Alibaba Group unveiled 3 new Hema Supermarkets in Beijing and Shanghai as part of its “new retail” strategy.
These Outlets are part of Alibaba’s new retail plan, which uses technology and data to merge online and offline shopping, offering consumers ‘a more efficient and more flexible shopping experience’.
In Hema Stores-customers can shop, dine and order groceries for delivery from their mobile phones and use Alipay to make payments. The stores look like normal neighbourhood supermarkets. Alibaba said every item has barcodes that can be scanned to reveal price and product information.
Users signup for Hema Membership through their Taobao or Alipay accounts. Hema Stores was first introduced in 2015. To date, there are 13 of them in Shanghai, Beijing and Ningbo to serve customers within 3 Kilometer radius to ensure shorter delivery time.
Mr Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group said that “They believe the future of New Retail will be a harmonious integration of online and offline and Hema is a prime example of this evolution that is taking place” Their Online orders account for over 50% of business, on average, however in the Shanghai, Jinquiao Store, that figure is as high as 70%.
Alibaba uses big data analytics to remember purchase preferences for each customer and make personalized recommendations for customers. It also provides a data-driven selection of fresh food to customers based on their locations allowing the store to manage its supply chain effectively.
The idea of e-commerce players has seen big moves in recent years as internet companies attempt to capture more of the offline retail market.
The company says that it does not intend to operate a large grocery chain, but to ‘digitally transform’ how consumers shop in China.