The first Starbucks virtual store has opened in China powered by technology from Alibaba Group.
The platform provides a unified digital experience across the Starbucks app and other mobile apps within the Alibaba online ecosystem, including Taobao, Tmall, and Alipay. It uses an online management hub developed specifically for Starbucks by Alibaba, providing consumers integrated access to Starbucks’ digital offerings, social gifting and merchandise available from Starbucks’ Tmall flagship store.
Alibaba’s technology streamlines the shopping process, pulling offers that were available in multiple digital apps into a single access point, giving Starbucks a complete, centralised overview of its consumers’ actions online.
The integration of membership between Starbucks and the range of Alibaba apps is expected to fuel strong growth in Starbucks Rewards membership in China.
The new Starbucks virtual store steps up the collaboration announced by Alibaba and Starbucks in August 2018, when the companies agreed a deep, strategic New-Retail partnership. Alibaba’s food delivery platform Ele.me already provides Starbucks delivery service for 2000 stores across 30 Chinese cities.