El Corte Inglés Pilots Alibaba Cloud's AI and Cloud Technologies to Create New Shopping Experience for Consumers

Sep 19, 2019

Advanced AI-powered Image Search and Recommendation Engine functions are on trial to improve user experience

Madrid, Spain, 19 September, 2019 – Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, and El Corte Inglés - the biggest department store group in Europe and Spain's only remaining department store chain – have jointly announced that they are working together to accelerate El Corte Inglés's digital transformation process with Alibaba Cloud's artificial intelligence and cloud-driven retail solutions.

With online shopping changing customers' retail expectations, Alibaba Cloud's Image Search and Recommendation Engine will be piloted by El Corte Inglés to further personalise customer experience online, by offering an effective yet creative technology solution powered by artificial intelligence.

As a pioneer in both retail offerings and the services it offers customers, Madrid-headquartered El Corte Inglés has been proactive in its adoption of new concepts and services that meet the evolving needs of its customers. This strategy has ensured it remains competitive against an increasingly challenging retail environment, and today Alibaba Cloud's broad portfolio of sophisticated data-driven technologies for retail, is helping to support business innovation while improving the online shopping experience for the retailer's customers.

The improvements driven by Alibaba Cloud manifest themselves in new retail experiences. El Corte Inglés customers could benefit from precise search, which would enable shoppers to search more accurately for items using an image, rather than by typing in a vague keyword into the search box. The second customer experience that El Corte Inglés has improved, is customised discovery. In some cases, customers browse for unspecified items. With customised discovery, shoppers benefit from seeing personalised recommendations based on their interests or needs.

Víctor del Pozo, CEO of El Corte Inglés, added: 'Alibaba Cloud offers some of the most advanced cloud-based technologies and solutions for retail, and we're very excited to be working with the global leader on the next stage of our digital transformation. The deployment of Alibaba's AI and cloud driven Image Search and Recommendation Engine, could present our customers with a top-level online retail experience, which will continue to give us a competitive edge to maintain our lead in retail across Europe."

With 20 years' experience in e-commerce, Alibaba Cloud is the ideal partner to help European retailers - like El Corte Inglés - to further embrace the opportunities that digital presents to both the retailer and its customers. This is thanks to Alibaba Cloud developing extensive expertise in successfully offering millions of customers a personalised and customised shopping experience.

Kevin Liu, General Manager for Alibaba Cloud France and South Europe, stated: 'Retail in Europe is undergoing transformative changes, with the industry facing a lot of new challenges. These range from changing customer expectations, the need to migrate to a digital business and the shift to omni-channel platforms. Alibaba Cloud is honoured to partner with El Conte Inglés to address these challenges together. We use Cloud and AI technology, such as Image Search and Recommendation Engine, to make it easy to do shopping, in the digital era."

Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio, General Manager Southern Europe at Alibaba Group and Country Manager Southern Europe at Alipay, added "We are thrilled to have achieved this further milestone in our long-standing partnership with El Corte Inglés, following the sign of an agreement last year that covers commerce, smart payments, cloud computing and New Retail. Apart from the great results on the cloud side, El Corte Inglés has a number of stores already operating on AliExpress and we are also on a good trajectory on the Tmall Global side. Together, we are working towards the digitization of retail, and we are sure that the synergies we are creating thanks to the skills and expertise of our respective teams will generate incredible value for the end-consumers and for the industry overall".

Looking ahead, El Corte Inglés and Alibaba Cloud will continue working hand in hand to drive digital transformation, and the retailer is also looking into leveraging Alibaba Group ecosystem encompassing digital commerce, retail, finance, logistics, digital media and entertainment for greater opportunities globally.

About El Corte Inglés

El Corte Inglés is Europe's biggest chain of department stores and a reference in retail in Spain. Since it opened in 1940, the Group has remained faithful to its belief in customer service and a constant quest to meet society's tastes and changing needs. It set out to be an establishment where the customer could find all sorts of products and services. El Corte Inglés has created a pioneering and unique business model and purchasing style, based on its slogan "the store for all your purchases". Its business success has led it to a policy of diversifying and creating new formats, launching into the sale of a large variety of consumer products.

About Alibaba Cloud

Established in 2009, Alibaba Cloud (www.alibabacloud.com), the cloud computing and data intelligence arm of Alibaba Group, is among the world's top three IaaS providers, according to Gartner, and the largest provider of public cloud services in China, according to IDC. Alibaba Cloud provides a comprehensive suite of cloud computing services to businesses worldwide, including merchants doing business on Alibaba Group marketplaces, start-ups, corporations and government organisations. Alibaba Cloud is the official Cloud Services Partner of the International Olympic Committee.

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