Australia’s Chemist Warehouse is opening its first brick-and-mortar store in China, and launching on a new online marketplace, as cross-border demand for its beauty and mum-and-bubs products continues to drive strong sales growth.
“It is an [online-to-offline] self-pick-up store where customers can actually shop in the store, like a real Chemist Warehouse shopping experience,” COO Nancy Jian told Inside Retail Australia.
“This will be a pilot store, and we hope to be able to replicate this in other cities of China as well once we get everything right.”
Chemist Warehouse is a leading cross-border retailer on Alibaba’s Tmall Global site, after initially partnering with the marketplace in 2015. The new store will be in Zhengzhou city, Henan Province.
Year-on-year sales for Chemist Warehouse’s flagship store on Tmall grew at a rate of 52 per cent, with the main growth coming from its beauty and mum-and-bubs categories.
Alibaba Australia and New Zealand MD Maggie Zhou recently told Inside Retail Australia this was due a perception of Australia by the Chinese consumer as clean and natural.
“For things to eat, to drink, to use on your skin, [Australian products] are really well thought of by the Chinese consumer,” Zhou said.
The pharmacy retailer also is expanding from Alibaba’s Tmall platform to Alibaba’s Kaola marketplace, a cross-border platform that focuses solely on Western brands. It will be the first brand to make the jump since Alibaba acquired Kaola earlier this year.
Chemist Warehouse will also open a store on Alibaba’s Lazada marketplace to expand into the Malaysian and Singaporean markets, as part of a renewed strategic partnership with Alibaba.
“The exciting part for us is to continue growing our cross-border business, not only in China but hopefully soon in Southeast Asia,” Jian said.
The agreement serves to provide easier market access and support for a number of smaller and medium brands.
Additional reporting by Ruth Hogan.
This story first appeared on our sister site Inside Retail Australia.