Chinese shoppers will need to look no further than Alibaba Group’s Tmall Global to have access to fashion, accessories, and household wares from iconic U.S. department store Macy’s.
The 150-year-old brand, which has been struggling with slumping sales this year, has long been a staple of the high-end shopping districts frequented by Chinese visitors to the United States. Alibaba’s dedication toward global expansion means that later this year, Macy’s online flagship store will soon join the growing list of retailers that have worked with the e-commerce giant.
Alibaba’s march toward making international brands more accessible in China attracted particular attention last year when Burberry launched a small e-boutique on Tmall, Alibaba’s first partnership with a global luxury fashion brand apart from a stint with Coach that did not last more than a month. Burberry’s confidence attracted skeptics at first because luxury brands not only feared e-commerce would tarnish their image, but were up against the counterfeit luxury goods being sold on the site. However, the partnership, plus Alibaba’s move toward a U.S. IPO in late 2014 and continuous efforts to weed out fakes, paved the way for a short list of high-end brands to join Burberry, including Tesla, L’Occitane, and Estée Lauder, later followed by Calvin Klein and Fossil and several others.
This latest move by Macy’s China Limited, a joint venture between Macy’s Inc. and Hong Kong-based Fung Retailing Limited, marks another milestone for major retail brands in the China market, as it means Macy’s is the first U.S. department store to launch sales on Alibaba’s increasingly selective Tmall Global site.
“Macy’s is one of the most iconic brands in the world and we are honored Macy’s China Limited has chosen us as their exclusive partner to grow their business in China,” Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said in a statement. “Macy’s exclusive Tmall Global flagship store is a major win for consumers across China. It reinforces Tmall Global’s status as the premiere solution for brands and retailers in their strategic online presence and direct engagement with customers in China.”
This is not Macy’s first venture into the Chinese market. Chinese customers have been able to place orders on Macy’s international site since Borderfree began collaborating with Alipay last year. (Alibaba also introduced similar services through its Alipay ePass around the same time, and later, with U.S. e-commerce site ShopRunner.) Long before that, in spring 2013, Macy’s first reached Chinese online shoppers through an O2O model, selling its private label collection on the now defunct high-end e-tail site omei.com.