Alibaba and Bailian Group are planning to open 500 Ego convenience stores in China this year.
New Retail convenience stores
The first store, which has opened in Shanghai, operates around 500 sq m and has six key areas: coffee, bakery, foodservice, fresh, grocery retail and leisure/dining.
About two-thirds of the store area is dedicated to fresh or foodservice, including coffee, bakery and hot meals. It features three self-checkout machines in addition to Alipay checkout and Bailian wallet.
With the store almost five times larger than a typical Japanese CVS, it is able provide a greater range of products and services and meet different shopper missions. The store will also double up as a ‘fulfilment centre’ for distributing products to even smaller stores that Alibaba and Bailian plans to launch.
Two Ego formats
Media reports suggest that Alibaba and Bailian have leased space between 20 to 30 stores in Shanghai for the Ego banner. They also planning to launch two formats: larger central outlets operating between 300 and 500 sq m, and smaller stores of about 100 sq m.
Alibaba and Bailian’s strategic agreement
Alibaba and Bailian signed a strategic cooperation in February 2017 and committed to working together on using big data and new technologies to develop New Retail concept stores. It also aimed to maximise Alibaba’s deep understanding of customers and Bailian’s bricks-and-mortar experience.