Welcome to this week’s round-up where we take a look at Walmart’s partnership with Rakuten, Alibaba & Starbucks’ virtual store, JD.com’s AI-equipped delivery robots and more!
Walmart partners with Rakuten to open Japanese e-commerce store
US giant Walmart has partnered with the Japanese retail firm Rakuten to open its first e-commerce store in Japan. The collaboration was first announced at the start of the year, but now the two have launched the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store to help Walmart gain a share of Japan’s e-commerce market, which is worth an estimated $148bn per year). The store is part of Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s biggest e-commerce store, and will include over 1,200 US branded products covering different categories such as clothing, outdoor items and kids toys. Walmart has a history of partnerships in Asia with a notable link up with JD.com in China.
Starbucks launches first virtual store in China
It has been announced that Starbucks has launched its first virtual store in China, with the help of technology from Alibaba. The new virtual store will provide a one-stop digital experience across Starbucks’ own app as well as mobile apps owned and run by Alibaba including Taobao, Tmall and Alipay. Alibaba has designed an online management hub specifically for Starbucks which ‘provides consumers integrated access to Starbucks’ digital offerings, including “Starbucks Delivers”, “Say it with Starbucks” social gifting and merchandise available from Starbucks’ Tmall flagship store.’ This new virtual store is another step of the collaboration between the two giants which was first announced back in August this year.
JD.com rolls out AI-equipped delivery robots
JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce company has begun to roll out AI-equipped robots that can deliver products up to 5km away from its base. The robots can be unlocked using face authentication to prevent the wrong people taking the delivery and are helping JD to cope with ‘rising labour shortages and skyrocketing wages in China’s logistics industry.‘ The robots can travel up to 20kph and are also able to avoid obstacles, traffic as well as obeying road signals. Each robot has 22 compartments and if a customer doesn’t take delivery of their item within a specified time the robot moves on to the next destination with the delivery rescheduled. This isn’t JD’s first foray into delivery technology with it also carrying out some deliveries with drones.
CMA investigating eBay UK’s acquisition of Motors.co.uk
It was announced a few weeks ago that eBay UK was in the process of acquiring Motors.co.uk, but it has now been reported that the acquisition is being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). eBay has stated that it is its intention to make Motors.co.uk a part of Gumtree UK, an eBay Classified business. With Motors.co.uk and Gumtree combined along with eBay Motors there are more than 620,000 car listings, making it bigger than the existing market leader Autotrader which has around 500,000 listings. The CMA has stated: “The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”
Souq.com opens new Dubai fulfilment centre
Souq.com which is owned by Amazon has announced that it is opening a new fulfilment centre in Dubai. The new facility will span 23,000m2 and has been designed to meet the ever-growing demand from customers across the Middle East. Souq has also announced that the new site will create 600 jobs and allow it to widen its selection of products, it also brings the total number of fulfilment centres in the UAE to 3. Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder of Souq has said: “The increased fulfilment capacity also benefits our sellers, who comprise of thousands of small and medium-sized business, by enabling them to scale up their business on our marketplace.”
If you have any questions or queries regarding marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or JD.com then feel free to get in touch with us to see how we can help.