Ele.me and Koubei, Alibaba’s two key consumer services units, have jointly rolled out an open operating system for brick-and-mortar stores and supermarket chains in an effort to improve their efficiency, the company said on Monday.

Why it matters: The launch of the system marks another step forward in the e-commerce giant’s pivot towards enterprise-facing businesses. Offering an operating system will help the company to bring leading retailers into the Alibaba ecosystem.

  • The platform allows retail players to streamline online membership engagement, payments, marketing, and on-demand deliveries, as well as the management of supply chains and stock levels.
  • Xiong Bin, vice president of Ele.me, said the system has been rolled out for some major retail chains, according to local media.

Details: More than 10,000 supermarkets and at least 200,000 retail chain outlets across 676 cities countrywide are already using the platform.

  • The system will further leverage services and technology capabilities from the broader Alibaba ecosystem, including e-commerce from Taobao and Tmall, fintech from Ant Financial, logistics from Fengniao, and digital marketing from Alimama.
  • Alibaba cooperates with supermarket chains such as RT-Mart, Carrefour, Vanguard, Watsons, CenturyMart and Metro, among others.
  • Vanguard’s orders via on-demand home delivery platform Ele.me jumped 73% month on month after it started using the system, while that of CenturyMart tripled, according to Alibaba.

Context: Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang previously announced the launch of the Alibaba commercial operating system in January as part of its A100 Strategic Partnership program to help firms realize digital transformation.

  • Last month, Alibaba made its system available to merchants and launched an upgraded version of its Fulfillment by Tmall 2.0 (FBT) service platform.
  • After completing its acquisition of Ele.me in April 2018, Alibaba merged the platform with in-house food delivery unit Koubei into the Alibaba Local Services Company in October the same year..