AliExpress opens its first physical store outside China

Spain, Alibaba's fourth market by turnover volume, was the place chosen for the company to debut its endeavor in Europe

aliexpress open first physical store in Europe
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  • AliExpress’ first physical store in Europe was inaugurated in Madrid, Spain;
  • The 740 square meters store will work as a showroom, featuring 1,000 products from over 60 brands;
  • AliExpress’ parent brand Alibaba is familiar with the concept of integrating the on-off experience, hence its other ventures such as the supermarket Hema.

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has opened a new–and ambitious–venture in one of its main markets: Spain. Under the AliExpress brand, the endeavor is not only the first physical store of AliExpress in Europe, but also the very first set up outside China.

Officially opened on August 21, last Wednesday, the 740 square meter store located in Madrid, will work as a showroom, featuring 1,000 products from over 60 brands. Shoppers will be able to look for and try out products in-store, although the final purchase would then be made through the AliExpress online portal. 

This closely tied relation between the on and off experience is a concept that Alibaba already knows how to carry out, hence their online-to-offline supermarket Hema, a point of sale model where the customer can have the same experience in-store as they do online. At Hema, products can be bought both online and offline, and the main idea is to cover the consumer’s need for ordering food for the night on their way home. To make it possible, delivery is assured for 30 minutes after an order has been placed, if the consumer lives within a 3km range of a Hema store. 

As for the new store in Madrid, located in Madrid Xanadu–one of the largest shopping centers in Europe–the strategy is not aimed at establishing a network of physical stores, but  is focused rather on raising awareness of AliExpress among Spanish customers, so as to be able to get proprietary data on their shopping patterns. After all, Spain is Alibaba’s fourth market by turnover volume, only after China, the United States, and Russia.

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Regarding the opening of a physical AliExpress store in other regions outside of Europe, the company didn’t announce anything until the date. In Brazil, a similar concept is carried out by local retail e-commerce brand Amaro, which merges on and off experiences through its guide shops, locations where consumers can try out the clothing pieces, pay through the e-commerce channel or app, and then order to receive at home within one day delivery at the latest–in São Paulo, Amaro’s average delivery time is 2h30.

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