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Chemist Warehouse extends Alibaba partnership

Chemist Warehouse co-founder Damien Gance (left) with Alibaba Group MD for ANZ Maggie Zhou at a signing ceremony in Melbourne for a new exclusive agreement between the two companies

Australian pharmacy Chemist Warehouse has announced an extension of its exclusive partnership with Tmall Global, Alibaba Group’s dedicated cross-border e-commerce site, as it looks to further grow its market share in the world’s second-largest economy.

According to the agreement, which was signed on Friday at the Chinese technology giant’s Melbourne office, Alibaba will support Chemist Warehouse during major marketing campaigns such as during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in addition to helping the company leverage Alibaba’s e-commerce and media properties to better reach Chinese consumers.

“The motivation to continue the relationship is so we can use Alibaba’s ecosystem to build our brand awareness in China,” said Nancy Jian, chief operating officer for the China division of Chemist Warehouse. “We work with Alibaba very closely to make sure we utilise every channel possible to engage our target customers on Tmall Global.”

Melbourne-based Chemist Warehouse is Australia’s biggest pharmacy with a chain of nearly 400 retail drug stores and hit RMB 100 million ($14.4 million) in gross merchandise volume and finished with a higher GMV than all of the other merchants on Tmall Global during last year’s 11.11 festival. It also lead sales on platform’s Black Friday sale.

“Our strongest product category is health, like vitamin supplements,” said Jian. “More and more people in China are very conscious about health these days,” she said. “The trend is there and online marketplaces such as Tmall Global are making it easier for foreign brands to sell into China.”

Chemist Warehouse has also been experimenting with New Retail, a new form of commerce pushed by Alibaba that blends online and offline services to improve the shopping experience for customers. Jian said the company is currently working with Alibaba affiliate company Ant Financial to allow Chinese consumers to use Alipay to shop at Chemist Warehouse—both online and offline. If successful, consumers would be able to pay with Alipay in a brick-and-mortar shop in Australia, then have digital promotions sent to them so they can shop on Tmall Global once they’re home in China.

“We want to create a seamless global experience for our customers,” said Jian.

“We want to continue growing in China because there is a lot of potential in the market,” she said. “Demand will only grow because people’s concern about health is getting stronger, it’s getting more widespread and that’s what we want to see.”

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