retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times has a story about how Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba “has become so big that it is looking for growth by forging into new territory: the offline world. Alibaba has snapped up stakes in grocers and in an electronics chain over the last three years, a perhaps counterintuitive series of moves for a company that helps consumers in China buy products with their smartphones. In part, the push is driven by the eventual maturation of its online business.”

According to the Times, “Alibaba has been pouring cash into experiments in what its founder, Jack Ma, calls ‘new retail’: a kind of teched-up re-envisioning of how people shop in store. In particular, it hopes to gather more detailed user data, which could help it offer more personalized services and ads to its customers online and off.”
KC's View:
Which makes a potential tie-up between Alibaba and Kroger - which has been more progressive in terms of data collection and utilization - so intriguing.