CapitaLand turns up the heat on retail by partnering Alibaba and Lazada Singapore

It’s 2017 and the retail landscape is quickly evolving.

To combat the “death of retail”, retail giants are increasingly being forced to revamp their online and offline strategies as a whole, instead of treating them as individual business units.

Local conglomerate CapitaLand announced on Wednesday (Aug 23) new strategic alliances with e-commerce giants Alibaba Group and Lazada Singapore to advance what it calls its “omni-channel strategy”.

CapitaLand, which currently manages 109 shopping malls across 54 cities, will be managing a new shopping podium and one office tower at Alibaba’s new 80,000 sq m Shanghai headquarters. As a partner, CapitaLand will also be responsible for the pre-opening of these spaces.

Founder of popular e-commerce site Taobao, Alibaba is one of the world’s largest retailers. While it is mainly an e-commerce company, the Chinese group with over 50,000 employees started dabbling in physical retail stores earlier this year.

Mr Wang Tao, Head of Intelligence Building at Alibaba Group, hopes that the firm’s partnership with CapitaLand will chart  “new frontiers in integrating online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain to meet the needs of consumers”.

Alibaba’s Shanghai headquarters
Capitaland Limited

According to president & group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, Mr Lim Ming Yan, “the key to unlocking the next stage of growth lies in blending physical and digital channels to create a seamless offline and online (O&O) experience that is sought after by consumers.”

As even e-commerce bigwigs like Alibaba are moving toward combining O&O experiences in the retail landscape, CapitaLand itself is eager to become Singapore’s first omni-channel retail landlord.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it would also be partnering Lazada Singapore to establish an online channel aimed at providing a seamlessly integrated O&O shopping experience.

A preview of the CapitaLand store page on Lazada.sg
Capitaland Limited

If successful, this partnership with Lazada will give CapitaLand an opportunity to reinvent modern retail in Singapore.

Shoppers who buy items on the Lazada channel will be able to collect and return their orders in special lounges equipped with fitting rooms and product-testing benches at CapitaLand malls.

Mr. Lim says: “Even as new technologies disrupt traditional business models, real estate remains an important part of a holistic customer journey, as affirmed by leading digital players who are seeking to gain a foothold in the physical space.”