E-commerce behemoth Alibaba has been quietly opening supermarkets across China, integrated with online and offline stores. Their “new retail” concept requires customers to download the dedicated app and then links to their Alipay account for a cashless checkout. Products in-store are enabled with barcodes that, when scanned by phone, give details on origin and production. All purchases are recorded to log customer data and determine preferences in order to offer product suggestions.
Customers can also access Hema stores online through the app to order groceries delivered to their homes within 30 minutes. An interesting twist allows shoppers to have groceries like fresh seafood cooked up by the in-house Hema chefs, which they can then eat at the in-store dining areas or have delivered ready to eat to their homes. There are 20 shops open so far, with Shenzhen and Hangzhou the most recent additions.
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