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Technology

Alibaba Opens Three New Hema Supermarkets In China

Chinese online retailer Alibaba has opened three new Hema supermarkets, where customers can shop online or in store.

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'.

The stores are fully powered by mobile. Customers download a mobile app that links to their Taobao or Alipay account and scan bar codes on items to find out price and product information before completing their electronic purchase.

Customers can bring their purchases home, have them delivered, or have the food cooked by Hema's in-store chefs. Alternatively, customers can also shop online and get fresh food or cooked meals delivered to their homes.

Smart Technology

Alibaba says that the user experience is 'enhanced through Big Data', as it can create personalised recommendations for customers, allowing the store to manage its supply chain more effectively.

“Hema leverages data and smart-logistics technology to seamlessly integrate online-offline systems, built to provide the unparalleled service of fresh-food deliveries in 30 minutes,” said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba's CEO.

The company says that it does not intend to operate a large grocery chain, but to 'digitally transform' how consumers shop in China.

“We 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’s taking place,” Zhang said. “Hema is a showcase of the new business opportunities that emerge from online-offline integration.”

Continued Growth

Since 2015, Alibaba has opened 13 Hema markets: ten in Shanghai, two in Beijing, and one in Ningbo. The retailer says that the first two years of operation have yielded 'promising results', with customers making 4.5 purchases a month, on average.

Online orders account for over 50% of business, on average, however, in the Shanghai Jinquiao store, that figure is as high as 70%.

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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