Academic Master

Business and Finance, Human Resource And Management

Alibaba vs. Amazon Essay

With the evolution of information and communication technologies companies like Amazon and Alibaba have made efforts to exploit the online market. They advertise their products through their websites and applications and provide an online platform that can be used by users to interact with them. However, Amazon and Alibaba have taken different approaches and strategies in their methods of operation. To start with, Amazon offers only online services since it does not have any real shopping mall or warehouse. This means that the customers at Amazon have no interactions with the products they are purchasing until the product is delivered to their step. Amazon entirely depends on the online platform to provide market and does not offer any other offline alternative that customers can use to purchase their products. On the other hand, Alibaba has advanced its mode of operation to facilitate online and offline retail shopping to their customers. In a move coined as the “new retail new reality,” Alibaba has made use of logistics and data technology to come up with offline stores that allow customers to interact with their products. The customers then order and pay for the products at the store using the online services. For example, the Hema supermarket, powered by the internet, allows Alibaba’s customers have an offline shopping experience where they can touch and try some of the products (Osawa, 2013).

Another significant difference between the operations two e-commerce giants is their perspective towards the online-offline retail shopping competition. Amazon openly competes with the offline market for customers. Alibaba, on the other hand, discourages the online-offline competition (Osawa, 2013). It offers its services to both the online and offline shoppers.

The shopping experience at Amazon is also not as entertaining and thrilling as the one at Alibaba. Amazon strictly sticks its website to advertising and selling of its products. Alibaba employs a few strategies to include some entertainment aspects of it business. For example, the “see now buy now ” fashion show during the 11.11 global shopping festival enabled its customers to chose the products through a very entertaining show. Also, the 11.11 countdown Gala celebration psyched the customers for kick-off midnight sales (Osawa, 2013). Alibaba links with its customers and connects with their televisions, computers and mobile phones to provide all this entertainment which Amazon makes no effort to include in its operation.

In my view, I think Alibaba is the most convenient between the two. The services and the shopping experience it offers are fascinating, and it is modeling the e-commerce business into something new. First, its new retail engagement policy where customers can play games for promotions, for example, the Tmall’s “catch the cat” augmented reality game is above average and lures millions of customers. Alibaba’s pop-up stores, brands to create new and meaningful touch points to engage both the offline and online shoppers. Amazon has only one central operating location and this makes it inefficient especially when delivering orders. The delivery system in Amazon takes forty-eight to seventy-two hours to deliver orders even within the city. Alibaba rectifies Amazon’s mistake since any pop-up store acts as a fulfillment center for the online orders. This increases Alibaba’s efficiency to the extent that customers within three kilometers from the stores can receive their orders within thirty minutes (Osawa, 2013).

Alibaba is also able to create a deep connection with its customers. For instance, Alibaba’s salon and doctors can answer consumer’s questions concerning childcare and good parenting. The technology adopted by Alibaba adds to the aspects that make it surpass Amazon. The facial recognition technology and QR code synching that consumers use to connect to their Tmall accounts are overwhelming.


Osawa, J. (2013). Alibaba isn’t the Amazon of China. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://blogs. wsj. com/digits/2013/10/16/alibaba-isnt-the-amazon-of-china.



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