By James Wells
Wine Australia has revealed plans to open dedicated retail stores following the recent agreement signed with Chinese retailer AliBaba.
Speaking exclusively to TheShout, Wine Australia general manager, Stuart Barclay said that under the new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Alibaba at the recent VinExpo Hong Kong exhibition, a series of strategic ‘new retail’ concepts are now being discussed including ‘pop-up’ stores that only sell Australian wine.
“We have been talking with Alibaba for over a year and they approached us relatively recently about creating this MoU. China is our fastest growing market and ecommerce is absolutely the future, but we are also investigating new ways to retail,” said Barclay, pictured above with Mike Hu, Tmall Fast Moving Consumer Goods CEO.
“One of the conversations I am having with Alibaba is now we can have Australian branded pop-up stores in China. We are very interested in the area of ‘new retail’ and we hope to test and innovate where we can under this MOU.
“We are the first wine country to be signed up in partnership with Alibaba and this shows absolute confidence in the wine category.
“We will be sitting down with Alibaba to discuss next steps including education and training of their staff as well as our promotional calendar over the next 12 months.
“We will also be discussing what we are doing with Tmall and how we can get more Australians on to the Tmall platform. This is a call to action for Australian wineries – if you are interested in e-commerce in China then let us connect you and see if we can create a partnership. Alibaba and Tmall want to push Australian wine and the premium price points of our wine. They recognise that Australia is very strong in the Chinese market and they want to do more business with us.”
The Wine Australia MoU with Alibaba is designed to improve the awareness and visibility of Australian wine through the Tmall e-commerce platform and a new range of interactive retail shops currently being rolled out through China.
The Chinese export market is already worth $1bn in export sales and Wine Australia recently predicted that this will double in size to $2bn in the foreseeable future.
The MoU complements Wine Australia’s significant investment in the China market as part of the Australian Government’s $50m Export and Regional Wine Support Package.
The Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, who was present for the signing of the MoU recently in Hong Kong said this strategic partnership is an important and significant development for the Australian wine sector.
“With the changing face of online retail in China, it’s critical for our wineries to significantly improve their online presence, and to do so in the right way,” she said.
Wine Australia Chief Executive Andreas Clark said the signing of this MoU recognised the strong engagement of Chinese consumers in online retail and their growing interest in Australian wine.
“Working with Tmall will significantly enhance the ultimate consumer engagement. Tmall.com is China’s premier online branded shopping platform and the most visited business-to-consumer online retail website in China.
“By partnering with Tmall, we can collaborate on many aspects and activities that further promote genuine Australian wine and do so in a way that supports the integrity of the brands.
“It’s also an opportunity to educate Alibaba staff about the quality and diversity of Australia’s premium wines through education and awareness development,” he said.