Mars Inc. is taking a huge step into online and mobile commerce in China, making all of its brands in the country available online.
The candy company has announced an innovative global strategic business partnership with Alibaba Group, the world's largest online and mobile commerce company.
Leveraging Alibaba's ecosystem, Mars will establish an integrated online and offline business model to more effectively serve its hundreds of millions of consumers in China.
All of Mars' brands in China, including six brands worth over $1 billion each — Dove, Snickers, M&M's, Extra, Pedigree and Royal Canin — will be available on all Alibaba platforms including Tmall.com and Rural Taobao.
"China's younger generation is the new driving force of consumption. They rely on e-commerce, and place great value on the trustworthiness of the companies behind their brands and products. Besides our well-known brands, Mars meets their expectations by prioritizing our product quality, and also through our efforts to elevate industry standards," says Cecilia Li, v.p. and managing director of Wrigley China, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc. "Alibaba is a significant strategic partnership for Mars, as this relationship demonstrates Mars' principles of 'Quality' and 'Mutuality'."
Mars and Alibaba are also partnering to create an e-commerce food safety program that benefits consumers and the broader consumer goods industry, through a collaboration with Mars' Global Food Safety Center (GFSC) in China.
A ‘one-stop' online shopping experience
Under the partnership, consumers will be able to enjoy a more convenient and international "one-stop" shopping experience.
For the first time, all of Mars' brands in China will be available online to consumers in its various Tmall flagship stores and to rural consumers through Rural Taobao.
Mars will leverage Alibaba's marketing services, media properties, mobile reach, big data and consumer insights to directly engage with its consumers. Alibaba's supply chain management and logistics network will also help expand Mars' efficiency and reach.
Prior to forging this official strategic partnership, many Mars brands have already been very successful on Tmall.
In April this year, Snickers and TFBoys, a popular boy band in China, cooperated on a marketing campaign. In just three days, it achieved almost the whole year's sales of 2015. Based on targeted advertising with Alibaba's big data analysis, the campaign enabled Mars to achieve an ROI that outpaced the average of other brand campaigns in the snack category on Tmall.
Royal Canin's flagship Tmall store has sold more than 1,800 tons of cat and dog food since opening, serving more than 50,000 pets across China.
Mars is committed to continue leading China's food retail market with its focus on quality and innovation. Moving forward, Mars and its brands will strengthen collaboration with e-commerce platforms around the world like Alibaba to embed internet thinking into product research and development, sales, marketing and other relevant functions.
Delivering mutual benefits through food safety
In addition to improving the consumer shopping experience, Mars and Alibaba will also put a focus on food safety through collaborating with the Mars Global Food Safety Center.
The Mars GFSC will work with Alibaba to enhance food safety management, promote consumer education and share the latest scientific research findings with industry stakeholders.
The Center is known for its world class scientific research and has supported food safety education for children in China. Through this partnership, it will bring the world's leading food safety management research resources to bear for consumers on Alibaba's platforms.
"Mars is an invaluable addition to our ecosystem, and this collaboration is a significant milestone for Alibaba as we now have established close partnerships with three of the world's top food and beverage companies," says Jet Jing, v.p. of Alibaba Group. "We will continue to enable the digital transformation of our partners to help them leverage our ecosystem of marketplaces and infrastructure of support for brand building, customer management, channel expansion and product innovation.
Jine says the two companies share a common commitment to improving safety standards, quality monitoring, and consumer awareness in China.
“With our combined strengths and resources, we are confident that we can elevate China's consumption model in the era of big data, and deliver greater economic and social benefits to all stakeholders," Jing says.
Currently, Mars has four business segments in China, namely Wrigley, Chocolate, Petcare and Drinks, and owns seven production facilities, four R&D centers and 47 branch offices with more than 13,000 associates (including contractors).
Mars’ brands in China include:
- Wrigley Doublemint chewing gum and mints
- Extra sugar-free gum
- 5 sugar-free chewing gum
- Ta Ta bubble gum
- Pim Pom lollipops
- Sugus chewy candy
- Skittles hard coated chewy candy
- PEDIGREE and etc.
- ROYAL CANIN precise nutrition for dogs and cats
The Alibaba Group is the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume. Founded in 1999, the company provides the fundamental technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help businesses leverage the power of the Internet to establish an online presence and conduct commerce with hundreds of millions of consumers and other businesses.