Alibaba Ups Competition With Investment in Online Wholesale Marketplace

On the heels of major funding in a facial recognition software startup and its ongoing competition with Amazon, Alibaba Group has become a strategic investor in the online wholesale fashion technology firm Ordre, a spokesperson for the luxury-focused tech company revealed.

“The cooperation between our respective businesses will enable the company to accelerate the development of our technologies,” said Simon Lock, Ordre’s founder and CEO. “We [also look forward to adding] value for the designers we work with and create pathways to the lucrative luxury fashion market in China.”

Ordre’s online wholesale marketplace’s capabilities allow buyers to review collections and “place wholesale orders online when they can’t always be physically present to touch and feel collections,” the spokesman said. The result is more “efficient order taking,” he continued.

Jessica Liu, president of fashion and luxury at Tmall, an e-commerce platform operated by Alibaba, said: “Our investment in Ordre [reinforces] our positioning as partner of choice for brands engaging with high-net-worth Chinese consumers with an appetite for international luxury.”

Liu said the firms’ technology and data insights enable Alibaba to provide consumers with a “personalized” and “differentiated” experience. These qualities, she explained, allow brands to foster a deeper level of engagement with their customers — a critical feat in today’s footwear retail landscape, where customization is in major demand.

Designers who have launched online wholesale showrooms on Ordre’s platform, the spokesperson noted, include Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Proenza Schouler.

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