Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés has entered into a cooperation agreement with Chinese online giant Alibaba. The partnership covers e-commerce, physical retail, cloud services and payment systems.
It is a cooperation in two directions, the partners emphasize: El Corte Inglés will open digital flagship stores on Alibaba platforms such as Tmall Global and AliExpress to reach a worldwide audience with its Spanish products. On the other hand, AliExpress will have physical spaces at its disposal in El Corte Inglés department stores, where shoppers can pick up their online orders. Both partners will also collaborate logistically: Alibaba will make use of the distribution centres of the Spanish retailer for its shipments.
Alipay, Alibaba's payment system, will be available in the department stores so that Chinese shoppers will be able to pay by scanning a QR code with their smartphone, just like in China. Spain welcomes some 700,000 Chinese tourists every year. Furthermore, the department store group will use services from Alibaba Cloud, such as big data analysis and artificial intelligence, which will enable the retailer to offer its customers a more personalised shopping experience.
El Corte Inglés is Europe's largest department store chain, with 92 stores in Spain and 2 in Portugal. The group also operates hypermarkets, supermarkets, do-it-yourself shops, travel agencies, opticians, fashion stores and insurance offices. The company realises an annual turnover of almost 16 billion euros.