Ref: IMD-7-2097

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2097

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HEMA in China: Is Alibaba ahead of Amazon in retailing?

Stefan Michel

By Professor Stefan MichelStefan Michel, Marco D’Amore, Nursultan Shokanov and Yuehong Zhang

The case describes the dynamics and potential transition of grocery shopping into New Retail concept - a term introduced by Jack Ma and projected to disrupt the way retail industry is working now. The Case discusses and hints that there might be a different game Alibaba and Amazon are playing when merging online and offline shopping and creating a new customer experience with their respective HeMa and AmazonGo initiatives. The hype around the concept with likes of Starbucks and Zara trying to create strategic partnerships with Alibaba for creating the New Retail format suggest that there is a bigger picture involved. The Case highlights the difference in the resources and capabilities utilized by the New Retail players and the traditional brick and mortar retailers, such as Wall Mart, Carrefour and others and suggests that the wholistic “ecosystem” approach might bring a different flavour to the traditionally low margin industry through leveraging the payment system and creating a last mile delivery platform for further growth.

Learning Objective

  • How and why develop long-term initiative outside of its core business and what are the strategic implication in terms of resources and competences adaptation.
  • Understanding the difference between traditional and platform business scalability, networking potential and monetization.
  • How grocery Key Success Factors are influenced by introduction of new technologies.
  • How initiative addresses one or more aspects of the “protecting”, “growing” and “creating” strategic horizons.
Keywords Digital Transformation, Platform, Retail, Strategy
Settings China, United States of America
Alibaba Group, Amazon, Hema, Consumer Goods, Retail, eCommerce
Type Published Sources
Copyright ©IMD 2020
Language English
Related material Teaching note
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Reference: IMD-7-2097

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Reference: IMD-7-2097

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