New Retail is a term that roughly indicates a combination of the best in physical and online retail. In the words of Jack Ma, founder and chairman of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd, New Retail is making the distinction between physical and virtual commerce obsolete.
Hema as an example of the “New Retail” model, which Alibaba has successfully incubated for the past two years. “New Retail” uses technology and data to merge online and offline shopping, offering consumers a more-efficient and more-flexible shopping experience.
If you have been to the HEMA store, you will find that whether you are eating seafood or eating others food, the dishes are all disposable green tableware.
From the point of view of the store, it is not necessary to establish a cleaning space with disposable tableware, nor to hire people to wash dishes. For personnel-intensive supermarket, efficiency is always the first.
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“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,” Zhang said.
Since 2015, Alibaba has opened 13 Hema markets. Apart from the 10 in Shanghai, there are two in Beijing and one in Ningbo. Each aims to serve a customer base within a three-kilometer radius to ensure fast, high-level service. Hema stores are fully mobile-powered and allow customers to use Alipay. The stores’ sales per unit area are three-to-five times those of other supermarkets. They’ve also cracked a key problem of how to scale local deliveries, with each store able to fulfill thousands of orders a day.
The hyper-local business allows customers to shop from the comfort of their homes, using a mobile app. They can order fresh food to cook it at home or have it prepared by the Hema chefs and delivered within 30 minutes. Customers who prefer the in-instore experience, can visit the supermarket to hand-select their fresh food, such as seafood, and can choose to have it cooked for carry-out, delivered to their nearby home or office, or they can eat it on the spot the store’s dining area.
Hema’s game-changer, as far as Chinese consumers are concerned, is the fresh seafood section. Shoppers can pick out their own lobster or other shellfish, but it right away and have it cooked up and ready for them to eat in the restaurant area when they complete the rest of their shopping.
The stores, themselves, look like normal neighborhood supermarkets, with a selection of packaged foods, produce, beverages and other goods. Every item has a scannable bar code, which yields price and product information, including origin and any backstory on the item, if there is one. Customers scan the code and complete their electronic purchase through Alipay at a checkout register before leaving the store.