Alibaba increases Hema concept stores across China to 13


E-commerce retailer Alibaba Group has increased its online-to-offline Hema supermarkets to 13 across China, by opening new stores in Beijing and Shanghai.

The new stores form part of the company’s 'New Retail' model, which was launched in 2015 and uses technology and data to improve the shopping experience by combining online and offline retail formats.

Customers living in a 3km radius can order products through a mobile app and pay using a connected Taobao or Alipay account.

“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.”

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

According to a statement by the company, the concept stores allow customers to order fresh food to cook at home or receive prepared food within half an hour.

Customers can also visit the physical store and hand-pick fresh food to be cooked by in-house chefs, while shopping for other products.

The stores incorporate technology wherein each product has a scannable barcode, which provides customers with information such as price and product details, as well as enable a smart supply-chain management system.

Customers can purchase items by scanning the code and processing electronic payment through Alipay.

Zhang added: “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.”

The company incorporated big data to understand customer preferences, which are saved after a purchase is made through the Hema mobile app.

Alibaba aims to digitalise 85% of the retail market, which is currently not covered under the e-commerce segment.


Image: Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma and CEO Daniel Zhang at Hema Supermarket. Photo: courtesy of Alibaba Group.