(Solution) – Hema in China: Is Alibaba Ahead of Retailing in China? (MKT560)


(Solution) – Hema in China: Is Alibaba Ahead of Retailing in China? (MKT560)


Due on the Date the Case is Discussed in Class – Wednesday, January 19th, Wednesday, April 27th

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Cases have been assigned to apply marketing strategies and policies to real world business situations and enhance your analysis, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Analysis is more than noting that certain facts pertain to one of the central points around which the case is being analyzed. The facts must be noted to support a recommendation, but then reasoning must be applied to determine how and in what way these facts affect the points in the case.

Information regarding the strategies selected by the firms in the cases should be incorporated with caution. Firms make strategic mistakes when ineffective strategies are executed that are inferior to alternative strategies that they could have chosen.

Individual Case Write-up Assignment

You will be assigned to prepare a case analysis write-up on one of the following cases:  

  • CarMax: Driving What’s Possible – Due 1/19
  • The New War of the Currents: The Race to Win the Electric Vehicle Market – Due 1/19
  • Toys “R” Us: What Went Wrong – Due 1/26
  • Hot Wheels: Launching the Mixed Play Experience – Due 1/26
  • Unilever’s New Global Strategy: Competing through Sustainability – Due 2/2
  • Patagonia’s Path to Carbon Neutrality by 2025 – Due 2/2
  • Airbnb: Business Model Development and Future Challenges – Due 2/9
  • AccorHotels Digital Transformation: A Strategic Response to Hospitality Disruptor Airbnb – Due 2/9
  • Purple Innovation, Inc.: The Online to Offline Marketing Challenge – Due 2/16
  • Hema: New Retail Comes to Grocery – Due 2/16
  • An Influencer Strategy for Budweiser in Canada – Due 2/23
  • Samsung Mobile Market Share and Profitability in Smartphones – Due 3/2
  • Innovation, Co-Creation, and Design Thinking: How Salesforce’s Ignite Team Accelerates Enterprise Digital Transformation – Due 3/9
  • Wawa: Retailing Reinvented through Blue Ocean Strategy – Due 3/23
  • Microsoft: Focusing on the Healthcare Vertical – Due 3/30
  •, 2021 – Due 4/6
  • Riot Games: Can Culture Survive Growth? – Due 4/13
  • The Walt Disney Studios – Due 4/20
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWW) – Due 4/27

A guideline for the length of the paper is 5 – 7 single-spaced pages, excluding exhibits. Please answer each of the six questions in the case. The case write-up is 20 percent of the grade for a total of 200 out of 1,000 points. The case assignment is to be uploaded in the Assignments folder in Blackboard before the beginning of the class in which the case is discussed. Late papers will not be accepted.

Grading Criteria

The following criteria will be utilized to grade the case analyses:

  1.  Statement of the relevant issues presented in the case
  2. Quality of addressing case questions  
  3. Quality and support of recommendations
  4. Risks associated with recommendations and how to mitigate the risks
  5. Case summary that highlights how the three learning outcomes for each case were applied to the case

Guidelines for Effective Case Analyses

Case write-ups should incorporate the readings on the topic area in which the case is assigned and focus on marketing strategy issues.

You are also highly encouraged to expand your analysis beyond these questions to issues that you think should be addressed to more effectively analyze the case. Using information outside of the case is encouraged because it brings a real perspective to the case.

The following are general guidelines for preparing an effective case analysis:

  • Bullet points and tables and charts are preferred where it makes sense.
  • Please answer each of the six case discussion questions in your case write-up.
  • Clearly identify upfront all of the major issues identified in the case.
  • Provide a coherent, well-organized analysis, not just a regurgitation of facts presented in the case.
  • Be concise. Provide a strong, logical flow throughout your paper. Do not spend time rehashing or paraphrasing the details of the case.
  • The supporting analysis should be thorough, carried out correctly and consistently, and should draw, whenever relevant, on material presented in class or assigned in readings.
  • Recommendations should be specific, cost-effective, and appropriate to the timing (short-term or long-term) of the problem at hand and supported with case data and exhibits where relevant.
  • Please make sure you have at least three recommendations and associated risks and mitigations to the risks for each recommendation.
  • It should be noted that risks have financial impacts such as increased costs and potential decreases in profitability.
  • Summarize how the three case learning outcomes, as shown on the page before the case in the Course Reader and in each PowerPoint presentation file, were applied to the case as the last section of your case assignment.
  • Before uploading the completed assignment in the Assignments folder in Blackboard, please make sure to address all grading criteria in the case write-up as shown on the previous page. (See page 10)

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the issues that were presented in the case?
  2. How would you define Hema and Amazon Go’s digital strategies and key differentiators? How are prospective analytics helping Alibaba and Amazon improve their product and service offerings?
  3. What key resources and competencies of the parent companies are leveraged in developing the new retail concepts for both Hema and Amazon and what new resources and competencies are required to be effective utilizing their respective omnichannel strategies?
  4. What are the key success factors in the grocery industry’s new retail? Has the effectiveness of new technologies potentially disrupted the grocery retailing industry or have they just provided a marginal improvement through digitalization of the customer experience?
  5. What are at least three recommendations for Alibaba and Amazon in taking retailing forward, and what are the risks and proposed mitigations to the risks associated with each recommendation?
  6. Please prepare a case summary that highlights how the three case learning outcomes were applied to the case.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes of the case are to:

  • Evaluate how a platform company can evolve and develop an initiative outside of its core business (ecommerce) and the strategic implications of such a choice in terms of resources and competency adaptations.
  • Discuss the dynamics and possible implications of new retail concepts in grocery shopping and beyond and the implications of omnichannel initiatives, such as online businesses going offline and traditional companies integrating e-commerce techniques into their new retail concepts.
  • Determine the effectiveness of new technologies in reshaping traditional industries and whether these deployments are potentially disrupting the grocery retailing industry or just providing a marginal improvement through digitalization of the customer experience.

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