HONG KONG — Deepening its strategic alliance, Wal-Mart and JD.com have revealed a new omnichannel shopping festival set for August 8 and a set of initiatives to integrate their supply chains and other operations as the battle for the Chinese consumer intensifies.
“The festival will help Wal-Mart extend its reach to the 99 percent of the country’s population that JD.com’s delivery network covers, bringing high-quality Wal-Mart products to more Chinese customers nationwide,” the announcement said.
“Our ability to tap into JD.com’s advantages across logistics, big data, technology and customer service gives Wal-Mart a huge advantage in reaching China’s rapidly expanding consumer class,” said Ben Hassing, senior vice president of Wal-Mart China e-commerce and technology. “We look forward to further bringing together our strengths in digital and physical retail to take the customer experience in China to the next level.”
The day of the shopping promotion, August 8, is an auspicious one in China because of the double eights that appear in it. The number eight is considered a lucky number in the country and loved because the word for “eight” sounds similar to the word for “prosper.” For example, the Beijing Olympics kicked off at 8 p.m. on August 8, 2008.
The two companies also unveiled plans to integrate supply chains. Under the new system, when customers place orders on JD.com, the system will determine whether a JD.com warehouse or Wal-Mart store is closer to the delivery address and dispatch a JD.com courier accordingly. This new capability is expected to “significantly improve delivery efficiency for customers, optimize delivery routes for JD.com and increase Wal-Mart’s inventory turnover rate.”
The pilot project will launch initially in six cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Wuhan.
Like many online retailers, JD.com has been expanding its presence offline. It recently set up its first JD Home store inside a Wal-Mart store in Shenzhen, which sells electronic products complementing Wal-Mart’s product categories. It is also establishing JD.com pick-up stations in Wal-Mart stores to take advantage of Wal-Mart’s physical network.
JD.com already runs an anniversary sale every June 18, marking the date of its founding, similar to how Alibaba pioneered Singles’ Day, which falls on November 11. Also known as “Double Eleven,” the Alibaba event has become the world’s largest online shopping festival. However, JD.com hit $17.6 billion in transaction volume during its last anniversary sale, nearly equaling the $17.8 billion Alibaba processed during the most recent Singles’ Day.