Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) has been in talks with Kroger about a possible partnership deal to speed up the integration of both online and offline sales. Already, the e-commerce giant has worked with hundreds of businesses around the world to expand commercial relationships and reaching Chinese consumers. By working with Kroger, Alibaba would be given access to Kroger’s 2,800 U.S. stores that would be 6 times greater than Amazon’s deal with Whole Foods. This deal could also be of competition with other companies such as Walmart and Jet.com.
The Alibaba and Kroger partnership could allow Kroger to license Alipay or introduce Alibaba’s Hema supermarkets in the U.S., similar to Amazon’s recent launch of the cashier-less Amazon Go stores. Currently, Kroger has been working on adding more digital features to their locations. The grocery chain is introducing a new service called “Scan, Bag, Go” to 400 stores where shoppers can scan items with the use of their mobile device while they shop. Eventually, this can lead to payments with phones where Alipay could come into use. The grocery chain also is looking to add digital shelf technology called Kroger Edge, to about 200 stores this year. This will replace paper price tags with digital displays that will show an item’s price, nutritional information, video ads, as well as coupons.