(Yicai Global) Dec. 11 -- A China United Network Communications Ltd. [SHA:600050] (China Unicom) store in Shanghai has employed the 'new retail' model and will reopen during this week's Dec. 12 shopping event. The telecoms firm will use this shop as a model for a nationwide campaign to give its locations a facelift.
The update is the latest product of the Beijing-based group's partnership with internet titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA].
The store will make product recommendations based on artificial intelligence and Big Data. It will synchronize information about its online and offline stock.
Younger consumers tend to prefer internet and mobile shopping, while many middle-aged ones head to traditional outlets. One of the objectives for the partnership between China Unicom and Alibaba is attracting a broader range of customers through service diversification, and young consumers are the top priority, a higher-up working on the cooperation told Yicai Global.
"The new retail upgrade doesn't make much sense if the goal is only to match China Unicom's existing services with its existing users," the source said.
The two companies have focused on Big Data-based product selection, hoping it will drive store transformation. By offering Da-Jiang Innovations Science and Technology Co. drones, Tmall Genie, juicers and other bestselling consumer electronics from Alibaba's Tmall retail platform at brick-and-mortar shops, China Unicom can attract more consumers.
The retail-oriented facelift will initially focus on demonstrating applications and marketing. The store has introduced a series of promotions for the Dec. 12, also known as Double 12, shopping spree including augmented reality vouchers, a Tmall Genie passcode guessing game, a phone giveaway and a cellphone plan that bundles a China Unicom package with Tmall Genie. The focus of online and offline sales integration will increasingly shift toward people and physical and virtual products.
Dec. 12 is a national e-commerce marketing extravaganza similar to the Singles' Day (Nov. 11) shopping festival.