Alibaba to open physical home furnishing stores

Alibaba aims to open at least a dozen offline home furnishing specialty stores by 2018 as the e-commerce giant pushes forward its new retail strategy.  

Alibaba aims to open at least a dozen offline home furnishing specialty stores by 2018 as the e-commerce giant pushes forward its new retail strategy. 

The first "Hometimes" store, which will open in Hangzhou later this month, will cover about 500 square meters and will sell everything from furniture to electronic items and kitchenware.

All of the items available will have the same pricing as Tmall, and consumers will also be able to easily place orders online and have them delivered by courier.

Alibaba will add three more stores by the end of this year and another 15 next year.

The domestic home furnishing market had an estimated market value of about 5 trillion yuan (US$769 billion) in 2016, but online sales made up only 100 billion yuan of that total.

Alibaba's Tmall platform will leverage its consumer data to pick merchandising for different store locations, and will eventually help link offline vendors and retailers with online consumers.

It will also analyze shop visitors' preferences for home decoration items and consumer electronics and provide individualized shopping recommendations to each consumer.

The "Hometimes" store at Intime Mall West Lake in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is headquartered, will also be equipped with virtual reality facilities to help shoppers choose their home furnishing style and corresponding items.


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