive sales in brick-and-mortar stores – the third part of the strategy.

This means that consumer behaviour data derived from e-commerce activities will be used to help brands develop consumer insights and strategies that resonate with consumers.

The insights will be applied to product design, the selection of the offline store locations, content development, and consumer outreach.

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