As one of the world leaders in online shopping, China is also leading in online sales for fresh fruits and vegetables. Hema Fresh, a large supermarket chain in China have developed their own online delivery service, as Ms. Huang Ling explained: “We made a system where we can deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to our customers within half an hour. They can place their order online, and if they are within 3 kilometers of the store, they can receive it within half an hour.”
In order to get the deliveries all at the right time, Hema have their own delivery service; only in this way they can guarantee the quality of the products. “In order to deliver the fruits and vegetables in their best state, we created a special delivery system. Once someone puts an order online, our staff will collect the products from our store, which are then placed in a special cooling bag, so that the products won’t go to waste. When all the products are selected, the box will go through the store to the delivery guys. Then they will take the package and deliver it the customers’ home within half an hour. In order to make it more convenient for the consumers, we also give them the option to choose in which time frame they would like us to come.”
Convenience is an important point for consumers these days and the special home delivery service for fruits and vegetables is playing into that requirement. Hema grew fast in the last three years, from several stores they went to 170 stores. Most of the stores are located in the first and second tier cities. As Ms. Huang Ling said: “Our stores are located in those cities, because the living standards are higher than in other cities. They are more ready to consume and pay a higher price to experience different kind of fruits from all over the world. So for now we first focus on first and second tier cities. In order to save time and think of the environment, for our logistics we also have our own system. We have our own packing houses in every big city. Once the products arrive in China, we bring them to our own packing houses, where we weigh and pack all the products according to our own standards. Then in one drive, we deliver all the products to our different stores in that city. This works very efficiently and saves a lot of time.”
If customers decide to not buy their fresh products online, but come to the store, Hema Fresh also fully lives up to the convenience trend of consumers. First of all, there are a lot of staff available to help you with questions in the store itself. Next to that, most of the cash desks are unmanned. Since most consumers in China only use their phone to pay and barely have cash with them, it is much more convenient to scan your own products quickly and pay through scanning a QR code. So in the Hema Fresh store, you see more and more unmanned cash desks, which is a big development which will probably become more common in the future in a lot of shops worldwide.
April Huang - Director in Global Import Department