Alibaba, the Retail Operating System

Even more aggressively than Amazon, Alibaba positions itself from an e-commerce platform to a full-fledged retail operating system.

This is not so much about the shiny tech toys embedded in flagship automated stores, as much as absorbing every mom and pop stores by a fully integrated OS. This paints a future where the smallest corner shop will have to be connected to Alibaba or not be relevant anymore for its closest consumers. This will also build in just a few years a tremendous amount of real-time data on what people need from groceries, to drugs or cars in every part of any given

Such strategy (as I already pointed out this summer) also allows to build new form of added values. It may be by allowing to try a new car without appointment, extend your delivery options, and get access to very localized offers.

I remember fondly in the 90s where Zara was the most modern example in retail of integrating in-store data to manufacturing and supply chain. They were riding horses. Alibaba has invented the car.

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Philippe Méda

Philippe has been training about 200 startups a year since 2007, consulted for dozens of multinationals on rupture innovation or corporate incubation. He also teaches innovation in key MBA programs in Paris and Shanghai.