Walmart and Chinese e-commerce marketplace JD.com are expanding their partnership by integrating their platforms, supply chains and customer resources in China even further, according to a press release from the companies on Tuesday.
Some of the new initiatives will coincide with the companies’ first “8.8 omni-channel shopping festival" set to take place on August 8.
The joint effort lets Walmart and JD help each other to fulfill orders. When an order comes in, the companies will determine whether a JD fulfillment center or a Walmart store is closer, thereby making delivery faster and easier. JD is also setting up order and pickup stations in some Walmart stores in China, while Walmart has opened virtual storefronts for its Walmart, Sam’s Club and ASDA brands on JD’s marketplace. Some 134 Walmart stores in 18 cities in China have also joined the JD Daojia platform to offer fast delivery of orders in one hour, the companies said.
Like Alibaba's Singles Day, (named for the series of ones on that date), Aug. 8 (8/8) is meaningful in China, as a particularly auspicious day. The shopping event is a clear challenge to Alibaba's blockbuster Singles Day event, which garnered the e-commerce giant a record $18 billion in sales last year, and spilled some of that retail fortune onto rival JD and its own marketplace sellers (which now includes Walmart and its brands).
"Since forming our strategic partnership with JD.com in June of last year, we have continued to expand our omnichannel strategy to better serve customers and grow our business in China,” Ben Hassing, senior vice president of Walmart China e-commerce and technology, said in a statement. “Our ability to tap into JD.com’s advantages across logistics, big data, technology and customer service gives Walmart a huge advantage in reaching China’s rapidly expanding consumer class.”
After India, which is the top developing country for retail investment, China comes in second, a ranking mostly driven by size and the continued evolution of its retail environment, despite slowing economic growth overall, according to the latest edition of A.T. Kearney's Global Retail Development Index, emailed to Retail Dive last month. JD rival Alibaba last month projected sharp growth, thanks in part to continuing healthy spending by Chinese consumers.
While Alibaba aims to leverage its massive data capabilities to stoke what it says is a social-based shopping ethos, Walmart and JD appear to be working on more practical aspects of e-commerce, like fulfillment, inventory and reach. “As technology pushes the boundaries of what is possible, JD.com and Walmart’s global supply chain excellence offers complementary platforms and a commitment to customers that provides us with an enormous opportunity to define the future of retail in China,” Carol Fung, president of JD fast moving consumer goods, said in a statement.