Alibaba deepens roots in Europe with a new partner in France

The company is gradually trimming delivery lead times to Europe.

Credit: DFIC

AliExpress, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform for overseas buyers, has partnered with French logistics service Relais Colis to let French customers receive their packages at any of the latter’s 5,200 pick-up locations in France.

Together, AliExpress and Relais Colis are promising deliveries from China in 12 days, which include 10 days that are necessary for clearing international customs. However, the opening of Alibaba’s trade hub in Belgium, which includes plans to lease a 220,000-square-meter port at Belgium’s Liege airport, is expected to trim the delivery window.

The partnership follows an earlier agreement between Cainiao Network, the logistics subsidiary of Alibaba, and French delivery group La Poste, signed several months ago, according to Business Insider France.

To be sure, France represents an attractive opportunity for online retailers: the country’s e-commerce market reached nearly EUR 9.3 billion (USD 10.4 billion) in 2018 off the back of 1.5 billion online transactions, according to Fevad, the French e-commerce federation.

Fulfilling pick-up services also seems to be a promising move. According to Fevad’s analysis of 505 million shipments in 2017, 88% of customers opted for home delivery services on their orders, with package pick-ups coming in at a close second at 86%.

Alibaba has doubled down on Europe since the second half of 2018. The company signed a deal in November with El Corte Inglés, Europe’s largest department store by sales and a major logistics operator across Spain and Portugal.